Thursday, March 7, 2013

When calving cows - never ignore your intuition.

Jake, the girls and I left last evening on our way to Jefferson County for the Tri County Beef Banquet to deliver a message on behalf of the Ohio Cattlemen's Board where I serve as a director.  The entire trip Jake kept talking about this cow and how big she was. He said, she has to be having twins, I really need to check on her when we get home.  By 11 PM when we arrived home, Jake was debating if he should go look for this cow or wait until morning.  I know Jake's intuition is usually correct and I told him he should go find her. I knew he wouldn't sleep unless he found her first.  I  put the girls to bed and he went to check on her.  He returned saying she was laying with another cow looking big, but content. I could tell he wasn't satisfied. Then he said, "but I am going to get going early in the morning to check on her". So he did.  By the time I was leaving to take the girls to school, Jake called to say he pulled twins out of that cow and that both of them were coming backwards.  I asked the dreaded question, anyway. He responded very discouraged that they both were dead.

By 10AM Jake called for me to bring him a birthing strap, lube and some gloves.

I arrived with the supplies and there in the chute is the feature cow from, How the water sack ruined date night. Jake said here she is the cow that ruined our date night last year.

The next minutes progressed like this. Jake assesses the situation. He finds a hole without teeth and a tail.  On the bright side he did have two legs. I was thinking he had a chance to redeem himself from the twin death just a few hours before.

The feet were found and now Jake needed to get this calf out.

 The problem with calves coming backwards besides being difficult to get out of the birth canal is that they have fluid in their respiratory system.  If you can get them head down for about 30 seconds, they usually can get a cough and are good to go.

Jake thought he would check and make sure there were no more feet.  Surprise, he found two more feet and a head this time.  The final calf was coming the "right way". First two feet  . . .

and then the head.

Jake redeemed himself with two healthy twins.  We were talking on our way to setup a corral in another pasture. Had he not got this cow in and checked her, there is a good chance these two calves would have died also.  If he wouldn't have gotten up early to pull those two twins that did die, the cow may have died.  Jake went on to deliver two more calves tonight. The final calf he pulled late this evening was just because he wanted to come to the house for supper.


  1. How awesome! We usually have good cows that don't need our help but we occassionally get a puller. Tri-County is right in my neck of the woods too btw! Only about 20 mins and TC was our biggest rival in high school!

    1. I didn't know you were in Ohio. What is TC? The twin thing seems to be a bit overwhelming. How many cows do you calve?

  2. Twins!! Awwgh! I have Limousin and have two cows, a mother and daughter, that are prone to twinning. Sometimes its good, but mostly not. The breech births are the worst. Thanks for the pictures. I've always wanted to photo a birth but I'm usually by myself and have no time to worry about pics. Good job Jake!!!!

    1. Violet,

      You are right the twin thing is a challenge.