We are about halfway through with our calving season by the date and over halfway with the number of calves we have had, so I thought it would be a good time for a little update! Plus, I have collected quite a few cute baby calf pictures I want to share.
I wish I was getting on here to tell you all about how easy and smooth it has all gone this year, but that would be a lie. Instead, I am going to share the truth, even the truth that is hard for me to share. It is hard because we feel responsible for every little thing that happens to these animals. We know that every choice we make has an effect on them and we do our best to make the right ones. Sometimes though we get it wrong, or just plain ol nature has something to say about what happens.
The first few calves came without a problem, and we were excited to see what kind of babies last years bulls were going to give us. It was only heifer number 4 to calve that had some pretty serious problems. We found her with a serious prolapse and a dead baby behind her on a Saturday morning before we headed out to market. So, we called the vet, and he came out immediately to put her back together, unfortunately she still didn’t make it.
Up to this point that is the worst of what has happened, everything else to follow is minor and just plain random!
After that incident we started checking a little more often and have come across 2 more mommas having problems giving birth and had to get them in to pull the babies. This is not something we have ever had to do on the regular, so we had to call the neighbors that have the proper tools. One of the mommas was a heifer and just needed a little help. The second one was a cow that the baby was coming out with hindfeet first instead of nose and front feet.
They are all doing good now, but the backwards baby was the first of another issue we have had 3 total calves with at this point. That issue is contracted tendons that make the babies legs crooked and harder for them to get around. We learned this can be caused by 1 of 3 things. The cow could eat certain plants at 40-70 days pregnant that reduces fetal movement, so the tendons don’t develop properly. The baby grows too big for the cow and doesn’t move around enough, and the tendons don’t develop. Or it can just be a bad genetic cross. We sent off DNA to see if all 3 calves have the same daddy or not, still waiting for those results.
We ended up giving the babies some antibiotics that have the side effect of loosening tendons so that their legs could straighten up and they could get around better. While that tmakes them ineligible for our meat program, I am happy they won’t be crippled and need to be put down.
The most random of problems we incurred this year was 2 mommas trying to claim 1 baby while leaving the 2nd baby to fend for herself. Thankfully it was obvious who really belonged to who, so we just got the confused momma in and she took her baby back no problem and we were able to turn them back out in a couple days.
Heres the calf she though was hers below.
Here she is with her actual calf below.
Finally, we have the bottle baby. We had to take him from his momma because she had 2 big teats that baby couldn’t nurse and 2 teats that weren’t making enough milk. It is not an uncommon problem with older cows and the baby is doing great now. The kids are in love with him and have to go check on and feed him everyday 😊.
Bottle baby Desa.
That about sums up the last month! At least as far as the calving goes. All in all, it can always be worse, and we do have a lot of healthy babies on the ground we are thankful for. I just pray the rest is smooth sailing!