About Me

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I'm a mother of four grandmother of seven and great grandmother of one. I have many hobbies and interests but gardening and rug hooking are my main interest at the moment. I live with my husband in the house that we built with the help of my brothers and have been married for 49 years.

Friday, May 10, 2013

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL LIVES IN OUR BARN

I've been getting behind in my blogging so I thought that I may as well give you a cow adventure before I completely forget. I can't remember the exact date but I have it in my records at the farm. Sometime around the end of April.

One sign that a cow is ready to give birth is that she will usually stop eating a day before. She may eat very little hay and get restless and may have mucus discharge, tail up. I had noticed this in a heifer who was overdue. She had been put in the calving pen before  her due date but didn't calved so the pen was used for another cow for some reason or another.

Her udder was swelled up and I noticed that she barely ate so she was put in the calving pen again for observation. After work  I checked up on her and she was laying her butts against the gate so I got her up and I noticed  that she had a big balloon of embryonic fluid  and it busted when she got up and then I saw two hooves sticking out. I stayed around and it wasn't progressing. I came home to supper and told my husband to go check up on her as her water had broken earlier. He called back that he needed my help to pull the calf out as the delivery had not progressed at all.

Routine stuff, disinfect the  small chain with iodine in warm water to attach around the calf feet, get the ratchet winch ready with chain and a pail of disinfectant in water. Turn on the halogen lamp on for better light.The heifer is lured into putting her head in the headlock gate with grain, as soon as her head is far enough, a lever is pulled and voila, she is your prisoner.  So far so good, just routine for this kind of delivery.

My husband gets me to hold the tail while he attached the chain carefully around the calf feet and tried to get the heifer to move closer to the back gate so the winch can be attached to the pull chain. Notting doing, she bucks and won't budge. It's not easy moving a 1300 pound animal .We try to pull her back to reach the  extra inch of chain needed but she pulls her head out of the lock while I'm holding the chain attached to the feet.

The pen gate was wide open and she bolted out of the pen with me holding on and she took off for the alley way. I'm in the back in hot pursuit and had to let go of the chain to save my wrists and fingers, ha,ha,ha. My husband still is trying to get the spare piece of chain from the gate. I'm bringing the cow back to the pen but she saw that the other gate was opened as well and she took off for the area where no cow should go in the small calf area. She made it into the double calf pen that was opened where the cat was bedding her kittens, missing stepping on a kitten by an inch. I quickly grabbed the kitten and threw it in an empty calf pail.


This was from a previous photo of the two cats babysitting the kittens while the mother was taking a break from nursing.


Now my husband was trying to get her to back up in a very tight space not made for a cow. I worried about the mother cat and the 5 kittens.  We got her back to the calving pen, again I enticed her with grain and locked her head in a the other head gate this time. Sometimes a cow has a bigger head and the make adjustment to the width of the head gate lock.

Time is of essence if we want to save the calf and the heifer is not helpful in the least.

The calf was a hard pull out , I got my husband to stop pulling while the calf is hanging half way out so I can clear the mucus from the nostrils and mouth so he can breath. It's much easier to clear the mucus out with the calf upside down as opposed to lifting the calf with his head down. I use paper towels to wipe as much mucus off as I can.

I'm frantically trying to get him to breath and it always feel so good when he takes that first breath and bawls.  The disinfectant is poured on the cow's bottom and the calf umbilical cord is dipped in a stronger solution of iodine to help it dry up and keep it from getting infected.   There was no way the heifer could have delivered the calf on her own. It was a  dry birth.

I vaccinated the calf and gave him some warm colestrum milk from the cow that calved earlier.

After all the commotion was done with, I went to turn the light off and i counted only four kittens in the pen. I told my husband that a small baby kitten is missing. He said, "you  threw it in the calf pail" Sure enough, he was still there safe and sound in the pail. With all this ruckus, the mother cat never moved an inch.

We went home, showered and went to bed.
The end.

Thanks for coming by. I appreciate you comments so much.
Stay safe,
JB




20 comments:

  1. Always an adventure...and just like a heifer to make it more difficult! I'm glad they're ok! (kitties too!)

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  2. What a great story! I love your stories! You really need to write a book!
    I was totally absorbed again. I love happy ending, too. Hugs.

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  3. oh goodness! life on a dairy farm!!! pieces of this story came out of my youthful memories - either of calves, cats when i was little or later when i dated a dairy farmer and watched them try to winch a calf out of a huge heifer (not a happy ending for either one, sadly).

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  4. Oh my goodness! What an experience! Is the calf doing all right? Has the heifer accepted the calf for nursing?

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  5. Some people think all romantic about farming you tell it like it is hard and sometimes not so wonderful.
    I hope you have time to relax after all of that.
    Cathy

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  6. Wow what a night you two endured, glad to read that everyone and everything turned out okay. Is there ever a dull moment on the farm? I think not! Greetings from Maine, Julie.

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  7. you kill me... I had to scan because you know what a sissy wimp I am ...! but I read enough to know that ... good lord! what all you do on a dairy farm ... cleaning mucous and ... man?

    The picture of the kittens is soooooo precious. HAhaaaa you threw him in the milk pail... hahaa... little thing and little you!

    singing you a lullaby ... Pooh's lullabee ... ;)

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  8. Oh my Julia,
    You do have the excitement there on the farm! I am so impressed with how you handle those emergencies staying so calm etc.! I think you have nerves of steel! So glad the mother, baby and also the kitties are all safe and sound!
    Is your weather warming up there at all? We are finally having some Spring weather now! People around here are slowly coming out of hibernation! LOL!!
    Keep up the good work and take some time for yourself if you can... a little glass of wine perhaps in the evenings!
    Great post!!
    Hugs!!
    Cathy G

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  9. The excitement of living on a farm and working with animals is more than I could handle. I applaud your hard work and bravery. You could have been run down by the fleeing heifer!
    Julia, please be careful!!!
    I hope you had a few days of routine after that stressful incident.

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  10. I love and miss you.I always read your posts,they are so exciting.I am scared of a chicken,so I don't think i could be of much help to you on the farm.My boyfriend can't wait to go on your farm.He would love to go help doing the hay.He loves big machines.He talks about it often.Some day we will go for a visit, The Lord willing. Right now we are in renovations.All extra money is tied up into that.
    Happy mothers day to you,my dear sister Julia.

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  11. I so remember births like that. Dumb heifers. You're just trying to help. Sheesh.

    Glad the felines are safe and sound too.

    Yup. Just another day.

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  12. Better you than me.....what a day! Glad all ended well.

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  13. I thought doing a stat c-section was bad! Well, I think you're wonder woman and this is a great adventure for Mother's Day weekend! Have a good day!

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  14. Oh Julia, this made me smile to my toes:)
    I love the way of farmers...all the aliveness
    and messy love that happens in everyday work.
    Your animals are lucky to live on such a farm:)
    I love your sense of humor and glad that all turned
    out well!
    May you have a beautiful mother's day,
    Jennifer

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  15. That was quite a Mothers Day story. I've missed your stories. Have a wonderful Mother's Day. Ronda

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  16. Julia, so happy to see a post from you, I check every day for new ones. Your story sure brought back some memories to me. good job and good story teller!!
    Ann

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    1. Hi Ann, I have no profile available on you and so I do't know who you are. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment just the same. I've been rather busy lately so I haven't posted often.

      JB

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  17. Happy Mother's Day Julia. Blessings, Julie.

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  18. I came back today to read a few more of your fun farm adventure posts. I always wanted to live on a farm (still do), but the closest I got was when my dad would drop us off at the home of the farmer(s) whose land they let him hunt on. I was little then. So these posts bring me comfort!

    I also want to thank you for taking the time to write your generous comment on my blog! I loved learning more about you - that you were a singer/cantor, a breast cancer survivor ... what you shared, your kind words about my son and the loss of my mom touched my heart! Just wanted to say thank you, so much.

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  19. I enjoyed your story with much laughs and oh's.

    My niece has a farm she runs and she deliverd many a

    colts all hours of the night and I guess days. Stayed at night

    to a sick horse.

    Being farmers she says it as it is in description. She put up on face book baby robins being hatched. I was sort of skirmish. Being with animals I know it is not a squrmish to her or you. My sister was a breaded farm lady also.

    She had her arms up to her elbows in all situations like

    you.

    So I was sort of happy you never graphic it. I may have

    been on the floor.

    Yet when my daughers inside of her arm was cut going through a window when she was young playing hide inseek.
    Came running with most of inside of her hanging .

    I had no choice but to go and do what I had to do. She

    is alive today. I seen all three children born my

    choice. So not sure why I have been skrimsh now.



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