October 15, 2018
The first 15 minutes of calf's life is very important. Our role is to assist at birth in a way that supports the outcomes nature intended and avoid unnecessary negative things.
As the cows are giving birth, many physiological processes occur.
If the calving is progressing well, it is best to continue monitor the cow and give it time to delivery naturally.
When the cows delivery naturally, they pause for a few moments after the calf's rib cage passes and takes its first breaths of air.
At that moment, the placenta transfer its blood supply into the calf via the still-intact umbilical cord.
This step provides an increase in blood volume to the calf which helps with the oxygen transport and plasma to help keep the calf hydrated.
Even if you assist with the delivery, you can copy this process by pausing after the last rib is delivered to allow placental blood transfer to occur.
The calf should start trying to breathe on its own as soon as the last rib is delivered and exits the birth canal.
Then, the cow stands and the back end of the calf exits, the umbilical cord will sever.
Getting the calf to breathe immediately after birth is crucial and it is the most effective way to clear fluid from the lungs.
It helps to promote successful breathing and oxygen absorption.
We can help the calf sit up on its sternum by tucking the front legs under the body.
We can also poke the nostrils with clean straw and splashing cold water in the calf's ear to encourage first gasp.
The calf will absorb excess fluid over time, so the priority should be to clear any fluids from nostrils and mouth and ensure that the calf starts breathing immediately.
When it comes to stillbirths, do not give up so easily. Some calves may be born not breathing but still have a heartbeat.
Resuscitation to start breathing may be necessary.
Drying and warming