Ha! You guys cracked me up with your comments on yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday!
Actually, I needed that laughter… you see, just about the time I finished Tuesday’s post and then crawled into bed, the phone rang. The heifer Daniel and I calved out… and I took the too-dark video of the birth for you which is TOO DARK to post… well, he’d gone back to check on her and she’d prolapsed. Uterine prolapse.
Honestly, the pretty baldy heifer was now rated LowOnTheTotemPole. It was BAD. She had been up and mothering her calf and everything looked good, but she must have laid back down and continued to push until her insides were outside. Nevertheless, the guys had to try… so all three guys went back, got her in the chute, and shoved all of that back inside her.
Never heard of this??? Well, once upon a time, I wrote about it…
A couple hours of work and they headed back to bed.
Morning came and she was dead.
Just like that… Hours of work, no particular reason to cause the prolapse, but it happened, and she was gone. Unfortunately, the same night, Daniel had a calf that had a leg back instead of pointing forward. By the time he worked it around and got the leg straightened and the calf out, it was dead as well.
Most years, it seems like all the crap starts off calving season… the ones with troubles, the ones that die, the ones that seem to hurt the most, come at the start of calving season. It may be typical, but it doesn’t help the stress/hurt/frustration/helplessness/sadness of the situations.
I just listened to a podcast made by a friend, who was asked what’s the most important characteristic that a cowboy needs to have? Her reply was “fatalism”. Stuff is going to happen. Your favorite dog gets run over, your favorite horse gets wire cut, cattle die, storms ruins crops, it’s all gonna happen. You have to know that, and accept it, and determine to keep going. Our vet, The Good Doctor, always says that if you do something long enough… you’re going to see everything before it’s over.
I guess maybe that’s part of the character that it takes to live on the land. Now what? Do you retreat to the fetal position? Do you quit and go get a job in town where it becomes easy to believe in Disney movies and that Mother Nature is kind and benevolent? Or do you wake up in the morning and thank God you have another day to pet that favorite dog and ride that favorite horse and tend the cattle and crops until, for a moment, it is jerked out from under you… and then you get another dog and another horse and raise more cattle and plant more crops.
I think most people are like this, it’s just our job puts us here where we have more animals, more chances of #$%^& hitting the fan! Well. It’s hit. And it sucks. But it seems that Scarlett O’Hara and we agree… that “Tomorrow is Another Day”.
And those two babies I saved from the mud and cold *last* night? They’re walking on unsteady hooves and trying their hardest to buck and run and enjoy… which sounds like a great plan!Find me here!
10 thoughts on “Great Plan”
Beautifully put. I hope you are able to save the calf out of the prolapsed heifer.
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And why is it, it always seems like the bad luck hits in waves? The same day the pump goes out and all the water lines freeze will be the day that cow that wasn’t supposed to calve for two more weeks does, clear out in the pasture where you’re only checking once a day, and of course THAT’S the one calf all spring that comes butt first and you end up losing both of them, and then your mom’s grand old mare dies a month shy of her 30th birthday and…well, hell. There’s just nothing to do but keep moving ahead, cuz the rest of these cows aren’t waiting around while you mope.
If anyone wants to listen to the podcast Carol mentioned, you can find it here: http://www.earnyourspurs.com/montana-ranch-life/
Sorry for all the loss. I do have a question. Since you a heifer who lost her calf and a calf who lost her mother can you put the living calf and new mother together for nursing and nurturing? Will they accept one another?
Way too bad after your hard work! Concentrate on those two new babies….the rest of the calving should go better.
So sorry to hear about this. But your writing puts us right where we’re supposed to be and how it feels to do what you do day after day. A sad situation but great writing.
I am so sorry for you all. That is a lot to deal with any time of the year. Tell Daniel we are thinking of him. Hope the rest of the calves that are due arrive safe and sound.
Yep, it happens. But you are all strong ranchers and you’ll try to remember the bucking calves more than the lose.
Understand frustration. Had 6″ snow Wed. nite, not really expecting any calves. Cow calved and I found the calf , but could not save it. frustrated, but know if you don’t have them you don’t lose them. I know you’all live with your’s during calving time and can barn them. We, for the most part can’t do that. Agree with your vet’s comments. I know can’t dwell on the losses and move on.
So sorry for your loss… my understanding is that lots of heifers don’t survive their first calving, which I guess is why you were checking on them day and night. The lady in the podcast has is right, fatalism is a necessary trait if you’re going to live so closely with Mother Nature. She’s a @Y$$&#! Hopefully all this year’s losses are behind you now!
Sorry to hear of your losses. Even though you know it may happen, it’s never easy when it does. Good to hear the two mud and cold babies are doing well.