Correct Position for calving
Position- refers to how the calf is positioned in relation to the cow. If the calf's back is up towards the cows back (spine) it is considered right-side up (dorsal). This is the only position that is considered normal. If the calf's back is down on the bottom of the pelvis it is upside down (ventral). The calf may also be on either of it's sides; right-side down or left-side down.
Dystocia positions for calving
Elbow Lock Posture
If one or both of the forelimbs are not extended as they come into the pelvic inlet, the partially flexed elbows may lock on the brim of the pelvis and cause elbow lock. This is an easily corrected problem requiring repulsion of the body of the calf while simultaneous traction is exerted on the affected limb.
Retention of one or both forelimbs
The calf may have the head out, but one or both forelegs retained. Secure the head by placing a chain behind the poll and through the mouth, then lubricate the head and push it back into the uterus. Then search for the limbs one at a time. If fully retained, the limb should be grasped just below the knee (carpus) and the limb be pulled until bent at the knee. Once this is accomplished you can generally slip a hand down the limb and grasp the hoof. It is necessary to cup the hoof such that you are providing protection for the uterus of the cow as you continue in the correction process.
To correct, now opposing forces need to be applied simultaneously. The knee should be repelled by one hand in a forward-upward-lateral direction and traction on the hoof in a medial-backward direction by the other hand. These directions are relative to the cow. It may be necessary to use a small rope or chain and place around the leg above the fetlock and between the digits of the hoof if getting both arms in the cow is a problem. If the other leg is retained, it is corrected in a similar fashion.
Upside down position of the calf
Occasionally, we encounter an abnormal positioning of the calf in either the frontwards or backwards presentation. In such a case, each forelimb should be secured with a chain and carefully pulled into the birth canal. The most common method is to cross the limbs of the calf, one on top of the other, and try to rotate the calf. The head should be rotated at the same time. Rotation is facilitated if the hand can be placed under the withers or under the shoulder joint of the calf, the object being to lift the chest upward and at the same time attempt to rotate the body. Insure that you use plenty of lubrication.
Correction of an upside down backwards calf is usually easier. If the calf is on its back with the hind limbs in the passage, cross the hind limbs. Apply the tests for delivery previously mentioned for a backwards calf and continue rotation of the calf if you find you are able to pull the hips of the calf through the pelvis of the cow easily.