New calves never get old

Cow Number 096 starting calving Saturday, in the early afternoon.

It started out as business as usual with an employee telling us that she was starting to give birth.

This particular cow has a pretty pink ear tag in her right ear, which means she is going to have twins! She started having her baby all on her own, without any major noises emanating from the barn. We noticed she was calving when two little hooves started sticking out of the cows back end.

Let the excitement begin. We began checking on Number 096 every half-hour or so. She had that little calf all on her own and was proceeding to make her mama grunts and lick all the ooey-gooeys off the baby.

Knowing she was supposed to have two calves, we decided to let her go and keep checking on her to monitor her progress. Every 15 minutes, or so, I would walk over and check her. I am sure others were checking on her just as often.

I observed her drinking water, laying down, eating hay and the mixed ration out of the bunk.

The first calf she had was all fluffy and cute, so things were good with that calf. It doesn’t take long for the mother cow to get a calf clean.

But it can be distracting and she forgets that she still has another calf inside.

Number 096 wasn’t pushing one bit. She was way too interested in eating. It was time for Steve and me to assist with the birth.

Steve and I walked over to the milk house to gather the necessary supplies: chain, hook, warm bucket of water and long plastic sleeves.

Just kidding. We didn’t take the long plastic sleeves. Steve says, “Real men, don’t use plastic sleeves.”

When I walked into the barn, I couldn’t find the first-born calf.

“Oh my god!” I screamed. “She’s laying on the first calf.”

Sorry PETA, but I kicked the mother cow to get her up quickly and sure enough, there was the first calf, right underneath the 1,800-pound Number 096.

That poor calf had zero eye movement. Dead calves have a spacey look – zombie like.

I could see the heartbeat, but I also noticed the calf was not breathing.

Life-saving mode kicked in.  After all, it was a heifer calf and I would do what I needed to save this calf.

I started rubbing the calf along the ribs, going from head to tail in an effort to get the calf to breathe. This is what I do to most of the calves after they are born. I think it helps stimulate them to take that first gasp of air.

Then it dawned on me that I was not pumping air into the calf’s lungs, so I started doing CPR, and pumping up and down on the calf’s chest. Of course I did the CPF without the breathing.

All of a sudden, it gasped!

I was elated! I pumped a few more times; until she started taking regular breaths and blinked her long-lashed eye lids. She could write a book about going to heaven and coming back!

This baby heifer calf survived and was doing amazing! I Monday afternoon I took her out of her dome home and we went for a walk. She followed me all around the yard. I sat on the grass by the garage and she curled up next to me.

I say “was dong amazing,” because she accidentally was sent off to live at the steer farm! I have no idea how she is doing. She’s supposed to be coming home today.

Normally, a heifer born with a bull, which is what the second calf was, is sent away because they will be unable to conceive a calf – if they share a placenta in utero. One will be a boy and one will be sterile girl. If they don’t share a placenta, the heifer calf should be intact.

Later that day, Steve came into the house, “I have some disturbing news,” he said. “They took your calf to today.”

I started crying and blubbering about, “How could you do that?”

“I will call him and have him bring her back,” Steve said.

You’re darn tooting’ you will bring her home.

There are some tests that can determine if she has the correct reproductive organs.

I haven’t picked out a name for her yet. This name has to be unique.

So, for the first time in my life I have administered CPR to a calf and we will always be buddies. Imagecalves never get 

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