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Farm Life – A Calf is Born

Jersey cow nuzzling newborn calf

At 2:30 am this morning Holly delivered a healthy bull calf.  Well, technically that should be ‘we’ delivered a healthy bull calf.  She went into labour yesterday evening, but failed to progress after the first sac appeared.  The calf was stuck with one foot presenting first at an odd angle and his great big head twisted to the side.

I wonder if anyone can guess how you can tell that without a cow sized ultrasound machine?  I’ll give you a hint – farmers keep shoulder length disposable gloves on hand for a very good reason.

My experience delivering the stuck lamb paled in comparison to the difficulty of this task.  The calf was stuck.  Holly was exhausted and the calf had to come out NOW. Waiting for at least and hour and a half for the vet to arrive was not an option, as the chance of loosing one or both was too high, so we had no choice but to help her ourselves.

Jersey cow nuzzling newborn calf

Luckily I have read everything I could on calving and complications and also had the phone help from a good friend who also happens to be an experienced cattle farmer.  It took nearly two hours of pushing, pulling and shoving in time with Holly’s contractions, but finally with the help of ropes we successfully a great big sloppy wet red and white bull calf landed in my lap.

So I can now add “Cow Midwife” to my resume – and yes, I am very proud of what I was able to do in an emergency at an un-godly hour of the morning.  Being a midwife and helping to bring new life into the world is an incredible experience.  Although I have to admit that animals are one thing but I am not at all keen on transferring my farmyard learnt skills to a human, so I might just stay clear of very pregnant ladies in future just in case!

If he was a she we would have given him a lovely name to match his gorgeous looks…but he is a boy so he has been christened Sausage.  Because he is a little red one.

Jersey house cow and newborn baby calf

Newborn Jersey calf

Newborn jersey steer calf

Newborn jersey calf standing near cow

And for anyone wondering just how big Holly got before she gave birth – this photo was taken yesterday.  Talk about a wide load – and from the looks of her udder, I think we are going to be drowning in fresh creamy jersey milk very soon!

Pregnant Jersey Cow pre-calving

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