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Monday, April 6, 2009

Grim thoughts.

I had big plans for Sunday. I wanted to make it Wildairo's day and also get all my bare root plants in the ground. But it wasn't to be. When I went over to the corrals I saw Brad bringing in a cow and her new calf and knew something was up. He was bringing the pair to a new born calf he and Bobby found.


The only cow to have calved recently was the one he was bringing in so he figured that she must have had twins. The calf left behind couldn't walk. The cow acknowledged that the calf was her's and the poor little calf called for her when she walked off. This is the mother with the other twin waiting to be fed.


The calf tried to get up so Brad lifted her up but her hooves were tucked under...not good. We brought her home to get something in her belly. We gave her all kinds of thing's like Mn, Se, Vitamin E. I tried to give her a bottle but her tongue was big and poking out the side. She tried to suck but her mouth wouldn't work right. She seems to have an under bite. No cleft palate though. We stomach tubed her. That's when you put a tube down her throat to get the milk right into her belly.

She was very alert as she watched Tommy Two Tone walking around. She would stretch her legs and wiggle her toes. Her plumbing works fine. She just can't walk and eat which are important qualifications to being a cow!


All her meals are now via the stomach tube. Last night she wanted to sleep but wouldn't put her head down so I curled myself around her (the rug was still clean at that point) she gave a cute little baby moo and put her head on top of mine and fell asleep. She has always had someone next to her and really appreciated the cuddling. When I left her she was laying in the moonlight fast asleep.

This morning she was going down hill.


Brad stomach tubed her again before he left for work but it's pointless because she has some serious issues going. I tried to get her to suck but her mouth doesn't work right. When we found her she was very strong and alert but couldn't walk so it's not just a weakness problem. Last night we picked her up several times to see if she could stand. Her legs were straighter and when we got all her legs sorted out and balanced she was able to stand on her own but she wasn't really able to stand for long, she started to pitch forward.

So that sweet little calf is going to live out the rest of her short life on the rug and it's so sad but I think she knows she's loved.

It makes me think of the euthanasia issue.

I haven't had much experience with horses dieing. One of my horses was murdered at a training facility just outside of Spokane about 30 years ago. He was in terrible pain and having convulsions, but died before a vet could be found. (The trainer had bashed his head in because he reared. He was a three year old cute buckskin AQH called Skeeter. I'd only owned him three weeks). In cases where an animal is in pain I want to end it quick for them. We've had three cows put to sleep because they were in pain.

When my cows get old they are not taken to the sale, instead they just keep on keeping on, getting really thin, most of the time, before they throw in the towel. I would like to live out my days doing the same thing and being in the same place. I think most people would. In the past two years we had a lot of our older cows die and it was very sad it see them go. Buttercup, Primrose, Daisy, Rose, Cowslip and more, reached the end of the trail within a few years of each other. Primrose died just as she turned 20, guarding her place at the feeder. Primrose died soon as she went down for the first time but the rest got slower, stiffer and thinner. When they finally couldn't get up any more, we took them buckets of water and slaps of hay. If they would eat grain they got grain. They spend their last few days down but surrounded by their friends and hearing familiar sounds. Much better than the slaughter house alternative.

I can't help wonder about old horses. As Foxsun gets older I wonder what is in store for us. I expect he'll get thinner and stiffer like the cows do but do horses panic and suffer when they can't get up anymore? I don't know because I've never been around a horse at that stage of his life. I'd never let him suffer and I know him well enough to know when he's unhappy. I've freaked out when I've seen a cow suffer. We got the vet out on weekend to put to sleep a cow who was in horrible pain. But I don't think just being thin, old and arthritic is necessarily 'suffering.' I've been in extreme pain and unable to walk but I still enjoyed my life.

The calf dieing in the next room makes me think of these grim thing's. I'm tempted to take her to the vets but I've taken calves with deformities to the vets before and I know she's doomed. But maybe if.......


Lea and her Mustangs said...

I am sorry about the baby calf. One of our cows had twins last year. The second one had her legs all twisted around but one we got them all untangled and helped her up she did OK. We gave them each a quart of goat colostrum and that perked them up. Their mother took good care of them but was pretty shocky at first. She is due to calve again in a couple of weeks. I hope that is not a pattern for her. We didn't have to tube them, they sucked the bottle. They are a year old now and we still have them. Pretty little black girls - Molly and Polly.

arlene said...

The poor little calf just died.

She was a big one too about 85 to 90lbs. Something was wrong with her lower jaw it stuck out too far and she kept opening her mouth like she was yawning. I guess she just wasn't meant to live.

When our blind cow had twins they were very weak and couldn't stand, but they were 'normal'. Brad had to milk the blind cow for the colostrum and boy was that a circus. But he did it. Goat colostrum is a good idea!

Cheryl Ann said...

Arlene, what you wrote is SO TRUE! My grandparents stayed in their own home until they got tangled up in the tomato vines and broke their hips! Grandma lived to be 100 and Grandad was 97, so they were happy in their surroundings. You did the right thing: you comforted her and did the best you could. And, gosh! Your horse was bashed on the head by the TRAINER? What kind of trainer does that???