Challenging Calving Season: Triplets, Twins and Crooked Legs

We started our fall calving season early this year by 10 days and it has been a challenge. Right off the start a seasoned cow had triplets, three bull calves. Each was full term and perfect in every way but different sizes; 15 pounds, 20 pounds and 30 pounds. Only the heavier calf lived, but it was too short to nurse. We loaded up cow and calf and brought them home so we could hold up the little fellow (for 10 days) until he had grown enough to reach a tit on his own.

The next cow that calved had twins. Both were healthy, but one was a freemartin. We loaded up the cow and calves and brought them home so we could be sure the cow nursed each equally. Often when you have twins the cow favors the first born over the second born.

Then the next cow to calve lost her calf. So.... we loaded her up and brought her home too. Since it has only been one day since we had the twins we used old tricks to get her to accept one of them. Rubbing smells off the calf on the cows nose, putting the cow in a chute and having the calf nurse then rub the udder milk on the calf. Within two days all was well and she took the calf.

In the barn now is a calf that has hooked front hoofs. She was positioned in the womb in such a way that her legs never moved. We have her in a leg brace for two days then take it off. On the off day she rides in a sling so she is half walking. Each day she gets better. We milk her mom and she drinks from a bottle. We love each and every animal on the farm and do what we can for them.

Last Friday a heifer that was near calving had an udder infection and all four tits were hard. Javier took her to the vet for treatment and brought her back to the barn. the next morning at 6:00 am when checked she was in hard labor and having problems. I was away in Houston. Javier worked for several hours and eventually pulled the calf and all was well. Since the cow had the udder problem, he took it to the vet to give it colostrum. At 5:00 pm he found the cow down with her uterus out on the ground and bleeding. She had a prolapse. Javier called the vet to come to the farm. He got a cloth under the uterus and cleaned it off and started to push it back inside her. This took a long time easing it bit by bit. By the time the vet got to the farm he had it in and she was standing. The vet finished, tied it off and gave her medicine. We bottle fed the calf for a day and then mom's udder came in and she gave good milk.

Over the last 9 weeks we have had a set of twins die and two still born full term calves. We have also had many calves born with no difficulty. It has been a very challenging calving season and we are not finished yet. Winter/Spring calving starts in late February. Hopefully it will be less exciting.