A Calf is Born!

1) Around 5:30 I checked on her & found that baby's feet were just emerging.

Finally, after all this waiting, we have a calf!  Sunday, May 30th, Eavie gave birth to a healthy black….bull calf (sigh).  We’ll assume daddy Mace is proud of him, but he’s in a different pasture right now & can only see his new boy through the fences.  Calving is an exciting time on the farm, but when you’re new to cattle & it’s your first go round you can have a lot of questions and uncertainties.  It’s hard to know what to expect.  So here’s a bit of our experience to help you prepare.

Sunday morning when I checked on Eavie before leaving for church, I thought it best to leave her penned in the corral with the barn stall.  Her udder was more swollen & hard and her vulva very relaxed.  It wasn’t as significant a change as some of my other cows have shown, but enough to make me keep her in.  When we got home later in the afternoon, she was showing definite signs of early labor – restless, frequent peeing & pooping small amounts, sniffing the stall over, keeping an eye on where the other animals were but not calling to them.  A couple hours later it was camera time.

Some people prefer to let their cows do their own thing, besides the Dexters don’t usually have problems calving.  With our mountainous pastures, though, I like to keep my girls in the stall & corral where they’re handy so I can keep an eye on them JUST IN CASE something does go wrong.

2) After about 20 minutes of up & down, she settled in an unfortunate place to stretch out for the real work, but she wasn't about to get up & move at this point.
3) Though that tongue looks a bit disconcerting, that's where it normally is when the nose appears. I eventually managed to scoot her rear end a bit to make a little more room for baby.
4) Getting the head out is the hardest part, but this took Eavie only about 5 minutes after the nose appeared.
5) Just a couple pushes and a minute later the rest of the calf slips easily out.
6) As soon as Momma realizes what happened, she quickly gets to her feet to check out this new little critter. And it's love at first lick!
7) A few minutes later, the water sac emerges. It can come out before the calf, but so far I've only seen it afterwards with my cows.
8) Within 20 minutes of entering this world, this little guy is on his feet...and not too wobbly, actually.
9) Within a few minutes he's searching for that elusive dinner that he instinctively knows is there...somewhere.
11) Finally found it! It really only took a few minutes, and he's getting that all-important colostrum.
12) Mother & son lay down for a rest after all the hard work. Now Mom is done with her tongue-bathing of baby & I can treat his cord with iodine. Otherwise she just licks it right off again!
13) 3 hours after calving, Eavie finally passes her placenta intact...and proceeds to eat it, cow fashion. As long as a cow takes her time & chews it well, she shouldn't have a problem.

2 thoughts on “A Calf is Born!

  1. Greeting from the neighborhood. Congratulations on the new addition, beautiful calf. I find this website quite interesting and informative, great job.


  2. Congratulations! Thanks for the great pictures and description. I must admit, the blue tongue picture is pretty freaky! If I saw Sara’s calf like that without having read your blog first, I would have been on the phone to the vet! He’s a beautiful baby! Sorry you didn’t get a heifer, but I guess more grass-fed beef is welcome, too!


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