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Miracle birth for cow trapped in slurry pit near Winchester
2:43pm Thursday 8th August 2013 in News
The heifer trapped in the slurry pit near Crawley. All photos from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
FIREFIGHTERS rescued a cow and her calf from death in a slurry pit near Winchester.
In a miracle rescue yesterday (WED) the heifer was saved from the pit with the calf being safely born minutes later.
Animal rescue specialist Anton Phillips said: “We all worked incredibly hard to save the animals but even with our efforts this was an extraordinary rescue.”
A Swedish Red cross Holstein heifer fell into a large slurry pit measuring 50mx30m wide and two metres deep at New Barn Farm, Crawley.
She had started calving and was being moved to a pen when she panicked and jumped a fence into the pit.
The farmers managed to get the three-year-old cow towards the bank but when firefighters arrived she was almost fully submerged up to her neck, desperately trying to stay afloat.
Crews immediately used specialist equipment and with support from vet Dr Peter Plate of Endell Veterinary Practise, the cow was safely sedated and rescued.
Getting the animal to dry land however was only the beginning of the rescue, as the feet of the calf were visible and time was running out to deliver it.
Calving while fully submerged in a slurry pit, the odds of the calf being delivered alive were slim.
As soon as the calf was delivered the farmer and vet worked frantically to get it to take its first breath.
Mother and baby are fit and well and were standing up and feeding after only 20 minutes after the birth.
Dr Plate, who has been at the practice for 14 months, said: “It was the most unusual calving I have ever performed. It actually came out fairly quickly in the end and was fairly straight forward. It was getting the cow sedated and safely out of the pit that was the hard part.
“It was a relief to see the calf was well and it was a pleasing outcome for everyone. They were both in perfect condition when I left them.”
Mr Phillips said: “The quick recovery of both animals is testament to their care, the mother is fit and healthy and well looked after.”
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