Care during pregnancy
In India, pregnant animals are allowed to graze with the rest of the herd so that they get exercise and sufficient green fodder. However, towards the end of the pregnancy, the animals are confined and stall-fed. This reduces accidents and allows the farmer to keep a close eye on the pregnant animals. To avoid abortion, farmers do not feed cottonseed or rape seed to pregnant animals.
If animals are in danger of aborting, Indian stock raisers dry and powder whole plants of Leptadenia reticulata. They place about 20g of the powder twice a day on top of the concentrate ration of the pregnant animal so that the powder will be eaten first. They continue this treatment for 20-30 days.
In Thailand, farmers add 1 kg per day of rice to the feed of the pregnant animal 1 or 2 weeks before it is due to give birth. They also mix 1 kg of molasses with 10 ml of water and then sprinkle this onto the rice straw feed.
You will know if an animal will have normal or abnormal delivery by observing the length of time before the newborn comes out. Normally, a newborn emerges within 6
hours after the water bag comes out. Once the water bag breaks, the birth normally occurs within 2 hours.
Do not interfere with the natural birthing process unless absolutely necessary!
Before giving any assistance to the mother, trim your fingernails very short. Thoroughly wash your arms and hands with soap and clean water. If possible, disinfect them with alcohol.
Inadequate uterine contractions
· The water bag does not come out even after the cow has strained for 6 hours.
1. Keep the animal comfortable and quiet.
2. Wash and remove the skin of a fresh Aloe vera leaf Rub it gently on the vulval lips, on the inside of the vagina and on the cervix.
3. If no change occurs within 3 to 6 hours, consult a veterinarian or anyone in the community experienced in attending to difficulties at birth in animals. (Sri Lanka. 1, 2, 3, 4)
Inadequate uterine contractions
Six hours after the legs and head of the offspring have appeared, if delivery has not yet been completed, try the following. This technique is used by stockraisers throughout Asia and is similar to techniques used by Western veterinarians.
1. Disinfect a 1 meter-long rope by washing it in laundry detergent. Bath soap can be used, too.
2. Carefully tie each end of the rope a little above the hoof joint of each of the front legs of the baby animal.
3. Insert a clean stick about 30 cm in length through the loop.
4. Pull on the stick only when the mother pushes.
5. Pull the baby animal only towards the udder. Never pull it straight out or upwards.
6. Occasionally the hind legs come out first. Make sure that both are hind legs and not one front and one hind leg. If both are hind legs, tie the rope on in the same way as above and pull when the mother pushes.
Helping the mother's delivery
Retained placenta or "afterbirth"
If the placenta does not come out within 12 hours of birthing, try doing the following:
· Boil ½ kg of fresh bamboo shoots (Bambusa sp.) in 2 liters of water until the water is reduced to about half the amount. Cool the liquid and give the entire amount as a drench in one dose. (Sri Lanka. 1, 2, 3, 4)
If the afterbirth does not come out in the next 12 hours, get professional help. If help is not available, do the following. This is a technique commonly done by both traditional and modern veterinary doctors.
1. Clean your hands thoroughly and apply vegetable oil to them as a lubricant.
2. Cup one hand into a cone-shape.
3. Insert this hand into the vagina following along the length of the placenta and reaching as far as you can. Grasp the placenta.
4. Carefully separate the placenta from the uterus with your fingers and then take out as much as you can. The animal will deal with the placenta remaining inside the uterus in its natural way. It will not reduce the chances of the mother's bearing more offspring. The farmer can do this alone or with the help of a local livestock specialist. Make sure not to introduce any kind of infection into the vagina.
Do not hang heavy weights on the membrane coming out of the vagina. This will be very harmful to the cow.
After removing the retained placenta, use one of the mixtures below to control bleeding from the uterus. These treatments will also help to contract the uterus.
Boil 200-300 g of Linum usifatissimum seeds in 1 liter of water until only half the water remains. Drench all this amount twice a day for 7 days. (India. 1, 3, 4, 5)
20g Zingiber officinale (ginger) rhizome.
30g Peucadenum graveolens seeds.
30g Trachyspermum ami (bishop's weed) seeds.
30g Trigonella foenumgraecum (fenugreek) seeds.
20g Nigella sativa (black cumin) seeds. 20g Asparagus racemosus (asparagus) roots.
20g Bamhusa sp. (bamboo) leaves.
10g Saraca indica (ashoka) tree bark.
10g Pedalium maurex bark.
Powder these ingredients and mix in 1 liter of water. Boil the mixture until only half the water is left. Give as a lukewarm drench 2 times a day for 7 days.
After drenching the decoction, mix the remaining pulp with Linum usitatissimum (linseed) seeds, molasses or brown sugar and feed it to the animal. (India. 1, 3, 4, 5)
· Make a decoction of 1 kg of guava (Psidium gunjava) leaves in 4 liters of water. Cool the liquid and then using a clean cloth, wash the vagina. (Philippines, Sri Lanka.1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Continuous bleeding from the vagina after birth is generally due to injury to the vagina or uterus during birthing, whether by accident or mishandling.
If assistance is given in deliveries, minimum force should be applied and care taken not to injure the vagina or uterus.
· Take 50 g of fresh Acacia arabica bark and 50 g of dried sesame seeds. Powder separately and mix together with 50 g of brown sugar. Make a bolus and put into the mouth of an adult animal twice a day for 2-3 days or until the bleeding stops. Give half of the dosage to small animals. (India. 1, 2, 3)
Prolapse of the uterus
Sometimes the entire uterus comes out of the vulva after birth. It will look like a red, inflated inner tube of a car tire. If this happens, seek professional help. While waiting, do the following. Stockraisers in most Asian countries know of this technique.
1 If the animal is lying down, gently clean and wrap the uterus with a large, clean cloth. Be sure not to injure the uterus.
2. If the animal is standing, wrap the uterus with a large cloth. Raise the uterus up with another large cloth. Tie the cloth to the roof of the shed so the uterus is parallel to the ground. Firmly tie the animal to a post in such a way that it cannot move about.
To replace the uterus inside the abdomen, do the following:
1. Tie up the animal on a sloped surface as shown in the
picture. This sloping position will help the uterus stay in place.
2. Mix 2 tablespoons of alum powder or sugar in 2 liters of water. Apply this to the surface of the uterus. This will make it shrink slightly.
3. Push the uterus back in with your clean hands.
Tie up the animal on a sloped
4. When the uterus is replaced in the abdomen, press a rope in between the hind legs and over the tail and tie it up as shown in the picture. This will keep the vulval lips tight and supported for a few days. This will prevent the prolapse from occurring again.