We are at the final instalment of a year in the life of a cow. The final stage is when the cow goes into labour and has a calf.
A cow gives birth, approximately once she has been pregnant for 283 days. On average she is in labour (once the feet start to show) for 3 hours. After this time we would then look to intervene to see what was going on. Because we don’t have any heifers (first time mothers), all of our cows have given birth before, which means they are experienced and should (hopefully) know what they’re doing.
Sometimes they’re is a need for intervention and this can come from us or (in rare circumstances) the vet. We may have had to help out either by pulling the calf out by hand or using the calving aid, this could be due to many reasons but we find it’s usually to do with the calf’s size or coming out the wrong way. Once the calf is out, Gavins mother is the best at checking and (if needed) dealing with bleeds after the birth. If a vet is needed, this usually means a C-section is required as the uterus may be twisted or something more sinister.
The mother joins the main milking herd after 24 hours, she joins the ‘high group’ so her diet can be managed and she is on a rich, sustainable grub that promotes milk production and helps recovery after giving birth. She is milked twice a day, with 12 hours between each milking session. This means her milk will continue to be produced, just like a humans, when the demand is there. Initially they don’t produce much milk but this increases each day until they reach they’re peak around 20 days after calving.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this instalment and all the other instalments of a year in a cows life. This year of documenting a cows life seems to have flown by and I’ve really enjoyed sharing each stage with you all as to what happens on our farm.