2009-MAY -> Calving Complexities

IMG_2685_revSpring calving has begun again this year with fewer complexities than last year, but for sure there are always challenges.

Our Cow #25 that had a stillborn calf last year, had a healthy Bull Calf (see photo to the left) on May 6th, but experienced some milk production problems during the first week after the calf was born.

We had to ensure the calf received colostrum on day-1 (powdered and frozen), and then on a 3-4 times a day, round the clock basis, receive a bottle (about 2 liters) of replacement milk.

The calf first had to be “trained” to drink from the nipple-bottle (as shown). Fortunately our herd of cows are extremely calm and cooperative. The “momma” cow has begun to provide milk; otherwise, I would be stepping-in to be a “momma” for a month or more.

All’s well so far, and I am only sup-feeding the calf about once a day – and starting to get a full nights sleep.

UPDATE May 23rd: The calf/cow pair is now self-sustaining – without need of my daily bottle-feeding routine.

UPDATE August 10th: After Cow #907 calved on July 24th, she became ill – initially thought to be bloat, discovered she had a retained placenta – treated extensively with vet and NC State help – but sadly she died August 6th. In the mean time I have been feeding the healthy bull calf – and finally have re-integrated the calf into the herd – with some success finding another “mom” for some milk, supplemented with bottles on my part – still keeping me busy – a sad experience, but an inescapable part of raising animals on the farm.

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