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First Steps

This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. It shouldn’t be. But for this calf, it is huge! This calf should be dead.

He was really sick when the guys found him. They doctored him and left him to his mom. The next day they checked on him and he was now blind. They hadn’t noticed anything like that the day before. We took him a bottle of milk and again left him for his mom. I called the vet, never heard back. I had to go in for milk replacer anyway so I drove to a different vet. She said Vitamin A deficiency with out hardly having to think about it from my description. She sent me home with a syringe.

We went out and found the calf in the pasture. His mom was there and she was not happy to have us touching the calf. We managed to hold her off long enough to give him the shot, slowly, in the muscle. That was a long shot. Then we decided to bring them both into the corral so he would be more protected from coyotes and she wouldn’t be able to leave him as far.

I snuck him a bottle of milk the next morning while she ate breakfast, making a mad dash for the fence when she noticed me there and came running. Then he spent the rest of the day laid out flat like he was dead.

I got the father in law that evening to come hold the cow off, or at least be there to call an ambulance if his mom should eat me, so I could give him an evening bottle. He said I could bring the calf up to the barn. I rode out in the bucket of the payloader with both kids in the cab with him. He lowered me down to ground level with her pawing and bellering not too far off.

I grabbed a leg and hauled as hard as I could. He was a BIG calf. The bucket started to g up with his head still hanging out. I gave a last tug and got him the rest of the way in. I hunched next to him for the ride back. He peed and pooped trying to fill the bucket and cover us both. I scooted as far away as I could while still keeping a hand on him. Not like he had moved all day but better safe than sorry.

At the barn I hauled him in the door and left him there, just inside. He was heavy! There was some straw there for bedding. He happily downed his bottle of milk. I spent the next few days rolling him from side to side, hauling in more and more bedding. He had a very healthy appetite even if nothing else about him was. He made huge messes. He stank and was usually covered in calf poop everywhere I had to grab hold of to turn him. Calf poop has a special kind of stink.

A couple of days ago I decided he was going to have to do something besides lay there and I hauled his huge hinney to his feet. He wobbled and swayed, shook all over and fell down. The next time I was out we did it again. The next feeding I propped him against the wall over my knee and he ate standing up! I moved him out the door to soak up some sunshine. Then it was back in again that night.

Then, this morning, he walked!! Just a little bit but so much better than me clinging to him to keep him upright. When I checked on him mid day he was not where I had left him. Tonight when I went to feed he didn’t want to eat. I pulled him to his feet and he took off! Well, for him this is taking off. He was so excited to be moving. He walked all around the pen checking out what there was to see.

See may not be the right word. Still not sure that he can. His eyes are no longer milky white but he holds his head like he can’t see. Only time will tell if he will really get better. He’s a bottle calf now, a sickly one at that, he hangs in precarious balance. He’s come so far though with such cheer and try. I will do everything in my power to make sure he sticks around!

 

Category: Cows  One Comment

Good Intentions

I keep meaning to go back and fill in all the gaps I’ve left over the last month or so. Somehow it never seems to happen. Maybe because it still hasn’t slowed down much.

There’s the usual calving, school, kids stuff. On top of that I am currently feeding four bottle calves! They are a lot of work and make me glad not to have any more children. I took over one calf who’s mom abandoned her at birth, then she couldn’t figure out how to nurse. I bought two others too. Now there’s a calf who went blind shortly after birth. My cow loving đŸ˜‰ husband found him and doctored him then the next day found him again and he was blind. They hadn’t noticed anything the day before.

The next day he was down and couldn’t get up. I went to the vet and she said it sounded like he had a Vitamin A deficiency. She sent a shot home with me and said it should help and he might even get his sight back. We went to give him the shot and his mom tried to eat us. He ended up coming to live in the barn. He still can’t see or stand up but his head is up looking around and he loves to eat. We’ll see if he ever stands up but as long as he is happy I guess we’ll keep going as we are.

I’ve also been writing course material and training horses for our next horse training endeavor. The same group of friends, Jain and Ineke, and I are doing another one. The first one was so fun and went so well that we want to do many more! This one is an update of an ongoing class. The Horse Tricks Academy, where I started out learning how to train tricks is receiving an overhaul. Jain did all the original work. Ineke and I are adding new tricks and keeping the facebook group going. Looking forward to this getting started in the beginning of May!

Then maybe things will slow down a little? Or not! So many more things planned, plus the garden. farming, working cattle kids home for the summer. Aghhh!

You can click on the link below the video to see the registration page

Horse Tricks Academy

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Electrical Issues

Snow has been forecast for this weekend ever since, last weekend. As the week went on the amounts crept upwards. By Thursday they were predicting nine to fourteen inches.
So Monday two of the heated automatic waterers were froze over. The fuse was blown and the new one immediately joined its predecessor. My husband came home from work early and he and his father check wiring, multi-meters and other things I shy away from. The short was somewhere underground between the barn and the tanks. Everyone hung their heads and cried a little on the inside.
There were no shut off valves. Not below ground at least. No way to keep the water pipes from freezing in one old tank that was perfectly good and one they had just spent days getting installed. The heat had to be fixed before the storm coming in with the weekend.
The power company came out and located lines. They found the short, or maybe just where there was a splice, simply wrapped in electric tape and  buried underground. With a payloader, skid steer and shovels they dug it up. The bucket snagged the wire, pulling it loose but fortunately just scraped the waterline, not breaking it causing any further messes.Sure enough the wires were black and insulation melted. My computer guy/farmer/electrician husband tested the wires before patching and reburying. He tends to be cautious and a perfectionist.
There was another short. Somewhere else in between, underground. The the snow melted and it all drained into the hole. Now there were not only wires to fix but they were under a foot of water. Pumps are good to have. It was still muddy.
They called up Scott. It’s good to know people with trenchers. Abandoning the old line They trenched in two new wires to reach the waterers separately to avoid anymore under ground splices than absolutely necessary. With shiny new wire, wire that’s actually rated to be run underground, above ground junction boxes, a new trench dug, and wire ran, to the tank that has had an extension cord run to it for years. All that dug through knee deep mud. Knee deep on 8 that is.
It was all buried in and working good long before the cold and snow hit. With time left over for taking the duals off the tractor and putting the big snow blower on.
Category: 8, Cows, Farming  One Comment

Better Weather

The storm is over. The snow is mostly gone, melted by the next morning already. The calves are laid out in the shelter of the windbreak soaking up the warmth of the sun. Cows are happily filling their bellies with hay. Snow drifts are piled in twisting, curving formations. We are all resting and gathering strength, hoping the forecasts are wrong about the next one being on the way.

Did I mention that we have a hen setting? We don’t ave any idea when to expect chicks but are sure looking forward to it!

Category: Cows  One Comment

April Snows

It is snowing, hopefully it brings May flowers just as well as showers do. The wind howled all day yesterday and the day before. It rained all night, then changed to snow this morning. Fortunately the worst of it is East of us, unfortunate for them though.

Yesterday 8 and I ran out through the cows. They were already locked out of the pivot. Locked into the pasture to try to force them to stay behind a windbreak. Going across the pasture we saw a calf moving funny. Looking closer she was carrying a leg. It curled under her wobbling in a sickening manner whenever she stepped on it. It was broken. There was a blizzard predicted for the next day.

Deciding that through the wheat in the pivot would be an easier rout than through all the cows, down the lane, and round and round we headed her for the gate. The mama was a little high headed, the calf was managing to follow on three legs but it was hard for her. They finally went through the gate. The mama went the right way nicely from there, down to the corrals and the old horse barn. We went as slow as possible, following way behind so we didn’t rush them. She went right in the gate and we shut it behind her leaving them in the corral.

We had to wait for the father-in-law to get home to do anything with her. Once he did get back we went out to see what we could do. The mama stood back and watched while her calf was pushed to the old horse barn. The one that was falling down until they pushed it up with the payloader this winter, and tightened the cables holding it in a somewhat upright position. With the wind howling around us we crouched in the rickety old building out of reach of the mama and looked at the leg. It had broke just above the ankle. Swollen and floppy but not awful. Unless it moved then my stomach lurched and I had to look away.

We had found some old slats, a pair of The Goblin Child’s pants tossed in the rag drawer once they developed holes, and duct tape. Throwing the calf down and sitting on her we pulled the pant legs over her leg. Breaking the slat down to the right length we taped them to three sides of the leg. Once everything seemed secured we sent her back out to mom.

Overnight the rain set in, then blowing snow by morning. The horses were happy to be locked in the barn, warm and dry with lots of hay. The cows were fed up against the shelter of the windbreak. Calves bucking and playing in the snow. Coming back to check on the two calves in the pen I found the new born calf laid in an exposed corner with a snow drift building over him. The calf with the broken leg was shivering.
I got the snow covered calf up. he woke with a beller that brought his mom running. She didn’t eat me and I was able to push them back towards the barn from yesterday where both calves could find dry shelter, if only they would.
Hopefully the storm will end tonight and give the cattle some rest. Give the calves a chance to dry off and warm up. Give us a chance to start doctoring the ones that get sick from this. It is spring, the weather will warm up soon. Hopefully soon enough.

 

Category: 8, Cows  2 Comments

Of Cows And Such

Poppy had her calf very early this year. Not early for calving. Just early for her. About a month earlier than usual. She has had an April calf ever since she started having them. This time she barely missed my birthday. I lively, lovely bull calf with white on his forehead. They were both doing great.

A couple of days later she was down. She was not getting up and was not even interested in trying to do so. We stood and looked at her pondering what to do. I tried our vet, she’s nearly impossible to get on weekends. I texted a friend to see if she had ever seen this. Her best guess was that Poppy’s back was out from calving paralyzing her. A common problem when a cow has a large calf, but they usually go down during calving and this was the smallest calf Poppy had ever had.

I finally got a hold of a different vet. He didn’t pause, didn’t think about it, he declared it to be milk fever. I doubted him. I’ve heard of an know about grass tetany, a phosphorous imbalance when a newly milking cow goes out on green grass. No, that isn’t what this is I said. Not that, he was starting to get impatient, why call and ask if you aren’t going to believe. Seriously people. This is different, she needs some medicine into her belly. The words were going fast. They were foreign to me and flowed out from between my ears like water unable to grasp them. But he would put what I needed out down at the clinic.

Amidst words of doubt and dislike for this particular vet I left to get the meds. They put plenty of doubt and worry into my head. I would ask the vet when I got there. Get my questions answered. When I got there three large bottles of liquid medicine, a rubber tube, and needles where hung by the mailbox out front. In a Walmart bag. By themselves. No vet to be seen.

I called again on the way home and asked again for exact directions. Where in the abdomen? How do I find the right spot? Just off the back, between the ribs and hip bone. He was disdainful. Why did I need so much help for such a simple undertaking?

At home we left the kids parked on the couch refusing to move and went back out to Poppy, still in the same spot, still not even trying to move. We took our time getting ready. Pondering the where and how of it. Then, saying a brief prayer as I knelt over her, I stuck the needle in. My patient husband handed me the tube. With a little fumbling we connected the two and started the medicine pouring, slowly, into her.

It seemed to take forever as we took turns standing with our arms in the air letting it pour down into her. Once it was finally empty we left her and went back to make sure our children were alive. They were.

I went back out to check on her a little later. No change. Again after supper. Still no change. I went ahead and gave her the last bottle, sure and confident now in the needle placement. Her calf was there now wanting his supper. I grabbed her flank and pulled as hard as I could, trying to give him better access. Together we were able to get something for him to get a hold of and he got a light supper. I went home, nothing else I could do for the night.

The next morning, afraid of what they would find, I waited anxiously for word of her. Soon enough it came. She was up! She was up and her calf was right there with her! Everything was alright.

A week later The Father-in-law stopped by. One of his cows was down. Did we have any of that medicine left? We didn’t, having poured a probably excess amount into Poppy. So the cycle was repeated. I ran to the vet. No vet involved but a receptionist that was quickly charmed by The Goblin Child. We got a good stock of the large bottles. Back home we went along to see the cow laying, trying much harder than Poppy to get up. She would get her legs under her and stagger forward then collapse again.

I stuck the needle in. My cow hating husband, patiently handed me the rubber hose and we put two bottles into her. By evening she was up and going. I see her in the pasture once in awhile and nod to her. Thinking that she doesn’t share the feeling of kinship I do, but still, hello. Glad to see you still up and going.

 

 

Category: Cows  2 Comments

Playing With Cattle

We’ve been going out and walking through the calves that are still here. A small pen with the runts and our small group of heifers. The goal is to get the heifers used to being handled by and around people, quiet well trained cattle are always better than wild and crazy cattle. I am happy to see my theories on this holding out in the calves of our calves being right up there in the front to check us out when we go to see them.

The kids have been enjoying the process. One of them is a big help and is loving playing with them. The other not so much. He may also be the reason that quieting the chicks back fired and now they are instead twice as terrified. I was really enjoying watching The Goblin Child lure the calves in as close as possible, and very close was quite possible. The two calves with the green ear tags, 313 and 317, are our two heifers.

 

 

Category: 8, Cows, Goblin Child  3 Comments

Proud Parent Moments

It ranks right up there with taking their first steps. I am so excited that I was able to get it on video! The Goblin Child opened her first gate horseback! She had been watching us, Coyote and  I, do it and we had talked about how she would be able to someday. We had ridden through this gate yesterday and I told he it was an easy one to unlatch, in one way really hard because it’s in a corner though.

We got to go sort the bulls out of the cows today. She got to come along on Princess Onna. Off the lead rope even! She’s been doing so good I thought we could try it. Princess Onna always got overly excited when she and Tanna moved cows together so I was hesitant to let he try it on her own. But she’s been good about it with The Goblin Child so they got to go loose today.

After doing a wonderful job of helping, while poor 8 watched from the four wheeler, she wanted to go for a ride. We went up the lane to go out in the pasture. She walked ahead of us to the gate declaring her intent. I was thrilled to let her try and hurried to get my camera ready. It took a few tries to get lined up and bent into that corner but she stuck with it and together they managed to get it! What very good girls, the both of them.

 

I Don’t Know Where To Start

There are so many things I’ve wanted to talk about lately and I haven’t found time for any of it. I need to look back through all the pictures I’ve taken to remind myself what we’ve done. I finally got the garden written about. I haven’t mentioned any of the chicken adventures, or the corn planting, or what ever else there has been.

Some how I missed corn planting. But it’s planted and getting rained on. Hopefully it will be warm enough for it to come up. The home made GPS worked beautifully, even if the John Deer planter didn’t hardly work at all. Yay for John Deer. We will stick to Case.

Planting Potatoes

It is supposed to be done on Easter weekend. I don’t know who decided that or why but it’s the rule. We didn’t quite make it. But on Tuesday, once the weather finally got nice, we planted potatoes. And by we I in no way mean me. Mostly it was The Goblin Child and her patient father. I spent most of the time trying to keep 8 from walking on the freshly planted rows.

The Goblin Child is getting old enough that she was really good help. She was gentle with the seed potatoes and was able to do exactly what needed done. 8 tromped around like the big boy that he is galloping happily across rows of planted potatoes and tossing the seedlings into holes.

Poppy finally had her calf! On the late side as usual, a nice healthy, so far, hold our breath and cross our fingers that he stays that way. Now we are only waiting on our heifer to calve. Blue is open, again, it will be good bye to Blue as soon as I can get her to a sale barn. The Goblin Child is mad about it but this is two years in a row, she has to go. The other cows had theirs and everything is good.