Post by bimbadeen on Sept 30, 2007 21:08:04 GMT -5
Very glad to have found this forum, I hope lots of people will join in. I'm very new to owning cattle & have 7 dexters at present, we have a hobby farm in south east Queensland. Australia.
Our 2 year old heifer is looking very pregnant (her first calf), her belly has become bigger and udder development has started. We don't know how far along she is, and are unsure if it is necessary to call a vet to confirm the pregnancy and tell us an approx due date. We thought we'd just leave her alone & let nature take it's course, and then only call the vet if we think she is having problems.... any advice would be appreciated. I have purchased a fantatic (UK) book called Calving the Cow and Care of the Calf by Eddie Straiton which I will use as a reference. We're quickly now building a nice 'maternity ward' for her, which will have a good shelter & yard and dog-proof fencing.
I'd like to know the signs that delivery of the calf will be close (that is, signs it will be born during the next few days). I have heard that the udder becomes very large & tight ... are there other signs?
Post by Dragonfly Acres on Sept 30, 2007 22:08:13 GMT -5
here's some info cross posted from my other cattle sight. hope it help's!
their udder will start enlarging two to three weeks sometimes longer before they calf, and just a day to several hours right before they calf the udder will get real full looking as if it was a balloon full of air. Or full of milk.
They also will most of the time tend to leave the rest of the cows and go off by them self's.
Look for discharge-the cervical mucus plug. Restlessness, standing up and laying down, licking their sides, tail head looks like it going to pop out it's so high and loose, sloppy vagina, any or all of the above. Carrying tail at a pump handle position, and a thin non-sticky discharge are also signs of impending delivery. But the only dead bang certain sign is 2 feet sticking out. LOL
Our 2 year old first time heifer started to bag up months before due date, as in may be 5 or 4 months early. The back quarters got big first.
Recently, there is been a lot of development in the front quarters. The closer to birth, the teats will start to look very full and under pressure, like a blown up sergical glove.
Dexters don't get dramatically loose pelvic ligaments like the Jerseys, but the tail head will be more prominent and away from the body.
The vulva will get progressively looser. There may be discharge now and then, more of it closer to labor, but not necessarily.
When you see that your cow "slimmed up" it may signify that the calf has settled into the birthing position, which is down, instead of on the side of the cow.
The best sign I've had so far, is holding the tail slightly up and to the side, off the vulva, as to not make contact with it. I think it means that the calf is progressing in the birth canal and there is pressure - which makes the cow feel like she's going to have a bowel movement - so she picks up the tail. Whatever the reason they do that, when they start holding their tail like that - the baby is on the way.
A lot of cows don't like to be watched when they are in labor. Some will even hold the progress until they feel alone and safe. The cow will kick up dirt and walk around in circles, sniffing the dirt. She will lay down and stand back up and smell the ground to see if anything had come out. She will make those sweet little moo sounds, like the mama cow talking to her baby. And when it comes to pushing, cows do it laying down and you can't miss it.
Dexters are known to be easy birthers. I'd go with the idea of letting nature take it's course and only call the vet in case of trouble. Mine go off to a secluded place to calve and I find them the next morning, when they present me with a new member of the herd.
If it is a first calf heifer you may see the udder develope as much as three months before she is going to calf. Just let nature take is course and do not worry about anything unless the cow has been in labor more than two hours then get a vet right away.
Post by copperhead on Oct 17, 2007 20:02:44 GMT -5
Hey Cloverbell, did you see the pictures that Olga posted of my heifer having her calf?? It is so cool how she did it, it's slide show. She posted it in the photo gallery, allthough they are kinda out of sequence because just at the critical time, my cameral battery went dead, so I had to switch over to the cell phone, but still, they are so great !! P.J.