As of today our family milk cow, Jersey Girl, is a little over a week past due to calf her precious baby. I have been anxiously awaiting this event for the past 9 months, checking on her daily, then hourly, and even putting a video monitor in the barn so I can peak in on her at night. I thought for sure there would be a adorable calf bouncing around the pasture by now. However, Jersey Girl obviously has a different birthing plan.
Her stomach is not filled out the way a week over due cows pregnant belly should be, nor is her milk bag bursting at the seams. She is however, acting normal, eating, drinking and chewing her cud. One would think she’s not even pregnant.
Last Monday she starting bleeding (from the calf ejection shoot) and was leaking colostrum from 2 of her 4 quarters. I was pretty certain this was a immanent sign of labor. However within 24 hours the progress had halted and she was back in the pasture grazing and chewing her cud.
I spoke with her previous owners this week and confirmed her AI (artificial insemination) date of July 21, 2013. A cows gestational period is 283 days, which would make her due date April 30th and as we know, this date has came and gone.. without a calf to lick my face!
Here’s the deal.. When a cow is overdue their calf can gain up to 2.2 pounds per day. Not only does this enter into the danger zone for momma to trying to push out a extra large calf, but it also increases the likelyhood for human intervention. This leaves me with 2 options, neither am I very comfortable with.
1.). We can let her be! Hopefully she would calf uneventfully on her own in the next couple days. Maybe I would walk out to the barn in the morning and she’d have a beautiful mocha colored calf all clean and snuggled up next to her.
2.) We induce her! With two small, easy as pie injections by her amazing veterinarian, her motherly hormones would burst into action and a she’ll deliver healthy vibrant calf. Plus, is there anything better then a vet supervised calving?
Lets explore the options.
Jersey Girl is under weight for a cow that is a week overdue. She does not have the girth of a typical pregnant cow and from the unknowns eye, jersey doesn’t look pregnant at all nor has she developed a large milk bag. Both of these would be a pretty sure sign you got yourself a calf coming. This is a big issue and it could tell me several things..
1.) We have our due date wrong. Which we don’t.
2.) She’s just going to have a small calf. Maybe, but she’s bred to a Guernsey bull.
3.) The calf is deceased, which has caused the blood and the halt in her growth. Unfortunately this is possible.
4.) All is well and all will end well.. I pray for this one!
As odd as it sounds, inducing a cow is common practice. Cows can safely be induced 14 days from their due date. Cowboys and veteranians use induction of cattle for several reasons, prolonged gestation, is the most common of them. Other reasons for induction is illness in the mother, where the calf would be safely delivered before the mother is humanily put down.
Many times a farmer is expecting to be away from the farm on the cows due date, inducing is way to guarantee the farmer will be there when the calf is being delivered and able to assist if the mother is having difficulties.
After much contemplation and praying, we have decided to go ahead and induce Jersey Girl. Every natural piece of me hates this idea. I am extremely uneasy with the concept of inducing a cow, however, given my own emergency birthing experience, I know that there is a time and a well deserved appreciation for medical technology. Based on Jersey being late, not progressing and her presence of blood, come Thurday afternoon our Jersey girl will be induced.
I pray for a safe and healthy calf and a quick and beautiful birth. Good luck Jersey, May the force be with you.
Want to know how it all turned out?? Read THIS post.
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