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Sigh...not 'pets', but...

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posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 08:23 PM
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I wouldn't necessarily call them 'pets', but I love them all the same, all of them.

Over the past seven days I've been kicked, stepped on, and charged (numerous times). My wife has been knocked down, saving a calf, and we both got booted when I dove over her to protect her and the calf. My hands are raw from ropes, rain, sleet and all manner of animal refuse. All to save one calf, on little baby calf who was/is starving to death because momma isn't producing milk, and what she is producing is infected ugliness.

We've fought tooth and nail 24x7 to keep this one calf alive for well over a week now, despite the horrible weather (the rain, sleet and snow). Ranchers in the entire area have vets completely saturated with similar matters. This spring, despite desperately needing the moisture, has been absolute hell on us (all). It's gotten so bad that penicillin has been cleaned out by all the ranchers struggling to keep their calves alive, only the vets have any now. I drove 100 miles on Monday for the very last available bottle of penicillin to be found.

In all the madness we've had to separate the one calf from momma. Sadly momma will no longer be a momma, perhaps not ever again. We have cows scattered from hell to breakfast in different pens, isolating different issues and different calves. Today I looked at my watch and couldn't believe it was Thursday...I thought it was Monday, maybe Tuesday. There is no sleep, no rest...the predators will not allow it. They know when illness and weakness is near, and that is their biggest dinner bell. Sleeping with a rifle next to the bed, and one ear open for any sound...it's hard sometimes.

Sometimes you have to make life and death decisions...days like today, when we had to decide to take a good mother cow out of circulation and will likely have to "cull" her (kind words for euthanasia). The harder we work, the worse the weather works against us it seems this year.

To all the people out there who understand this life, God Bless you. To those who do not, understand it is the hardest thing you will ever do...and love every minute of it, no matter how hard.

Tonight I have a bull calf who is skin and bones, in a stock trailer, sleeping under my favorite sleeping bag (which will be useless in the morning). We've had to intubate (or "drench") him to get food into his belly (3) times now, just today. He will require feeding (4) times per day from today and for the next three+ months. No idea how to do that, but we will...because we just will...and we'll figure it out.

Truth be known, I was recently engaged in a thread which was of great interest to me. I tried to stay as a participant, despite dealing with all these things. But, no matter. I can only hope that when people go to the grocery store and pick out that delicious dinner, that they understand all of the love, kindness and care that went into that. I know it may seem cruel to some, but it's truly not (look up Temple Grandin if you don't believe).

It's been a tough few days, but hey, they call us 'cowboys', or ranchers, or cattlemen, and I guess we're supposed to live up to the reputation, but there was no Internet back when those terms were coined. Sometimes, you just get tired, busted up and hurt, but the day doesn't end because you want it to; it ends when the animals want it to. And maybe then you get a break for a few, maybe some supper and a warm shower...only to get up again in a few hours and do it all over again.

Why? Because I love it, I love the animals, I love watching them grow and I love the whole life, being outside (regardless of how awful the weather may be...you go). I love there being no choice. And, honestly, it gives me a much better perspective on life itself.

God Bless. (and thank you for reading).




posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 08:35 PM
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Stay strong. I am in awe of your persistence. We need more like you and your family. I will include you in my prayers.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 09:00 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk



Good read... congrats on your almost gold border as well

S&F for another notch




posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 09:21 PM
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a reply to: Akragon

Thanks. Some sleep would be nice though.

It's funny, you get to a point where you think you can't go on, and then all of a sudden you wake up with this renewed energy which nothing can stop. It doesn't matter the odds at that point, you won't quit.

"Okay, then that's just what we'll do!, was my response when the Vet was giving us some pretty ugly news today, thankful that we were even able to rank getting our large animal Doc out at all.

We had a massive 'wreck' in the squeeze chute with momma when she fell down inside and became trapped. It took nearly 30 minutes to get her out, and we had to blow both doors on the chute open to get her up. In return for our efforts we were greeted with pure rage from one mad momma who just wanted her calf. The Vet and I wound up diving inside the chute structure for cover while the feverish momma charged anything and everything looking for her calf. But her calf was gone; it had already been taken (by us) to a safer place in a heated pen in a barn...where, sadly, it will have to stay for a couple days until momma forgets about him. She's upset, and I don't blame her; her calf is only two+ weeks old, but she's sick and he's more sick...bordering on death. If we can save him (which I pray we can), neither he nor his momma will remember each other. He will be bonded to his new food source, and she just won't understand and will move on.

Such is the life of a cow. There's a lot they don't understand, and won't ever understand, but that doesn't mean we don't. And we do. Often we probably experience their missing emotions 10x for them. Perhaps it's hope...perhaps it's humanity.

Perhaps it's humility.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 09:28 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I understand completely.... had a horse farm about 10 years back

No where near the experience you have, but we had some tough times

Its not an easy life.... but i do hope your critters pull through

Much love brother




posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 09:32 PM
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Thanks for sharing. Sounds utterly exhausting.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 10:25 PM
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I'm a city girl, so this was rather informative and heart breaking.




posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 10:26 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

One of the guys I grew up with who is a veterinarian now always raised cattle. It was probably on a much smaller scale than you, maybe 20-40 head at any given time, but I can remember those mornings in high school when he would show up looking damn-near half dead, and tell a similar story. I'm from rural Alabama, so half the guys I grew up with were raised on cattle farms, hog farms, or maybe with a few chicken houses.

All I can say my brother is that you guys are more of a man than I am. The only explanation that ever made sense to me was that y'all must just be born that way. I know that growing up having cattle or other types of animals probably plays some part in it, but that just can't be the whole explanation, because most of the other guys, and girls too, that grew up that way just went on to something else, and never looked back.

I've also seen farms where animals weren't treated with the respect and compassion that you seem to show them. You talk about them almost like they are members of your family.

So, I tip my hat to you, sir, for being one of the good guys. You set one HELL of an example for all the rest of us, even if we DON'T do what you do for a living. Hopefully the cow and her calf will get through this rough patch.

Let us know how it turns out, brother.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 10:28 PM
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We rarely ever name an animal, other than foundation breed stock. We usually just refer to them by their ear-tag numbers. However, when you have to take this close of care of an animal they will get a name...inevitably. The little bull's naming has already started, with the Vet referring to him as "noodle" (because he was basically a wet noodle today). Tonight though, looking at him wrapped up in my sleeping bag, I'm thinking 'Beef Taco'. The wife think's he should be called "Lil' Man'.

Assuming he lives (which we sincerely hope he does), soon he will be bonded with my wife and will follow her around everywhere just like a great big puppy dog. The last bull we had this happen to bonded to us similarly, and would walk around outside the pastures, staying with us and playing with the dogs (I think he thought/wished he was a dog)...he was 2,000lbs and over 5 feet at the shoulder at the time! Despite all the domestication he has become a championship breed stock bull on another ranch. We sold him because he was the son of our herd bull (so genetically we couldn't keep him). His new owners think he's the greatest bull they've ever known, always eager for a head or ear scratch.

As always though, you have to be very careful with a huge animal like this because they can easily seriously injure or kill a person unintentionally just by being themselves. Just a simple thing like a shoulder itch when you're between them and a good scratching spot like a post, a fence or gate can be fatal.

If 'Noodle' or 'Taco' or whatever his name is survives I'm sure he'll be much the same way as Ike was (the bull referred to above). This one is far worse off than Ike was as a calf, and will be much more calmed later if he makes it.

Maybe we'll call him "Batman". Yeah, I kind of like that one.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 11:11 PM
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That was quite an informative yet emotional read. Knowing nothing about cattle, I am a city girl, I have great respect for your devotion to their care. Heartbreaking and backbreaking-I never knew. And more power also to your apparently well-chosen wife who shares your passion for a difficult but rewarding life. And bless the poor mamas, papas and babies suffering at this time.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 11:24 PM
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Sounds like you try to take good care of your animals. That is good. These animals count on us for protection and food, in exchange we harvest them for food....but at least they get a chance to live a decent life for a while.



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 12:39 AM
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I have to give kudos to your wife FCL ... she sounds like an amazing woman ... and I’m sure you appreciate her strong character that helps you do what you do.

Thank you to both of you ... and give her a pat on the back for me.



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 01:58 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
We rarely ever name an animal, other than foundation breed stock. We usually just refer to them by their ear-tag numbers. However, when you have to take this close of care of an animal they will get a name...inevitably. The little bull's naming has already started, with the Vet referring to him as "noodle" (because he was basically a wet noodle today). Tonight though, looking at him wrapped up in my sleeping bag, I'm thinking 'Beef Taco'. The wife think's he should be called "Lil' Man'.

Assuming he lives (which we sincerely hope he does), soon he will be bonded with my wife and will follow her around everywhere just like a great big puppy dog. The last bull we had this happen to bonded to us similarly, and would walk around outside the pastures, staying with us and playing with the dogs (I think he thought/wished he was a dog)...he was 2,000lbs and over 5 feet at the shoulder at the time! Despite all the domestication he has become a championship breed stock bull on another ranch. We sold him because he was the son of our herd bull (so genetically we couldn't keep him). His new owners think he's the greatest bull they've ever known, always eager for a head or ear scratch.

As always though, you have to be very careful with a huge animal like this because they can easily seriously injure or kill a person unintentionally just by being themselves. Just a simple thing like a shoulder itch when you're between them and a good scratching spot like a post, a fence or gate can be fatal.

If 'Noodle' or 'Taco' or whatever his name is survives I'm sure he'll be much the same way as Ike was (the bull referred to above). This one is far worse off than Ike was as a calf, and will be much more calmed later if he makes it.

Maybe we'll call him "Batman". Yeah, I kind of like that one.



Don’t you DARE sell him to McDonalds afterwards otherwise I will get a plane ticket all the way from France to bop you on the chin.

Failing the bopping I will purchase a copy of « Lucille » and bop you with her... then you will have a real reason to call the little fellow BATman😉

Good luck from the local ATS veterinary surgeon.

Warmest respects

Lags
edit on 27-4-2018 by Lagomorphe because: Because I am crap



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 04:59 AM
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a reply to: Lagomorphe

None of our beef EVER goes to the golden arches! Of that I can assure you.

All custom.



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 06:38 AM
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Well, in a very significant update!!:

The bull calf sucked down his first bottle of milk (750-800ml) this morning! This is HUGE! Up to this point we've been having to feed him by intubating him (sticking a tube down his throat, called "drenching") every feeding. This morning at 4:30am he was up, took the nipple and sucked that bottle dry! He was suckling so hard it was amazing. We even went out and gave him another half-batch...which he happily sucked down too.

Oh man, it's hard to even describe what a great milestone this is, after all he's been through (after all we've been through with this guy).

We'll still have to give him his antibiotics both orally and via intramuscular daily. Still have to give him is anti-diarrheal (it's vanilla though, so he kinda likes that). Still have to feed 4x per day (for now). If we can get him to take another 500ml in a single feeding we can eventually drop back to 3x per day and then maybe 2x after he gets some weight on.

YAY! Pretty happy about this development.
edit on 4/27/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 07:00 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

When you have a calf like this, does he get attached to you and follow you around? I would just imagine a stronger bond then the average cow.



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 07:19 AM
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a reply to: network dude

Oh absolutely! You become 'momma' to them, you're their food source and their protector. They bond to you in just the same way they would/did to their real momma. Right now in their life the most important things to them is food and a safe place to nap. They're inquisitive too and will romp around and play, but food and safe napping are at the top of their list. They're growing, and growing fast; an average calf will put on pounds per day.

This guy will take longer initially, but if he keeps eating like he is now he'll catch back up with the program fairly quickly.

ETA...yes, the bond is much stronger than a regular cow. A regular cow also sees you as their food source, but otherwise they just tolerate you and generally do what they are asked.
edit on 4/27/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 07:29 AM
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The life of a farmer.

My grandfather went through this yearly. He raised sheep. My mom can recall lambing season vividly along with all the different times he would show up, change clothing, participate in a family thing for a couple hours, change, disappear back into the barn with the livestock ...



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 07:43 AM
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a reply to: ketsuko

It's funny sometimes how you don't know what day it is, or whether it's night / day / morning / evening. I can't even believe it's Friday right now, feels like last Tuesday to me!

You can have a list of (5) things you absolutely have to do and be so tired that to motivate you say to yourself "If I can just manage to get these (5) things done, then I can go take a break for a while...finally". What happens in reality is suddenly you'll realize you're already completing item #19 on the never ending list. Somewhere deep inside your psyche you know if you don't do all those things now you'll only be making things more difficult for yourself later.

It's nice though sometimes when that extra effort pays off big time. That time you moved the big heavy whatever it was closer so when you needed it, it would be right there (even though you didn't need it at the moment you moved it). Some time later some crisis happens and there's whatever it is, right where you really needed it. That's probably one of the better rewards.

ETA...the real motivator is the flip-side of that same coin, the times you lament not having done something which would have made things easier in the moment (and swearing to never let that happen again). Crystal Balls come in really handy for this kind of stuff. I just wish mine wasn't broken!


edit on 4/27/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 27 2018 @ 09:18 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

You could have an interesting conversation with my brother. He had goats for a lot of years but had to give up the goats because of a back injury. He now does chickens and is thinking about adding turkeys.

It is interesting to watch a big strapping guy turn into a bowl of jello when caring for tiny hatchlings, and to listen to the conversations he has with what he calls his teenagers.

I have to admit that I name all the chicks after they hatch and some of them I can even remember their names because I name them according to a stand out personality or trait. I am in love with six day old Allie. She is a smart aleck. As soon as she was put in the nursery she went straight for the mash and the water. No teaching needed for her. I think I am going to talk him into letting me keep Allie.

When he did goats, I became known as the Goat Nurse. I think I better add chickens to my knowledge base. I have the feeling my name is about to change.




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