American Alps Ranch | small angus cattle ~ big grass-fed taste

A Calf is Born

Posted: April 17, 2013 By BrendaPalmer Category(s): Ranch Life

Our cow Dolly gave birth yesterday. This was Dolly's second calf and as an experienced mom she was very calm, did her job well and has a strong, healthy calf to show for her efforts. I was standing fairly close to her through the whole process and was able to get some pictures.

A clue a cow has gone into labor is when she is alone away from the other cows and has laid down. The other calves you see around her are spring calves born within the past week. They don't really care what is going on with Dolly.














The bag of waters appears first.













The water has broken.





















Front hooves appear - a good sign! A normal presentation is front hooves and nose first.





















Sometimes cows give birth standing, this time she laid down to push.













Dolly's calf starts to emerge. The nose and front legs and hooves are showing. You can see the other cows behind Dolly are not paying any attention to her, they are busy eating hay.











The front half of the calf is out - part of it is still covered by the birth sac. 











The calf is almost out and the head is clear of the sac. 















The calf is completely out of Dolly's body. 












As soon as the calf is out, Dolly stands up.











Dolly immediately begins to lick and clean the calf, a sign of acceptance by the mother. You can't really tell in the photo, but the calf has been making small movements even before it is all the way out of the birth canal. 













Very soon - within a minute - the calf is raising his head and looking around.













Dolly walks around the calf licking him thoroughly. Ethel, who has not calved yet, comes over to see what is happening. 

















Within about ten minutes the calf is trying to stand up. It is a steep learning curve for these little ones.  
















Within another five minutes or so, the calf is up taking it's first wobbly steps.












And in about ten minutes more, the calf is up and nursing. 













This bull calf, the eighth calf born on the ranch so far this spring, weighed 65 pounds which is just right for a Lowline. The whole birth process from the time her bag of water first started showing until the calf was born was about an hour, pretty standard for a cow like Dolly. First time heifers (a female who has not given birth before) usually take a little longer. The calf A-8 and Dolly are both healthy and doing well - a good outcome for everyone! . 

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