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Sidebar: How to Handle a Difficult Calving Situation
Kansas Ag Connection - 02/13/2020

K-State Research and Extension beef veterinarian A.J. Tarpoff shares the following steps for producers to follow if they experience a difficult calving situation:

During active calving. Once the cow's water bag breaks, assure that they are making adequate progress toward birth within an hour. Adequate progress means the calf is moving through the birth canal. If there seems to be no progress, it is time to intervene.

How long should I intervene? "First, figure out what is causing the problem," Tarpoff said. "Usually the calf is not coming through the birth canal quite right." He said producers should try to intervene for a half hour, gently manipulating the calf's head, legs or other parts through the birth canal.

Call for help. If problems persist beyond a half hour, call a veterinarian for help. "That's your best chance to get a live calf on the ground," Tarpoff said.

"Don't hesitate to seek assistance when it's obvious you need it," Tarpoff said. "For a lot of locations in Kansas, the veterinarian may not be five minutes away. They may be an hour away or they may be on another call. If you communicate with them that you're having an issue, you're trying to solve it but it's not going well, at least it gets it on their radar that they can get to your operation as soon as possible."

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