Derbyshire fire fighters rescue dehydrated calf from muddy bog

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A young calf was stuck up to her chin in mud when fire fighters found her and had likely been there all night.

The patch of mud was around 30 metres across and the calf had sunk into the bog.

A member of the public spotted her struggling and unable to escape and contacted the RSPCA on Monday, October 9.

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Inspector Annette Della-Porta raced to the field in Chatterley Parkway. Firefighters from Nottinghamshire and a large animal rescue crew from Derbyshire were also contacted and were able to use specialist equipment to haul the young cow to safety.

The calf had been stuck up to her chin when the fire fighters found her and had likely been there all night.The calf had been stuck up to her chin when the fire fighters found her and had likely been there all night.
The calf had been stuck up to her chin when the fire fighters found her and had likely been there all night.

Annette said: “I arrived on the scene first and assessed the situation. The calf was horribly stuck up to her chin in the middle of a deep bog. I could see she was dehydrated by her sunken eyes and prominent hips and spine bones. Her head was covered in flies and the rest of the herd were far away at the other end of the large field, all leading me to believe she had been there at least overnight and possibly longer.

“Thankfully, the large animal rescue unit arrived from the fire service, and we agreed the best way to remove her was to try and get a couple of large straps down into the mud and around her middle to gently haul her to safety.”

“Two large inflatable mats were also placed either side of the calf to give the firemen access. A head collar was placed on her and two more straps either side which sounds simple enough but it was incredibly hard work and required digging down through the mud which took about half an hour. This caused the calf some distress initially but I sat to the side calming her and then taught one of the crew how to calmly rub her head and neck and soon the poor calf settled.”

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During this time, the inspector also made calls to try and track down the owner and managed to find the farmer who came to meet them. Both crews then gently hauled the calf out of the mud and to the side of the bog. The poor cow was exhausted and slid onto firm ground.

Annette added: “She took a few minutes to stagger to her feet and was very wobbly, collapsing a couple of times before I gave her a quick check over and removed the headcollar. The calf was so thirsty - I fetched a bucket of water from my van and she drank all of it! She then thankfully started eating - which was a

“She had been completely stuck and I genuinely don't think she would have survived another day given how unseasonably warm it was for October. I’d like to thank the crew who were amazing, and so quick, calm, professional and caring. It's another reminder what we can achieve together for animal welfare.”

The RSPCA also offered advice to the farmer in the hope the ‘inquisitive’ calf would avoid such a tricky situation again.

Anyone who sees an animal in distress and in need of rescue is asked to contact the RSPCA’s helpline on 0300 1234 999.