This little calf is lucky. She was born healthy, drank her colostrum and stood right away on her own.

Other calves aren’t so lucky. They are born after a traumatic birth or C-section and are weak, clumsy, and won’t drink. They are difficult to raise, and are more susceptible to disease-and yet they look like a normal healthy calf.

When a calf travels down the birth canal, it is thought that the squeeze causes the calf’s biochemical switch to flip on and transform the calf from the sleepy womb to natural engagement outside the womb. Now, a technique called the “Madigan Squeeze” may give newly born calves that are detached and not drinking, another opportunity to transition to a regular, healthy calf.


The technique is pretty simple:

1.¬† Wrap a soft rope in three, concentric loops around the calf’s chest

2. Gently pull the rope to create pressure around the calf’s ribs.

The calf will lie down and enter a sleeplike state.

3. Maintain this position for 20 minutes

This mimics the second stage of labor.

4. Remove the rope and assist the calf to stand.


It won’t help every calf, but it is a tool in the box to utilize if you have a calf born from a long delivery or C-section.

Just like giving a hug.