Question for experienced cattle people

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by joedie, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    I have a Dexter cow that is due now and last Wednesday just before I left on a mini vacation, I noticed her udder was huge looked like a jersey ready to milk. I asked DH to keep an eye on her I thought she'd deliver within a few days. When I came home Sunday, her udder was only half the size and the vulva looked a little gaping. I was sure she had delivered so I looked all over for a baby in hiding and couldn't find anything. She stays with the herd, moving back and forth between the barn and the 40 acres they have. I'm a little befuddled. Do they normally have the udder go back down in size? I'm thinking either she had it and lost it to a predator or ???? This is her first calf and it's hard to tell looking at her if there's still a baby in there. [​IMG]
     
  2. glenolam

    glenolam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    Does she have any discharge or possibly even part of a placenta hanging out? Is she "off" at all?

    That does sound odd...
     
  3. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    Quote:No discharge, isn't off her feed. She's approached me a few times which she normally doesn't do, she's usually a little stand offish. I had the guy I bought her from come look at her and he was a little stumped too. He said her udder looked like she'd been nursing a calf or possibly drying up or maybe still pregnant. Wasn't much help! I'll post if I find anything.
     
  4. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    I don't really know anything about cows, but I thought that they'd leave their newborn calf laying hidden somewhere and the cow would return to the calf periodically to feed the calf.

    Any chance the calf is hidden somewhere in the pasture?

    Please ignore this post if it's completely ignorant....I just thought I'd ask...

    Good luck!
     
  5. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    May 11, 2010
    Some cows are really good at hiding those babies and will take up to a week before allowing them to join the herd. Occasionally a cow will allow another calf to nurse. Rarely but at times share-nursing will happen. If she is eating well and appears comfortable I think you are okay. Although you can always have a vet come out and palpate to be on the safe side.
     
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    If she had lost her calf, her udder would be even larger and engorged with milk plus she'd more than likely be hollering for it. Also if she's delivered her vulva won't be as swollen looking as it does before they calve. She's probably just got it hidden well. We've about walked right over a new calf hidden and hunkered down in the grass or bushes before.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  7. glenolam

    glenolam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    Is hiding the calf a dairy thing? We have beef cows and all our calves are up walking around with the mothers after they're born. Of course, they aren't on hundreds of acres of pasture - more like 6 acres. The cows and calves would stay basically in the area they were born in for the first few days and then the mothers pushed the calves up to the "main" pasure area (if they weren't already born there).

    Can you take a picture of her udder and teats and vagina? If she's being nursed, her teats will look either wet/shiny/shrivled or dry/cracked/shrivled depending on how recently she was nursed. And looking at her vagina will help in seeing how swollen or unswollen she is too.
     
  8. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    All our beef cows do it when they calve out in the pasture......not when they're in the lot here at home tho.
     
  9. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    Katy, I was wondering when you'd join in here!
    I just got home from work and checked on her. It looks to me like her udder is even smaller. The pastures are cross fenced with 2 strand hot wire. The lowest strand is 24 inches so I'd think a little Dexter could get underneath it without a problem. The grass is not high enough for one to hide in but just outside the fence it is. I've driven around it several times now and can't find a thing. I would think that if she had a baby hidden somewhere that she wouldn't stray very far from it??? She moves up to the barn with the herd which is a fair distance to leave behind a newborn. But then I don't know cows. I raise donkeys and this is my first experience with a bred heifer. I'm just totally confused. It seems to me like shes's drying up. I've not heard her call for baby nor have I heard a baby bawling. I've been watching her frequently and haven't seen any different kind of behavior. Vulva looks normal, no discharge or swelling. Is it possible for coyotes to drag one off? [​IMG]
     
  10. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Some cows can really hide a calf. The calf will hunker down and not move. Mom will not acknowledge her calf or call to it until she's ready.

    Check out this photo of one of our hidden calves. Not a sound out of her. Mom totally ignored her until I got too close.



    [​IMG]
     

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