Birthing calves is a fairly straightforward process. Usually, Mother Nature takes over in the cows that are in labor and the calves are born before you even spot it happening. Some cows will even seek out shaded areas in the pasture behind some trees to birth their calves, leaving you out of the equation completely. Then there are those times when your cows will desperately need your help to deliver their calves. These are extremely dangerous moments because on the one hand, the cow needs your help and on the other hand, the cow would sooner kick you than let you near her. You will need to call emergency service animal care to help you birth the calf. Here is how that works.
Bring the Cow in from the Fields and Isolate Her
If you have not done so already, bring the cow in from the fields and isolate her. Make sure the pen is large enough to accommodate her and the veterinarian that will arrive to help, but small enough that she cannot run away from the vet or trip and fall during the labor process. Provide her with lots of water, but no food.
Call the Emergency Vet for Large Animals Right Away
Before you continue to assist your cow with labor, call the vet right away. The emergency vet may be on call after hours and will not get the message right away, or the distance between you and the hospital is great and the vet will need more time to get to you. Once you have left a message or made contact with the hospital, return to your cow and continue to reach in and try to pull the calf out. The calf may die if you cannot get it out with a few hours of labor, so keep trying until the vet arrives to take over.
Be Very Careful about Using a Calf Puller
A calf puller is a set of chains that are wrapped around the front feet of the calf while it is still inside the cow. The other ends of the chain hang outside the cow and are attached to the puller. The puller helps pull the calf into the birth canal and then out of the cow. However, vigorous pulling can cause damage to the uterus and possibly cause the artery that travels directly from the heart to the uterus to rupture. When that happens, the cow bleeds out and dies instantly. If you have experience using the puller, you can continue to try to get the calf out. Otherwise, wait for the emergency vet like Columbine Animal Hospital & Emergency Clinic, who will know exactly what to do and how to do it to help your cow through this tough, scary labor.