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 Elli's third calf

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farmlife Posted - Aug 07 2018 : 6:00:49 PM
So Elli gave us strong indications that today would be the day the calf came. She was very fidgety with lots of up and down. The heifer calf came late this morning. Elli did something she hasn't done with either of her other deliveries. She licked her own teat and got colostrum shooting out of it prior to delivery.

It's hot here today and the flies were fierce especially in the area where her water broke and she gave birth.

This picture is my favorite. It's so, "Aw, Mom!"

Apparently being born is exhausting.

Now I just have to think of a name as cute as this face.
9   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
farmlife Posted - Aug 09 2018 : 8:38:31 PM
Thanks, MaryJane. It's good to hear so many different displays of symptoms so I can recognize it if she displays differently. Elli did burp a lot as Jeremy held her head over for the IV, so maybe we dodged a bullet with bloat. Something to be thankful for! I'm not sure I would have recognized it as milk fever if she was just acting drunk, Janet, so that's good to know too. I will always have calcium in its liquid form and all the stuff to administer the IV on hand from now on. I also will have the oral calcium to try to prevent it, so I will make a note of when you said to give it. I'm grateful it was so clear what was wrong with her.

Apparently milk fever gets more likely with each successive pregnancy according to my experienced milk cow farmer. He also says feed magnesium in the winter to help prevent it. I don't know if that is true or not but he said they lost a cow to milk fever once and started doing that to help. I looked and it doesn't seem to be in Redmond rock or in the Thorvin kelp I use, so she wouldn't have been supplemented. Elli has also had a lot more alfalfa hay than she has in past years. We planted an alfalfa grass mix in most of our pastures so the majority of our hay has both. That may have been a factor as I didn't remove it. Plus I needed to get her some vitamin c with the teat injury and I gave it to her in grain.

maryjane Posted - Aug 09 2018 : 7:10:30 PM
Keeley, Miss Daisy's milk fever was a tad less straight forward. She delivered, was milked, colostrum fed to baby Buttercup (Miss Daisy's teats are too low to the ground for a calf--with her last calf I had to constantly pull its legs out from underneath it and hold it down on its belly so it could reach the teat.) Miss Daisy had eaten a good helping of Chaffhaye, all seemed well. I pulled up an upside down bucket to sit with her and Buttercup to watch for the afterbirth when she started to grind her teeth weirdly (learned since it's a pain response). Connie was getting ready to leave. I said, What do you think Daisy is doing with her teeth? We were looking at her mouth and brainstorming ideas when, Whoa, look at her side!!! She was starting to bloat. As it turns out, when they're low on calcium, their rumen quits contracting (calcium is needed for muscle function). We put her in the squeeze chute and tried unsuccessfully to tube her so I grabbed a laminated diagram/drawing of where to poke a cow I'd put on the parlor wall and Connie, me and hubby Nick successfully inserted a trocar in her side. Her stomach went down immediately and she quit grinding her teeth but like Janet said, she was "bad drunk" so I knew we needed to get her to a vet for a calcium IV. Got her to the vet, IV inserted, calcium given (quick blood test also revealed she was low in phosphorous so she got some of that also). She perked up, we brought her home and she was fine for a day. The following day the young first-time vet who'd done the IV called to say she was going to stop by because she probably should have given Daisy antibiotics because of the trocar (the trocar allows rumen juices to get in between skin and rumen--not a good thing), but it was too late. Daisy already had a systemic, full body infection raging. We had to administer lots of penicillin plus when she was laying on the vet's floor for the IV, she leaked milk on the dirty floor and a staph bug climbed up her teat, so we had to also treat that. Poor girl. In the meantime, our Maggie who'd delivered a week earlier agreed to adopt Daisy's calf and has successfully milked two calves all this time (I plan on weaning them next week--they'll both be 4 months old).

With my births going forward, I'm not going to withdraw alfalfa hay 10 days prior and right after birth she'll get a plug of calcium down the gullet. 12 hours later, she'll get another one. I kinda thought that after all these years, if I'd never had the dreaded milk fever, I must be doing something right with their diet. But no more leaving it to chance for me. I almost lost the cow I've had the longest through thick and thin. She's a super productive cow for her size, giving us 4 gallons every morning!
NellieBelle Posted - Aug 09 2018 : 10:10:19 AM
Sounds like things are moving along good. These first few days from delivery to making sure the little calf is nursing, then with the milk fever episode. I jokingly told Joe, "these cows are going to kill me." It can be quite stressful. I hear you about the low udder/teats. Nellie's calf Elmer found it easier to nurse Darla because she is taller, so just left Nellie. It's not unusual to see the calves nursing on both of the cows, but I have them separated much of the day. Let them nurse twice daily. Juggling act. Now this evening we are going to have Millie AI'd. First time heifer. Always something going on with the cows it seems. Hoping Elli gets relief and feeling better soon. These poor mommas, what they go through.
farmlife Posted - Aug 09 2018 : 09:28:35 AM
We got Poppy latched on within the first hour after birth, so we knew she was good for a while. (Elli's calves always need help to find her teats because they are always looking much higher than they actually are.) Elli's bag is so big Poppy probably could have nursed when they were both laying down, but she wouldn't. I milked some to put in a bottle for Poppy while we were waiting for help, but Poppy wasn't interested in that either. We ended up just leaving her alone and when I brought Elli in to milk last night I was able to facilitate Poppy's latching on. If Poppy felt my hand in the process she decided she wasn't interested. I mentioned she's a little sassy with a mind of her own, right?

I may milk Elli at noon today and again tonight. We are only skimming the surface and relieving pressure at this point until we can get Elli more comfortable and on a schedule. Poppy helps but she's a pretty big messer and her mama's udder is a lot to handle for a little girl. Elli seems to be doing really well. She's moving a little slow, but that may be in part to the big load she's carrying.
NellieBelle Posted - Aug 09 2018 : 07:50:43 AM
That's the way it is here. No vets familiar with dairy. But my one vet did work at a dairy and knew to give the calcium. If grandpa was still here he would have known what to do. But as MaryJane had just experienced it, I was watching and thankfully Nellie didn't go down, just acted like she was on a bad drunk. Anyway, How is Ellie doing today? And little Poppy? Was Ellie able to nurse during this or did you have to bottle the calf at first? Hoping all is going well today and improves each day. Hang in there lady!
farmlife Posted - Aug 08 2018 : 9:07:00 PM
It's good to know what to watch for, isn't it Janet? When I went to the vet to get the calcium the vet wasn't there yet and the vet tech and office manager had no idea what milk fever was. That's beef country for you. It's just not part of what they do. They ended up calling a different vet who wasn't coming in today and asking her what they needed to give me. She was at least an hour away. My helper was a 70 year old farmer who has had milk cows his whole life. He knew just what to do thank goodness!
NellieBelle Posted - Aug 08 2018 : 12:20:39 PM
Congratulations Keeley. Elli has been through a lot lately and hopefully she will recover quickly and back to feeling like herself soon. Sweet little Poppy. Nellie wasn't down, just staggering, had to have IV calcium in the jugular but the vet did it, and it was a day for her to rally around. Thankful. Hope things calm for you Keeley and all your cows do well.
farmlife Posted - Aug 08 2018 : 10:34:40 AM
So we've decided this little one is Poppy. She's sweet and sassy just like the flower.

Just a note to everyone else out there in case it ever happens to you. Elli was licking herself during labor and I thought it had to do with just that, but last night I milked her back teats just enough to relieve the pressure. She didn't want to go to the stanchion, so I just milked her onto the ground. She wanted to drink the colostrum off the ground. This morning she was down with milk fever. She was trying to tell me she was low in calcium.

I know that it isn't the first line of defense, but to anyone who is qualified liquid calcium via IV directly into the jugular vein works wonders. It is not for the faint of heart for sure. I had help and certainly wouldn't have felt confident doing it myself, but it saved Elli's life.
Boots&Flipflops Posted - Aug 08 2018 : 09:09:51 AM
Congratulations to you and Momma cow. That little heifer calf is just adorable. Nice to hear that the delivery was smooth and uneventful. Deep Breath

Maybe Elli was so full she was doing the self pressure release by licking on herself!!

I am sure you will come up with a fitting name for little one.