Thursday, June 20, 2013

When S#*T Happens.....You can't make this stuff up!

I enjoy a good fictional book, honestly I LOVE to read, kind of book worm. There's just something about disappearing into a different world for a little while. I recently  started reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, they are great fun and just and easy read. (And no I haven't started watching Trueblood, the HBO show based on these books) Sometimes it's easy to laugh at the situations and perils that fictional characters find themselves in. Sometimes I can sympathize with them and the fact that their author is really putting them through the ringer. But when real life feels more like it should belong in a fictional book, it's not fun at all.

We all have those weeks in any profession I suppose, that just totally kick us while we are down. And really make us contemplate our job choice. We had a week like this, and of course it started on Monday.

When your dealing with mortal beings, some elements are just out of your hands. Cows are not invincible, they are mortal, breakable and sometimes just down right frustrating. Monday morning my heifer Myra calved with a dead heifer calf. It happens, just like with humans, birth can be perilous. No matter how you try to beat yourself up for it, or analyze what you could have done different, sometimes it just can't be helped. It's life, dairy farm life. But still frustrating, a dead heifer calf is a huge loss of investment for a dairy farmer. Not just that, also personal, and every loss is felt. The icing on the cake for this situation was of course the fact that the calf was out of a young sire, making the loss feel even greater.

Tuesday morning as my husband is bringing in the cows from the field for the morning milking an over excited Lady in heat manages to knock one of our best cows, Ramona, down. She doesn't get back up. My farmer gets the rest of the Ladies into the holding pen and returns with help for Ramona. The good news, she was able to get up on her own. The bad, she's not putting any weight on the leg. We are assuming it's broken, cows don't recover from broken legs. They manage to encourage her to hobble into our special care pen. By Wednesday it's obvious that her leg isn't broken, just dislocated, but badly. She's still managing to get up and down and we even manage to get her to the parlor to be milked. We were a little bit optimistic, but certainly not holding our breath.

Thursday was a shining moment in this week, and badly needed. We felt our luck was turning around, when during Vet check we discovered that both of our embryos from our favorite old cow Velma had stuck. The recipients, a beef cow Shadow and a Guernsey heifer Snowshine, were pregnant! We couldn't have been more excited, especially about Snowshine, since there are only herself and one other cow from the Snow line of the S's left. You never know what your going to get with ET work and have these two be successful was great news!

Friday morning, we find Snowshine dead.

Very funny right, kind of like a bad joke? I know I didn't believe my husband when he told me. Less then 24 hours after we discover she's pregnant with Velma's embryo, she's dead. Timing is everything, she could have died the day before and yes we would have been upset, but not knowing if she was pregnant or not with the embryo would have been better then feeling the loss of that important calf as well. Snowshine died in a freak accident that we certainly have never had happen before. Probably with a little help from a herd mate, her head became stuck in the stanchions and she suffocated. There's a safety on the stanchions that protects a cow if she happens to go down while her head is in them. Somehow her nose got tipped back behind the bar so it couldn't swing into the safety release position. We are guessing someone hit her just right as she was pulling her head back.

But really what are the chances of that happening? It won't ever happen again and the timing was unbelievable. You really can't make this stuff up.

So why not end the week on a good note? Nope, Ramona didn't recover and we had to put her down.

How is your week going?

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