Cow giving birth Part II

Always determine if the calf is in a normal presentation, posture and position. If the calf is not in the correct position or posture at the examination, then these must be corrected before beginning to pull. For instructions on this topic see the next section.

After examination and a determination that the calf is in the correct position and posture, chains should be placed on both limbs. They may be placed either above the fetlock joint or below the fetlock above the hoof of the calf or a combination of the two. In most instances, it is recommended to place the chains above the fetlock and take a half-hitch below the fetlock joint as well. The chain above the fetlock should be placed where the bone is decreasing in size on the leg above the growth plate of the bone. 

Have the cow on her right side. It is easier to pull the calf when the cow is on her right side and the calf is lined up with the birth canal. Also, when the cow is lying down, she can push with each contraction and help deliver the calf.

Be sure you are in an area large enough for the cow to safely and comfortably lie down.

An example of casting the cow:
To lay the cow down, take a long sturdy rope (about 10 feet long) and place across the back of the cow’s neck. Take the two ends of the rope and place them under the front legs. Bring the ends of the rope up and cross them over the middle of her back. Now take the two ends and place between her hind legs and her udder. Pull the two ends of the rope from behind the sow until she lies down. Usually the cow will remain lying down.

Take a long rope that has a honda at one end and place the rope around the flank of the cow. Put the one end through the honda and pull tight. Be sure that the rope is in front of the udder. Pull the rope in the direction you want the cow to fall.


You are now at a point to determine if delivery by forced extraction is possible. This test for delivery is valid only if certain criteria are followed relative to position of cow, type and amount of traction, and direction of pull. Traction should only be applied when the cow is assisting with an abdominal press.

Whenever the birth canal is evaluated, and during the entire process of calving assistance, it is extremely important to maintain excellent hygiene. The operator’s hands and arms and the cow’s vulva and surrounding area must be cleaned and disinfected repeatedly. Clean/sterile lubricant should be used liberally and frequently. During attempts to pull the calf, the birth canal should be dilated using your hands and forearms.

To repeat – for any of the assistance procedures it is extremely important to:



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