Calving clinic offers insight on cow birth

Many area women attended a woman's only calving clinic Thursday evening at the Missouri Valley Commission Company (Boonville Sale Barn). Dr. Dawna Voelkl, Assistant Professor at MU's College of Veterinary Medicine, gave the evenings presentation, bringing forth her expertise and experience. Her primary focus is animal birthing. The event was sponsored by the University Extension.
Voelkl demonstrated a number of methods in assisting in births. She also explained a number of birthing areas including: when was the right time to call a veterinarian for help, how to care for the mother and the newborn after a difficult birth and what supplies need to be on hand and how ladies should prepare themselves before something happens.
She explained the correct way of pulling a calf and as well as the wrong way of doing, which could greatly harm the calf.
Voekl also said not to assume that if there is no movement, that the calf is dead. She addressed a number of ways to test to see if the cow is alive or indeed deceased and explained how to take a pulse as well, which is especially needed after a difficult pregnancy.
Furthermore, she said many births occur at night, so the correct thing to do and would be to feed the cows at night so the calf would be born in the day, making the birth less stressful on the owner and making it easier for the birth to be handled.
She addressed some 'tall tales' with birthing. One being 'calves are usually born in bad weather' which is not necessarily true according to Voekl.
"You remember the hard births the most," she said.