It has been an interesting last few days… to say the least. Life is never boring on a farm, that’s for sure. While we’re supposed to be self quarantining, you can’t quite do that exactly when you live on a farm. Anyway, you can’t stay indoors because there are animals that rely on you.
My parents live the next place over and then my grandma is the place after that. So I have a couple hundred acres to keep me occupied in this self-containment time.
It seems like these days there is a bad rap on people who are farmers. They are horrid people who don’t take care of squat. Well, I have pictures and stories to prove that’s just not so. Today is a prime example.
My uncle lives with my grandma. Moved in after he and his ex-wife went through their divorce.
He had a cow that was having trouble calving this morning. He called my dad for some assistance. Dad said he bet my uncle hadn’t pulled a calf since my grandpa ran a dairy herd and that ended long before I was even thought of. They realized that this cow was having big difficulties. So, dad called my house for some extra assistance. It took a come-along to help pull this calf out of this momma cow. This was a big calf. When a calf is born, they tend to come out weighing 60+ lbs. They aren’t little.
We got a live calf out. Whew! Problem number 1 solved. That is always stressful for mommas and babies when they need assistance. Just think of delivering your own kiddo. Dad decided to run and get some colostrum replacer to at least give the calf a little boost. Get a little warm something in her belly. This all happened before noon.
When we went back to check on baby and momma, the baby hadn’t moved from the delivery spot and momma was nowhere to be seen. Dang, it. Baby animals (livestock anyway) tend to get up and move within the first 30 minutes. We decided to mix up some more colostrum and give her another boost. Again, we couldn’t find momma. One way to tell if an animal is doing well is to stick your finger in their mouth. If it is warm, they’re well. If it isn’t, get them somewhere and get them help, NOW. So we loaded her up in the truck and headed for the house.
We had to make a second trip to the feed store to get a bottle and more colostrum replacer as well as some milk replacer. By this time it was about 5 pm.
Another way to warm an animal up who is chilled is a) “throw” them in the floorboard of the farm truck with the floorboard heater cranking or b) submerse them in a warm water bath. Sadly, we don’t have a bathtub in our house. When we redid our bathroom, we opted for just a shower. So I crawled in the shower with the calf and held the wand with very warm water on the calf while hubby tried to help get some milk in her belly.
After 45 minutes to an hour in the shower, I ran to my parent’s house and got my old sheep blowdryer (which also works for any livestock) and went to drying her off while hubby cranked the heater up in the house and we put her in front of the pellet stove. Gosh was it hot!
We spent all evening trying to warm her up and pump her full of colostrum so she would stand. We finally got her talking. Who knew YouTube videos would work on a baby calf. haha!
In the end, after all of this, and the little one already attached, we lost the baby calf. CRAP! Around 10 pm when hubby was taking her outside so we could take her to my parent’s barn, she crapped all over my house and was throwing up the colostrum and before he made it outside with her to the truck, she was gone. I guess God decided he needed the baby calf more than we did.
Then I got to clean diarrhea up off my floors all while trying to comfort a 5-year-old who just wanted the baby calf.
So that’s my day 6. I feel like I was on an episode of The Ranch. How was yours?