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Monday, March 03, 2008

Cows are Niffty

There is no way to keep them happy in the confined area we have for them. It of course is a temporary area. I was hoping that they could get use to me in there. So we opened up the gate to the corral. We discovered what the problem was. Edie (the pregnant cow) was and still is being bullied by Letichia (the mama cow, who we are now calling mama. Two syllables are so much easier to deal with when calling them). Getting them a little more space is helping out that situation. Mama was also not allowing Edie to eat. We are wondering if that is why she isn't so full in her pregnancy. We also noticed that Edie's udders are starting to fill out. Could it be close to calving time?

Hopefully the new calf doesn't look like this.

Friday, after my post here, I went out to tempt the girls with some grain. I called Edie in first as she has yet to threaten my life. On the first time I got her into the stanchion.
Edie in the stanchion

My husband took the bucket from me, and tempted her through the opening,
While I took the photo and scratched her side. She allowed me to pick burs off of her and scratch the under side of her belly. Then she was done with me.

Unfortunately the stanchion is too short.
Stanchion too short

Fortunately, this is why it isn't a permanent fixture. We needed to size it up. I am having a real difficult time finding any books on Dexter's. They say that there is one out there, but no one that sells it seems to still be around. ~sigh~

I went out into the corral to tempt Mama. She did come up to me, but wouldn't follow. So I allowed her to have the treat out in the corral. Just getting her close to me with out the stomping, scratching hoof, or the shaking of the head at me was accomplishment enough. Speaking of head shaking. My 10 year old's friend came over this weekend and kept calling the girls, bulls. We corrected him many times, finally he said. Bulls are usually the ones you see with horns, not cows, it's weird.

Saturday the girls were waiting for me next to the stanchion. Eddie walked right in for her treat, Mama was throwing a small fit about it, and scared Edie off.

Sunday morning they were again waiting for me. Mama wasn't allowing Edie in the barn, so I called Mama over and she walked right into the stanchion! oh my! She is trusting me more. I was allowed to scratch her without being threatened. I think we are making progress. Now I need to know the symptoms of cow labor. I tried to look it up and all I can find is the stages, but no real descriptions of what to look for. I know several of you raise Dexter's, can you help? Or am I just going to walk out one day and there will be a new calf?

For those of you asking about how tall the girls are.
Small cows

My husband is 6'1" and not standing up straight. They are rather small, but these girls are on the tall side of the Dexter's.

Sunday we also spent the day cleaning up the corral, all those tractors and such that you see in the background are now gone.

I like cows. ~dorky smile~


Wren said...

I don't know anything about Dexters, I've never even heard of them. But with my Longhorns, we would just go out in the morning and have a calf. But, Longhorns are a pretty independent breed.

I'm loving your cow stories. When are you going to start raising pigs?

Phelan said...

Dexters are said to be very independent as well. Uma, the calf, was born on a 2F degree day. Very hardy. But I just want to know. I am being an anxious cow mom. Pigs...we talked pigs, but the county we live in doesn't allow them, so they will have to wait until we move to another homestead out of this county.

Donna said...

Dexters have labor the same as any other cow. Just read up on cow labor and you'll know about Dexter labor. They lay down and get up, lay down and get up, over and over. As birth draws near, they'll smell where they were laying. When the last stage of labor starts, they start pushing. Don't worry if the calf's feet are out and the cow stands up and the feet disappear. This can happen several times. Cows usually do just fine with no help. If it should happen to get really cold again, though, you need to watch because the tips of the ears and tail can freeze before the calf gets dried off; you'll need to dry the calf off, perhaps even get it inside till it's dry. Check my blog for recent pictures of my Jersey, Secret. Her ears and tail switch indeed got nipped.

Briana said...

My college roommate is a large-animal vet. Let me know if you have any particular cow labor questions and I'll ask her.

(I've helped pull a calf before, but don't really know too much about it.)


-- Buffra

Gina said...

When Baby calved she bellowed a bit and walked around the pasture. She would lie down, get up (like your commentor mentioned) and finally she stood up a final time and Maggie slipped out. Meanwhile, I was running full speed from the house out to assist her if needed and the calf was out before I could get there. A very quick process, imo.

We were not 100% she was pregnant when we bought her, but Sr (who was raised on a dairy farm) said he thought she was filling out. A few days before birthing Maggie, her udders filled out. She also had a bit of discharge.

Gina said...

Oh, and how wierd you can have cattle but not pigs. Is it due to the high number of CAFO pig farms in your area or what?

Phelan said...

Donna, I did look up cow labor, and did read about some of the signs, but there was some other things that were going on that they don't mention. Gina, below, seems to have answered that one for me. Thank you.

briana, oh now you have done it. I will be pestering you :D

Gina, thank you. You helped a great deal. I was wondering about a discharge as I saw something of the sort yesterday. There are no more pig farms because of the amount and the damage done. The population of people is to dense in this county.

Maggie said...

Sorry I have no tips to offer I was 9 when I helped birth a calf. By the time I got to the barn it was obvious the calf was on its way. My grandpop thought it was taking too long so while he reassured Momma I grabbed the leg and pulled. I don't know if the calf was coming on its own or not but we both landed on the hay. Thank goodness Momma Clarabell was a pet else I may have been in for more than an accidental licking:) I think in about a month you will have those ladies feeding out of the palm of your hand. (literally)

molly said...

I don't know a thing about dexters but found these links for you that may be of use:
The last one is a forum of dexter owners where you can post questions and have tthem answered.
hopefully that should help :)

alrescate said...

With horses, the udder filling out is a sign that the foal will be born before too much longer. I would guess it is the same with cows.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Cows start "springing" (the vulva slowly swells and loosens) about 30 days before calving. Her round belly will slowly flatten and you will notice that the heavy calf has pulled her belly down as it moves into the birth position. Her udder will slowly fill then within 24 hours become very full. She will make small baby mooing sounds as she gets close to active labor. Hope these little tidbits help, good luck.

P~ said...

Looks like everyone's having fun with the new additions. So glad they seem to be taking to you. Wish I could have a cow...Damn suburban ordinances.

Phelan said...

Maggie, Wow, I don't know what I would have done or felt like doing something like that at that age. But I guess it is no big thing if you have grown up around it. Hopefully the ladies will be aeating out of my hand sooner then a month. My goal is to at least get Edie comfortable enough to start milking as soon as the calf comes.

Molly, thank you so much. They will come in handy.

alrescate, happy belated birthday! Sorry I missed it. From what ever one is telling me, udder filling seems to be the tell tale sign.

anonymous, thank you! That helps a great deal. I wasn't having much luck looking this type of info up yesterday. Stages and symptoms are so different to the novices. Thanks again.

P~ well the chicken thing is almost done, next cows :D

sexy said...






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