Tough Day On The Farm

Today was all planned. I had plans to feed animals check water and then load six steers headed to be harvested in Paris. A rather simple day. All went as planned, chores done and cattle loaded and driving out of the farm. Then we saw a down cow that looked dead.

Stopping, we discovered she had a dead calf hanging out of her rear end, was alive and had suffered lots of blood loss. Buzzards had attacked her and the calf. We went back to the house and got into muck boots and checked out a disgusting scene. The cow, which I had checked a few hours before, had laid down to have the calf and her hind quarter was in a dirt depression. This caused difficulty with the birth, but she expelled the calf. Apparently buzzards attacked her at the same time and that stressed her out. She expelled her uterus and prolapsed. So, there she was alive, lying on her side unable to move, a dead calf 95% out of her with its eyes pecked out by birds and a hole the size of my fist eaten into her uterus.

On top of this it was cold and very windy. We waited 30 minutes for the vet to arrive. Working as a team we all had tasks assigned to us. The cow got a pain killer. Doc and I pulled away the calf. We haltered the cow and tied it to the truck grill guard and also put ropes on her back legs. Pulling the truck away we forced the cow up some and then pulled her tail and legs until she was lying on her belly.

There was no use in pushing this uterus back as it would rot and kill the cow. If the buzzards had not eaten it she would have been fine. The only choice was to cut it off. We are talking about something much larger than a basketball. Strips of rubber and cotton string were used to tie off the blood supply and the cutting began. Eva and I got the dead calf into a cart and she got a bucket and we cleaned up the after birth and picked up the uterus. The cow got a shot of antiobitics and more pain killer.

After all this trauma she would not move, so we man handled her trying to get her up. No chance. It was now clear her left leg was numb and parlyzed. We could not stay and the buzzards were still around. I disposed of the calf and other bloody parts and pieces, then got fresh water and hay for the cow, and a tarp to cover (hide) her from the buzzards. We left the farm at 2:00 pm. to deliver the steers.

On our return, about 6:00 pm, it was dark but we could see the cow. She was being guarded by our donky Simone and another cow. As we stopped she suddenly reared up and staggered some finally walking away. I can only assume by morning she will be in better shape.

Her days of calving are over on the farm.

Not the day we planned and certainly no the outcome we expected. We lost a lovely heifer embryo calf and the usefulness of one of our good cows.

The circle of life continues...