Yes, it is a sad day on the farm for our family today. Just yesterday, one of our Freisian heifers went into labour with her first calf. By mid afternoon the calf's feet were visible and we were all excited for the newest arrival! But just a couple of hours later we became concerned, as the labour had not progressed as it should have. By 7pm Brian and my Dad brought the cow up to the shed, so as to be able to assist her if necessary. We have never had to assist any of our cows in labour before, they usually manage very well when left alone to birth.
After some time Brian tied some rope to the calf's feet and proceeded to help ease the calf out, as the cow strained. They could not get the calf moved much, but at that stage they could see its nose...so it looked as though progress was being made; however slow. Brian came home at midnight and told me there had been no further progression, so they had let the cow back into the field, to see if she could get it moving better on her own. After a couple of hours sleep, they were going to go back out at 3am to check the cow.
After the 3am check, there was still no further progression and Brian decided to call the vet in the morning. Once the children and I were awake, we got ready and headed up to the shed to see how the vet was assisting with the delivery. But upon approaching Brian shook his head and told me to take the children back home. As we were already dressed and ready (Meg in the Ergo) the kids and I walked around to my mothers for a cup of tea. Just 30 minutes later we heard the Vet leave...so we walked back home with my Mum.
Brian and my Dad were home waiting for some breakfast, after their tough morning. The poor calf had already died sometime yesterday evening, the Vet had said. It seems that the calf was unusually large and had gotten stuck. The cow needed to lay still while the Vet removed the calf; he gave her some antibiotics and steroids to help her recover. It looks probable that the cow will live, despite her birth trauma. Our whole family is devastated; the loss of any farm animal is such a blow. Dylan is upset, but he understands that sometimes these things will happen and that when we have life, we also have death.