It’s well into calving season now, here is a little refresher on the stages of calving and when to seek help.
Stage 1: Symptoms of restlessness and discomfort, cow may lay down and get up frequently. The teats may become distended and leak milk. During the end of this stage the water bag is presented and will likely break. These conditions will normally be observed for 1-6 hours.
Stage 2: This stage is characterized by the fetus entering the dilated birth canal, rupture of the second water sac and abdominal contractions/labor and the expulsion of the calf. The cow will initiate abdominal contractions once the feet have entered the cervix or vagina.
This may not be observed due to one of the following:
-If the calf is breech (tail first)
-Twin calves who can’t agree who should go first
-Uterine Torsion or Cervical Scarring
Intervention is required if Stage 2 is delayed. Time for Stage 2 for a cow is 30 minutes to 4 Hours. Heifers usually require 4 hours.
Stage 3: The last stage is the expulsion of the placenta and the uterus returning to normal size. This is anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours.
1.Check in intervals of 3 hours
2.Once a heifer/cow is in Stage 2, check frequently
3.Intervene if – stage 1 is over 3 hours, stage 2 is over 2 hours or cow/heifer is trying hard for 30 minutes-1 hour with no progress, – or if they have quit trying for more then 20 minutes.
Seek Professional Advice When:
- You don’t know what you are dealing with
- You know the problem, and the solution but you know you are unable to handle the problem
- You know the problem and the solution but are unable to make any progress in 20 minutes