Specialist Firefighters from the HFRS animal rescue unit based at Eastleigh rescued a calving mother and her baby from a slurry pit disaster in Crawley yesterday (07 August).
In a miracle rescue the heifer and calf were 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 three year old Swedish Red cross Holstein heifer fell into a large slurry pit measuring 50m x 30m wide and 2m deep.
The heifer had started calving and was in the process of being moved to a calving pen when in panic she jumped a fence and fell into the slurry pit.
Farmers did a good job getting the cow towards the bank of the pit but when firefighters arrived she was almost fully submerged up to her neck, desperately trying to stay afloat.
Crews immediately jumped into action using specialist animal rescue equipment and with support from an Endell Veterinary Practise Vet, the cow was safely sedated and rescued from the slurry pit.
Getting the heifer to dry land however was only the beginning of the rescue, the feet of the calf were now visible and time was of the essence to deliver it as quickly and as safely as possible.
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 set to work to get it to breathe and after some effort and what seemed like forever, it finally took its first breath.
After one of the most challenging deliveries involving a slurry pit, mother and baby are fit and well and were standing up and feeding after only 20 minutes after the birth.
Anton continued: “The quick recovery of both animals is testament to their care, the mother is fit and healthy and well looked after.”