There's an old joke shared by dairy farmers (and I presume a few other folks) that we celebrate Labor Day by laboring. That was true for us once again on the farm, and was also the case for a couple of our pregnant cows. Cow no.086 went into labor Monday afternoon and easily birthed a heifer calf. Cow no.038 didn't have it quite so easy.
|my father helping cow no.038 deliver her calf|
My father made a final check on the cows in our maternity pasture when we finished milking Monday afternoon. He noticed that no.038 appeared to be having labor pains, but with no visible sign of a calf being born. We herded her to the working pen so we could help her have her calf, and dad discovered that it had a leg turned backward at the knee which was preventing it from being delivered. After "going in her" and straightening the calf's leg, he attached the OB chains to it's front ankles and begin to pull. It wasn't a very big calf, and it pulled rather easily. Unfortunately though, it had already died prior to our intervention.
That's the way it goes on the farm sometimes. Our cows rarely have calving problems, and even when they do the calf is usually delivered alive and healthy. This was just one of those times that it didn't work out...a bad way to end a holiday.