Our cows must be smart, or too cold even to think of calving. No calves were born yesterday. Both the cows and the heifers were brought into the corrals tonight to be handy to move into the barn. We cut one cow into the cow barn that will mostly likely calve tonight, but last I checked, she just looked annoyed to be in a stall. With the conditions expected for this evening, I hope they can all wait until tomorrow when the temperature should be a whopping 39 degrees (heat wave!).
Last night’s 2 am heifer check:
Yesterday I blogged about how often we check heavies in the calving lot. Today I am going to delve into what I look for. Particularly, I am in search of any critter that is acting as if it will calve in the next hour or two. Gaining an understanding of cow behavior has been invaluable in making these predictions.
Normal Cow Behavior:
-Scratching on a post or tree branch
When a cow is doing these things, she typically does not have calving on her mind.
Pre-calving Cow Behavior:
-Nervous and restless movement when approached
-She may be off by herself
-The tail will be lifted slightly (as if about to defecate, but no signs of defecation)
-She may be switching her tail
These are the signs a cow has calving on her mind besides the obvious when she is actually calving. Occasionally, a cow will jump the gun and try to adopt another cow’s calf. When this happens, we separate the cow into a pen to avoid confusing the calf and perturbing the actual mother. These actions are the end of the first stage of parturition.
Tomorrow I will go over the second stage of parturition. Nonetheless, if you really cannot wait to hear me talk about it, here is a link about the 3 stages of parturition:
Fun fact, experienced cows can delay calving if they wish. We’ve put cows in the barn on cold nights that didn’t calve, yet five minutes out of the barn they started producing a calf.