Hubs was out checking the cows on the range this morning and radio'd back to send someone to open the gate into the corral. He had "a backwards calf." A backwards calf means that he noticed the feet presented were hind feet tipping upward as you see in the first picture. Normally, a calf presents front feet first in what I call a "diving position."
The first thing to do is to get the cow into the head-catch and then glove up. Eldest son, A, would be the man to assist in this birth so he put the nylon straps onto the calf's feet and got ready to go to work. The straps serve as a handle so he can help pull the calf. As the cow pushes, A. jacks and pulls downward. Pulling a backwards calf has its complications. Often the calf is not born alive depending on how long the mother cow has been laboring. Also, sometimes the calf drowns because the fluids are trapped in its lungs since he's coming out the wrong direction.
Here the calf is halfway out. Once the hips are birthed, the rest is much easier. But we still have to be ready to tip this little fella upside down once he's born in order to allow the fluids to drain from his nose, mouth, and lungs.
He is born, he's alive, and now he will be hoisted upside down by a hook & rope for a few moments.
Here's A. pulling the mucous and the membranes from the calf's nose and pinching him a little to get him to breathe. When a calf is born naturally in the "diving position," the sack usually breaks and the calf is already tipped upside down whilst the cow stands and pushes or lies down to push. The calf often starts breathing even before his is fully birthed. Hoisting the calf like this is simulates the natural birthing process.
A job well done. He made it! Now it is up to his mother to lick him off and get him going. Often we find that backwards-born calves have a harder time getting up. Their back legs are often weak and they have trouble standing and sucking. This lil guy will be watched closely for a few days.
As of this writing, we find that Mama Cow has not licked him off or looked at him whatsoever. She's very up-tight, defiant, and nasty. She doesn't like this situation at all and she's really on the fight. This is not good for the calf. Hubs warmed some frozen colostrum and fed him this afternoon. If Mama Cow continues to act unmotherly, this calf will be a bum (orphan). Time will tell.