My Tunes

Saturday, May 15, 2010


The grim reaper made another visit to our farm yesterday.

I was driving for Brad as he laid out irrigation wheel lines down the draw. As we rounded the corner we were met with the horrendous sight of one of our cows dead in the fence. As we drove closer I was just hoping it wasn't dear Dandylyons. It wasn't.

I was pretty upset and I wanted to know what happened to her. Her head was through the fence and her neck laying on the bottom three strands of a four strand barb wire fence. At first glance it looked like she got her horn caught in the fence but we decided she didn't. There was plenty to eat in the pasture and just dirt the other side of the fence so she wasn't doing any illegal snacking. If her horn was caught she could have torn the fence out easy and also there was no sign of any kind of struggle. The fact everything was pristine and no sign of struggle ruled out that she got cast or bloated.

Brad didn't think it was grass tetany because there was no evidence of thrashing and also the pasture is not by any means's just the native grass that grows around sagebrush.

We concluded it was sudden death.

Brad remembered she was the cow who was ill last Fall when we got them in off pasture to sell the calves. If I remember right, she was panting or out of breath and couldn't keep up with the herd. Brad treated her and she seemed to get better. She must have had a bad ticker and keeled over with a heart attack. My guess is she staggered about till she hit a fence. We suspect Wildairo sorting them out the other evening probably didn't help her any.

Poor thing. She never had a calf this year so we not stuck raising an orphan. Anyway her eyes were closed and she had a peaceful look on her face.

It was the second time the grim reaper had been to the farm this year. One evening as Brad and I were having a walk about we noticed a calf sleeping when all the other cattle were up and about, so we went and had a gander. The calf got up and walked off but didn't have much of a spring in his step, so Brad went home to get him a shot of something. While he was gone the calf went down again and the cows were very concerned and sniffing him. I went to check him and his head was floppy. I called Brad and told him the little fellow was checking out and to bring the crash cart...code Blue and all that. Poor Brad had to carry that calf to the corrals and he was big, at least a few week old. His mum was bursting with milk so he put her in the chute and milked her out. We gave the little fellow some of the milk in a stomach tube and some shots of selenium and whatever Brad handy.

Generally when a calf is flat out like that he's a goner but Brad wanted to take him him home and do what ever we could. Also it was dark by now and I really wanted to know what was wrong with him because I was worried that it might be something the other calves could come down with. Brad used a wheelbarrow to get him to the Jeep and we got him in the house.

While getting him comfy and warm I noticed something drip from what looked like his dried up belly button. Closer inspection revealed a navel infection that had gone into his blood stream causing toxic shock. Brad gave him a broad spectrum anti-biotic but it was too late to save him. I had never seen a navel infection before. I read the infection can settle in the joints making them painful and swollen. This little fellows infection went septic and we happened along just as he collapsed. I was really relieved to discover what his aliment was because I was scared witless it was something that was going to happen to more calves because not long before they'd all been galloping around in their own little calf posse as healthy as could be....or so it seemed.

No comments: