I’m not going out to the barn every few hours yet. I would call this “first stage” calf watch. The vet said Lucy was due the end of this month, which is coming fast. I would like her to have the calf before Thanksgiving or wait until we get back from pheasant hunting. I have a feeling she could care less about my plans though.
Her previous owner said she doesn’t tend to show before she gives birth, so I’m trying not to look to hard to see things that aren’t there. But I do think she is starting to show a few signs. Her muscles on either side of her tail have started to loosen, making her tail look like its standing up a little taller and her hips a little wider. I haven’t noticed her loosening up under her tail much yet.
Her bag is definitely full. At this point I’m just waiting for her teats to fill. This happens 12-24 hours before she will go into labor. At this point, for me, that is the easiest way for me to tell when she’s getting close. Once that happens then I will be making more frequent trips to the barn. On that note, her and I might need to talk about a Brazilian wax. She is definitely ready for winter and looks more like a beef cow than one ready to milk. Haha.
This isn’t her first rodeo to speak of, so I’m sure it will go just fine. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be anxiously waiting for the calf to be on the ground and feeding well. I think I have concerned myself more over this delivery than I have my own… I know I have actually. But that’s ok. I like my family and animals well taken care of.
I have yet to set up my milking station. But I have a little time. I plan to use 5 panels and a gate- make a square pen to hold the calf over night and attach the gate panel to one corner and the fifth panel to that to create a little stall. The stall can then be used to hold Lucy while I milk and double as a bit of a squeeze gate if needed for vet visits and such.
The plan is to hold the calf overnight, milk Lucy right away in the morning and then let the calf nurse the rest of the day. By doing this I will be able to only milk once per day and if something happens (like I go into labor) then the calf can stay on Lucy without causing her pain and risking mastitis. Not to mention, I believe it’s best for the calf to be able to nurse as long as the cow will allow.