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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nesting in a Big Way Part I



Imagine with me if you will, that your home is going to be the headquarters for about 200+ babies to be born in the next 45 days.  What supplies would you need?  What would you want to have on hand in case of a late night emergency?  This is a snapshot of the checklist that I go through and make sure I have in my house before calving season starts.

Most cows have their babies without incident, but just like people somethings happen.  I had HELLP Syndrome and I have told you about Killian who has CDH.  It is always good to have experts available with supplies to keep everyone safe during and after birth.

10 Things I Get Before Calving Season for the Bovine Patients

Farmer Randy was not my willing model in this picture, but I thought you needed to see how long the sleeves really are against a guy who is 6 foot 3.
1.        Latex gloves and loonnnngggg plastic sleeves.
 Just like OB Doctors we like to keep things as sterile as possible.  If we have to go in and check to see if a calf is coming the right way or reposition the way it is coming we use these really long OB sleeves to keep us clean and so we don’t take contaminants into the cow that will cause an infection.

2.       Colostrum Replacer (usually freeze dried colostrum) and calf electrolytes (think Pedialyte or Gatorade for calves)
Colostrum is the first milk that a cow produces and is very important to keep a calf healthy.  It actually has antibodies that keep the calf from getting sick until their immune system is mature enough to produce their own.  Calves need to have a good dose of colostrum in their system in the first 12 hours to keep them healthy. 
Yes this bottle is a little bigger than the ones we used for our kids.  It holds 2 quarts.
3.       Calf bottle with new nipples and an oral feeding tube.
Sometimes cows don’t like the thought of being a mother, calves are weak or cows have twins.  These calves often need some supplemental nutrition, just like human babies.  I remember using a tube type feeding system for a couple of days with my now 10 year old son that was born 5 weeks early.  Of course, the ones for calves are much larger, but are still very similar to what we use on kids.

4.       Antibiotics and Vitamins along with syringes and bawling gun.
Just like human babies that are born in certain areas get a shot of vitamins when they are born we give some of our calves vitamins and minerals when they are born.  We also have a limited selection of antibiotics for those calves that get an infection or pneumonia.  Often these calves get sick when the weather is really bad and the roads are not fit to travel to the vet’s office.
Last summer, the whole family worked together to put straw in the barn for this winter.  Love it when 3 generations work together.
5.       Straw bedding
When the calves have to come in the barn, we like to have some clean bedding for the calves to sleep on.  Most of the calves are born outside and stay there, because in all honesty things are cleaner outside than in a dark drafty barn.  The UV rays from the sun do a great job of killing bacteria outside and that sunlight can’t get in to kill things in our barn.


Here is the link to Part II of Nesting.

-A Kansas Farm Mom