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The Way That Calves Get Born

We were checking cows and we came across a cow that had a water bag out. Then we went and looked around. Then we came back, we saw the outline of a calf head and front legs. They were in the water bag.

We went and played around a bit more. Then we came back and it still wasn’t out!

We went and played around a bit more. When we came back it was hanging out.

We drove over and looked up close. The calf was stuck. Then mama went and tried to pull it out. Then it came out.

The end.

Hung At The Hips

Science class today.
Proper calf presentation at birth. How lungs are cleared out when they hang like this. And most importantly…
Will he ever actually come out?

 

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Facts About Cows

There was a dead calf so we decided to cut it open so that is why we are doing facts about cows.  We took the dead calf to the pasture and then we started cutting it open, but the knife wasn’t really sharp enough.  But we got it cut open.  We saw and talked about the intestines, then mama tore them out.  Then we talked about the liver.  The liver filters the blood and makes it clean for the rest of the body.  We wanted to see the heart, but we couldn’t get to it because the skin was too difficult to cut with the knife we had.  Since we couldn’t see the heart we cut the neck and found the esophagus and saw the rings of muscle in it.

We cut open the stomach. Last night mama and Lala fed the calf some colostrum. All the colostrum spilled out.

I felt disgusted, and like I would throw up. Mama was fascinated.

It was cold but mama said it was beautiful out. 8 thought it was all too gross and rode home with Lala

I want to learn more about the insides of calves and cows.

By The Goblin Child

 

My Side Of The Story

We were looking through the calves. My daughter was on the fourwheeler behind me. My father in law was putting out bales of hay for the calves.

As we drove across the pen I said look a chipmunk! It was hopping across the pen, big and grey with it’s long scaly tail stuck straight in the air.

That wasn’t a chipmunk! It was a rat!

Daisy was on the fourwheeler behind us. She’s a good rat dog. I started calling to her, trying  to get her to notice the rodent.

It was getting away though. I floored the fourwheeler and we aimed at the rat. It disapeared beneath us.

Slamming on the breaks I turned to look behind.  It was still running. Leaping off the fourwheeler I ran for it still calling Daisy.  She wasn’t caught up yet, I was there, I did it. My dad always told a story about him stomping a rat that ran under him while he stood talking along Lower Wacker in  downtown  Chicago. I had to  do it, the rat was under my feet already. I forced myself to stomp. The rat squirmed, wrapping  up around my boot. I could feel it. Screaming in  fear and horror at what I was doing I kept stomping, to keep it from  crawling up my leg as much as anything.

Daisy finally got there. I stepped back  and let her finish up.

The Goblin Child was cackling historically on the fourwheeler then hopped off to come see it for herself. Upon inspecting the now very dead rat she shrugged and we walked back  to the fourwheeler and home.

Daisy was  left with her prize. She carried it off the other direction.

Spring Snow

Pausing on the wind swept crest of the hill I turned and peered back the way I had come. From this high vantage point it was possible to see the whole pasture without having to drive it. Today I was happy to be on my gas powered mount instead of a horse. We could go as fast as possible, as fast as I could stand.

The snow was light but wind driven. What a day to skip my cap. Without the protective brim each snowflake stung as it burrowed into my eyes. I drove with head down, stocking cap pulled low, trying to protect my eyes.

It made it hard to look around, the sole purpose of this trip. So I sneak quick glances up around.

The cows aren’t officially calving yet. Not due for a few more days. There always has to be a few early ones though.With the cold weather coming in I want to be sure we don’t miss an early arrival.

No cows are off alone in a far corner. Nothing to worry about yet. I hurry home, with the wind now. The snow hitting my eyes still burns but is easier to avoid. My hands ache with cold. The warm weather for the last few days has made me forget that winter is not over. I should have worn warmer gloves.

Back at the buildings I stop to visit the horses. It is still snowing but above the sky is turning blue. Blue above, grey and snowing below. A horse snorts in my ear, shedding hair sticks to everything. Spring is coming. Eventually.

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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!

 

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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 😉 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!

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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