Friday, July 9, 2010

Mama Cow.....

...has another calf?

A quick recap of yesterday's fiasco:

Marcel checked on the Mama.
I went to move the cows to a fresh paddock.
Marcel started whistling, yelling, waving.
I knew something was wrong.
Mama cow had a hoof coming out her rear.
Yes, I said a hoof.
The hoof was upside-down.
Marcel inserted his arm.
Yes, arm.
He couldn't find the other foot.
I inserted my arm.
I couldn't find the other foot.
I called the vet.
"The mother cow is having another calf."
"There is only one hoof presenting and it's breech."
"We can't find the other foot."
Vet said, "I'll find it."
Mother cow is lying head outstretched.
Mother cow is moaning.
Mother cow is breathing abnormally.
Vet arrives, gloves up, inserts arm.
Says, "This is going to be a disaster."
Vet pushes calf back in.
Vet works for about 10 minutes finding other hoof.
Vet pulls other hoof out.
He hooks it to the calf-puller: a pulley system used for emergencies.
I drive the tractor close to mama cow.
Marcel hooks pulley to tractor and starts cranking.
Marcel pulls dead calf out.
It was a girl.
Mama cow looks relieved.
Mama cow sits upright again.
Mama cow is all swollen on the inside.
I run home and get the antibiotics in my fridge.
Yes, there is a place for antibiotics and livestock.
This is it.
Marcel gave her 2 large injections, 50 ml total.
Mama cow drinks water and eats a little hay.

I'm stuck with the nagging thought that we failed this mama and the poor dead heifer calf. Did we think she could have twins in there? Actually, yes we did. Did we check for a twin after the first heifer was born. Actually, yes we did. But we only stuck our arm in up to the forearm. We should've stuck our arm in up to our shoulder.

The vet said the calf died about 5 minutes after the first one was born.  We have learned a very costly lesson.  Again.  

This morning the mother cow is sitting upright again.
She is trying to stand.
She is one tough mama.
This afternoon we're going to try the hip lifter.
Basically it's a big clamp.
That you hook to her hip bones.
And lift her with the tractor.
To see if she can put weight on her back legs.


Anonymous said...

You didn't do anything wrong Jackie. You did all you could. You checked for a twin and even if you had "found" her most likely she would not have made it. Thankfully you were keeping close watch on the momma. She is lucky to be alive, thanks to your efforts....

Abbie said...

I am so sorry you lost the second calf. But it sounds like you are doing an amazing job at taking care of the mama.
I am completely hooked to this story. Please keep us posted on how mama is doing!

Jen said...

I'm SO sorry too hear that you guys lost another calf! It isn't fair too the mama cow, hopefully she'll have many other calves! But you and Marcel did the right thing by calling the vet and NOT trying too take the baby calves out by your selves! Good luck and I hope everything turns out in the end! I also hope the mama cow and some of the calves survie! CONGRADULATIONS!

Constance said...

Looks like I'll have to start sending more prayers for you and the mama again. So sorry for the turn for the worse. But, like with all turns for the worse, it seems to be followed by a turn for the better. At least the mama is hanging in there! Hope you are, too! Just looked up the patron saints of cattle (can't hurt to seek help from all possible sources!), one of which is St. Brigid of Ireland. I know she's smiling on Irish Grove Acres!