Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Sad Day On The Farm

Yes, it is a sad day on the farm for our family today.  Just yesterday, one of our Freisian heifers went into labour with her first calf.  By mid afternoon the calf's feet were visible and we were all excited for the newest arrival!  But just a couple of hours later we became concerned, as the labour had not progressed as it should have.  By 7pm Brian and my Dad brought the cow up to the shed, so as to be able to assist her if necessary.  We have never had to assist any of our cows in labour before, they usually manage very well when left alone to birth.

After some time Brian tied some rope to the calf's feet and proceeded to help ease the calf out, as the cow strained.  They could not get the calf moved much, but at that stage they could see its it looked as though progress was being made; however slow.  Brian came home at midnight and told me there had been no further progression, so they had let the cow back into the field, to see if she could get it moving better on her own. After a couple of hours sleep, they were going to go back out at 3am to check the cow.

After the 3am check, there was still no further progression and Brian decided to call the vet in the morning.  Once the children and I were awake, we got ready and headed up to the shed to see how the vet was assisting with the delivery.  But upon approaching Brian shook his head and told me to take the children back home.  As we were already dressed and ready (Meg in the Ergo) the kids and I walked around to my mothers for a cup of tea.  Just 30 minutes later we heard the Vet we walked back home with my Mum.

Brian and my Dad were home waiting for some breakfast, after their tough morning.  The poor calf had already died sometime yesterday evening, the Vet had said.  It seems that the calf was unusually large and had gotten stuck.  The cow needed to lay still while the Vet removed the calf; he gave her some antibiotics and steroids to help her recover.  It looks probable that the cow will live, despite her birth trauma.  Our whole family is devastated; the loss of any farm animal is such a blow.  Dylan is upset, but he understands that sometimes these things will happen and that when we have life, we also have death. 


Nikki said...

Sorry to hear that about your calf. We too know what it is like to lose a calf. Such a sad day for all of you. I think it is much easier to understand what death and dying is when you are a child and have animals. It is part of life but still sad when you are living it.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I'm so sorry! Growing up on a ranch, I totally understand. I pray your cow recovers quickly.

Nicole said...

Aww :( So sorry. That is such a sad story! I hope your mama cow recovers quickly. How tramatic. I feel terrible watching my goat push out a baby for 10 minutes and watching her struggle. I can't imagine how tramatic that must have been :(
We will pray for Mama cow and for the family!

Sarah said...

To All "Concerned" People ~ It is obvious that you all have absolutely no idea about raising cattle. Intervention at too an early stage can cause huge problems and can even be fatal. I did state that some SLOW progress was being made. My husband is well experienced in attending a cow in labour; having being raised on a farm his whole life. I stated that we have never had to attend/assist one of our OWN cows since WE have farmed; thankfully they have never required any assistance up until this stage.

Our Vet informed us that this situation (the calf being abnormally large) was VERY unusual as we practice A.I in our breeding. We normally choose a bull that sires small calves. The Vet agreed there may have been a mix up when injecting the cow. But I guess the truth is not half as much "fun", as verbally attacking us in lieu of the facts.

Furthermore it is common practice to assist a cow by attempting to pull the calf out (only using minimal/moderate force and only when the cow is straining) using ropes and a pulling bar. Qualified vets sometimes even use what is called a "calving jack"...but I guess you would have to have had PERSONAL experience to know that, and not simply assume you know everything from behind your computer.

Your infantile and foolish comments will not be published.

Kimmie said...

I'm so sorry, Sarah. What an awful experience. I hope your cow is able to recover.

Stellar said...

Poor baby :( I am so sorry to hear about this. I pray for your children that they may be healed in this difficult time. I lost my kitty when I was 10 years old, and I felt like my whole world was going to collapse :( *hugs*

Kerri said...

Hi Sarah,
Sorry your family had to experience this.
I grew up on a farm in South Dakota and I have a sister who still lives there. She married into a large family of farmers, they raise registered black angus cattle. They have several bulls that they sell the "product of" for A.I.(I don't know how else to tactfully say that, hopefully you know what I mean). During calving season pulling calves is a very common event. They have heated calving barns (South Dakota gets very cold in the Winter) and all their cows are inside. My brother-in-law and his 2 adult sons rotate shifts of checking the cows ever three hours through the night, this is because the odds of a calf needing to be pulled is pretty high.
These people who are criticizing you because of what happened to your cow have no clue what they are talking about. Your family did the right thing, don't let anyone make you feel bad about what happened. Farm life is rough, so many things happen that are outside our control. I hope your cow is recovering well.

Sarah said...

Kerri ~ Ha, yes I know what you mean! We normally have Aberdeen (Black) Angus too...this was our first time calving with a Friesian. Apparently they can take somewhat longer calving, compared to an Angus; plus it was her first time too. This cow was very calm and showed no signs of distress; we have actually seen a normally calving cow, show more "distress" than this girl. Our Angus girls have always calved very easily.

Thank you all for your kind comments...our children read them too. :)

Our cow is doing well physically; though she still needs penicillin for another day or two. Otherwise, she seems back to her normal self; for which we are grateful.