Hints For Pain Free Calving
Calving season has kicked off with a bang this year and with a lot of small, but now fat, drought heifers due to give birth in the coming weeks here are some handy reminders for this calving season.
Signs of imminent calving can include: separation from the rest of the herd, kicking at the belly, tail lifting and swishing, or a water bag visible at the vulva. Once the calf is in the process of being born (stage 2 of labour) the calf should have made it onto the ground within 4 hours. If there does not appear to be any progression in the birth process for longer than 30 minutes (i.e. just feet and no nose, or feet and nose but no more of the head) the cow should be examined for any difficulty. You should also keep an eye on your cow and if her contractions appear weak or she appears to be tiring, assistance should be provided.
Our hints for a pain-free* calving season:
- Keep your stock close to the house and/or yards so you can easily check them for signs of calving difficulty and get them into the crush if needed.
- Get involved and offer assistance if the calf appears to be coming breach (back feet first), has only one foot is visible, or if the nose cannot be felt in the birth canal behind the front feet.
- If you are worried or are unable to correct any abnormal calf presentations yourself within the first 15 minutes of trying, call the vet. The sooner you seek assistance, the higher the likelihood of a live calf being born.
- If you do have to pull a calf yourself, make sure to clear away any mucous from its face and rub it vigorously on either side of its chest to stimulate it to begin breathing. Don’t hang it over a fence or lift it up by its back legs as that will make it much harder for the calf to breathe.
Our vets are on call 24 hours a day so if you do need help with any of your calving animals this season, please do not hesitate to call.
*Pain free for our farmers, not their cows!