Placentas, Colostrum, and Joy

It’s a Boy (Sob…)

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We had visions of a female offspring from Rosebud and A Nine Top Brass… Oh well, this little boy is sweet and strong (named Bambi by our exchange student).

Mom did great having calf #9 (yay!)

Rosebud did everything on her own, no help from us, besides that Jay put her in a calving box stall for the night.

Calf was standing and mostly dry by the time we woke up in the morning. We let them hang out for a while and fed Rosebud a flake of Alfalfa & a flake of grass hay. Then we checked out Rosebud to make sure she wasn’t going to get milk fever-y on us….

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Bright eyes, alert, eating vigorously and softly mooing to baby ~ Check!DSC05612

Tailhead warm (even though the temp was around 20 degrees F) ~ Check!DSC05613

Ears warm and wiggling away from me as if to say “Stop grabbin’ my ears lady!” ~ Check!

And some other signs to monitor on a fresh cow:

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Udder starting to make milk, all four quarters look soft and healthy (older cows don’t tend to get as bad of edema) ~ Check!DSC05616

Pins still dropped, extremities look normal and healthy.DSC05617

And a side shot ~ because there’s nothing more beautiful then a new mom, right?

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After being milked for the first time, approx. 3-6 hours after calving, Rosebud expelled a lovely placenta (I know, gross photo, but people are always asking, “What should/does it look like?” Well, here you go curious folk!)

First Milking:

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Our fresh cow “mix” is the following:

  • Alfalfa (the leaves from a flake of hay shaken into a tub)
  • Shredded beet pulp (home made)
  • Cane Molasses with some warm water to dilute/distribute
  • Dairy grain
    • Mix all together, add a little more hot water if needed to blend, then top dress with a scoop of dairy grain

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Never judge a cow’s udder at calving time or for the next week or two – it’s lop sided, awkward, lumpy, hard, red, puffy, etc. Time heals all this. 🙂DSC05619 DSC05620 DSC05621   DSC05626

After the first milking – you don’t see much difference, maybe a couple wrinkles along the top of the udder, the teats are probably a little more deflated, etc.DSC05628

The first couple of milkings, Rosebud only gave us a little less than half a gallon (barely enough for the calf…). We have never had problems with her holding up her milk (she’s a free giver!) and she was slow in making up an udder before calving (just enough to say, “I’m pregnant” but not enough to be a good indicator of when she would calve). So, on the third milking, we gave Oxytocin, to make sure she would give all the milk she had. She gave 1.5 gallons. We think she’s just been slow in making up to milk, and her production should continue to rise over the next few days to 3 gallons per milking.

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First Feeding:

To ensure the calf receives adequate colostrum

(a calf will not live a long life if they are not given colostrum)

we like to milk out the cow a few hours after calving.

This time, we found the calf around 7:00 am, he was at least a couple hours old, we left them together until around 9:30 am, then Jay walked Rosebud to the milking parlor while Michelle walked Bambi to his new calf hutch. Rosebud ate her grain mix after being milked and expelled her placenta, then Jay walked her back to the barn to eat breakfast with the other cows. Meanwhile, Michelle spent about 15 minutes patiently working with Bambi to get him to drink the bottle (1/2 gallon aka 4 pint). Newborns are not very persistent nursers in most cases, so it’s a game of find the nipple, take a few drinks, fall off, search around, find it again, repeat. By the fourth feeding, he had it down pretty well and was able to feed from the bottle without much assistance from us.DSC05629 DSC05630DSC05609

While giving the first feeding, Bambi had his first bowel movement (meconium). The color is very dark brown. For Bambi, his first two poo’s were dark like this.

Don’t worry, you may not always see this first poo, what you see may be similar consistency but bright orange (think spray can cheese color) – that’s perfectly normal, too. But you won’t see that until after the calf has digested his first feeding of colostrum (colostrum, if left to separate, will have bright orange looking butterfat rise to the top. Looks like a normal jar of milk, but is thicker almost as thick as egg nog).

For the sake of ending on a good note, with a good picture in your mind, here’s another cutie photo of Bambi, legs all curled up prim and proper (see, shoulda been a girl!) We’ll advertise him for a few days to see if anyone needs a bull. Otherwise, he’ll get rubber ringed (castrated) at about a week old, when he’s too young to feel anything. Then it’s milk fed until he reaches the dinner pot next fall (I know, I know, so mean!)

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2 thoughts on “Placentas, Colostrum, and Joy

  1. Pingback: Placentas, Colostrum, and Joy | Spirited Rose Homestead Dairy Farm | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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