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Birth

This montage of nine photographs, ordered from left to right and from top to bottom, shows a cow calving in a garden in Laos. The first photograph shows the restless cow raising her tail and the amniotic sac bulging from the vulva. As she continues to strain, the calf's front feet become visible, and the nose and eventually the whole head emerges; the head is the largest part of the calf, and this part of labour can be protracted. In photographs 3 and 4, the calf's head and forelimbs are visible. The emergence of the body and hind limbs often happens rapidly, either with the cow lying down, as in photograph 6, or when she is standing, as in photograph 7, in which position gravity assists and the calf slithers to the ground. In a normal birth, the calf soon takes its first breaths and the cow starts to lick it.

Photograph cr: Basile Morin

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