According to my records Cow #21 was due to calve about June 29th. I was concerned for her for when she delivered her first calf last year, as a two year old, she had gone into labor during the night after last herd check. When I checked her in the morning she could barely stand and the calf was stillborn. Now this year she was going overdue raising the possibilities of a very large calf.
Sunday evening she left the herd so I knew that the onset of labor was imminent. Not wanting a repeat of last year or worse, I checked her frequently and at 8 PM her water broke. Two hours later, while obviously in labor, she had not progressed in birthing; it was time to call a Vet. The answering service told me to call them back in thirty minutes if I did not hear from the vet on call, but in less than ten minutes Dr. Beidel was on the phone. Discussing the situation he felt that his services were needed.
My wife and I herded #21 in from the pasture and had her in the stable by the time Dr. Biedel arrived. A quick examination determined that she had a live, very large calf, and that it hadn't entered the birth canal. The next step was trying to pull the calf. After using ropes and chains and doing all that two strong men could muster the calf's head was through but its shoulders were too large. Dr. Biedel thought that any further effort would be futile so he moved on to performing a c-section. By 2 AM the surgery was done, the calf, slow to wake was still struggling occasionally to sit up, and the mother was resting upright.
By morning 21 was standing but the calf was having problems standing, possible caused by the pulling of its front feet during the attempted delivery. It seemed most likely that the calf had not nursed so milked 21 and bottle fed the baby.
Checking on them this morning, the calf is walking much better. It is now able to take five or six steps before its weak ankle buckles. Again, I milked mama and bottle fed the baby but I expect that he will soon be able to stand and nurse all on his own.
And as for Dr Biedel and Mid-Maryland Dairy Veterinarians I cannot say enough good! This is the second time this year that Dr. Biedel has came to the farm on the weekend and made the best of a bad birthing situation. The first time the the calf was already dead and he saved the life of the cow, this time he brought both through. With a little TLC from me, I'm confident that both will do fine.