Thursday, July 18, 2024
HomeLivestockBeef CattleWhen Does a Cow In Labor Need Help?

When Does a Cow In Labor Need Help?

How do you know when a cow is labor is having trouble? How do you know when to start helping her?

Well, research done over 30 years ago at Oklahoma State University and at the Agricultural Research Service Laboratory in Miles City, Montana has some answers for us. They looked at how long “stage two” labor normally lasts for beef cows and two-year-old heifers to help us figure out when things aren’t going as they should.

As Dr. Glen Selk describes in this 3:30 minute video, stage two begins with the appearance of the water bag and ends with a live baby calf on the ground. For two-year-old heifers, the average time was 55 minutes. For mature cows that had calved before, it was much shorter, lasting only 22 minutes. In the video he describes how you can use that information to determine when it’s time to check a cow and see if it needs help.

If you’ve got experience with calving, kidding and lambing that could be helpful to your fellow readers, do share in the comments below, or in an email to us.


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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.


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