Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things gone awry

First off, this is not exactly a happy post by any means. Life with livestock is not always sunshine and butterflies.

Some of you may remember the posts about Holy Cow our Holstein heifer. When we brought her home, she was an interesting addition to the herd. We were told she was about 18 months- 2 years old at the time. With that in mind and having looked into things, consulting with friends in the know, we felt comfortable enough to breed her to our neighbors Angus bull. The hope was to start our herd of beef cattle and mostly to be able to milk Holy. Well when she came due to calf- the problems started. We watched her, the neighbors watched her and nothing happened. This was back in the first part of October.

It was finally agreed the calf was dead inside and needed to be removed. The four of us got together in the barn, got Holly in the milking chute and did our best to get the calf out. He was not coming out on his own and nothing we could do was going to change that. He was what is known as 'Hip Locked', meaning the calf's pelvis was locked up against the cows.  We finally gave up and called it off. We called the local guy who does meat processing and made final arrangements for the morning.

It turns out the bull calf was bigger than the neighbors bull calf that was nearly a month old. After Holly was put out of life and everything, the guy processing her had to break her pelvic bone to get the bull calf out. He was that big. He was also really nicely put together. That just figures!  We did get a few steaks, a couple of roasts and a bunch of ground meat from Holly, but there really wasn't much for him to work with.

Fast forward a few months.  After losing Holly, the neighbors turned out their cow and the new calf Boo-Boo. If you all remember our bull calf Buzz, well Buzz slipped through the fence and found himself a playmate. Buzz also self adopted himself to them and even began nursing off their cow.  We had to bring him back home and even though we did, he slipped out and down the driveway, going back to the neighbors barn within and hour of his coming home. 

Plan B. The neighbor brought Buzz home and stuck him in our small arena. He couldn't get out through the no climb so he stayed home. Then I later moved him to a stall in the barn.  a few weeks went by , everything was fine and then suddenly Buzz had gone off his feed. No signs of stress or anything unusual, he just wasn't eating. we threw him hay, we gave him the same horse pellets he and Betsy were eating and he just wouldn't touch any of it.

Come the morning of the ADT, I left to take Kat up to the showgrounds and got a text message. "Buzz is a sick little bull." He had started with some snots, but nothing else. He was standing in the stall nibbling at the feed when we left so things were steady for the moment.  When I got home that afternoon, Buzz had already passed. He was laying by the gate, no signs of any struggle or anything. It looked as if he just laid down and stopped living. Hubby JR was picking up the girls so I called him to let him know we needed to dig a hole. 

We are down to just the one little heifer Betsy for now. Our little Hereford cross is getting bigger, but not by much. She is widening out a little too, but we wonder if she may be a miniature. If nothing else, she could very well be a 'pail bunter' as Sherry has called her, a dwarf or one of a set of twins.  She is quite the goofy heifer too. Occasionally she gets a wild hair, sticks her tail in the air running around like a wild child.

She has settled in enough to approach me if I have a handful of Calf Manna. She let me scratch her head and jaw last night as she snarfed it up like a vacuum cleaner.  Little Mama has a ways to go before we will consider breeding her and when the time comes, we will be looking for another bull. Our neighbor has loaned out their Angus bull and he was bred to another Holstein with sadly the same results. For now they have a Limousin bull over there and he looks like he could be a good cross for Betsy when she is ready. That's going to be a while off for now though. Maybe by then we will have a few more bovines around here to keep her company. Otherwise she is happy talking to their cows through the fence.


  1. Awww, I'm so sad for you all. What a weird thing to have happen, both incidents. Sometimes it does though. We just lost our Fat Faced cow, she died in pasture, no clue why, maybe just old age..
    Cows are much like horses. You just never know what's going to happen.

  2. Vet said one time that animals are born looking for a way to die. And they do. Sorry you lost the big cow to calving problems. I wound up pulling-and just barely-a brangus/jersey bull calf from our little jersey cow. Her third calf so we did not expect problems. Bred her jersey the next go round and had a much smaller sized calf. Phew.

  3. It sucks when it goes wrong like that , so sorry about Buzz,and Holly. I like Phaedras comment , it does seem that they are looking for a way to die much of the time

  4. Mikey- Ya got that right. You never really do know What? or When? Their timing for insanity? Impeccable!

    Phaedra- The strange thing in all of this, the neighbor has a mini Dexter who also got bred by the same bull. Calving for her went off without a hitch and they never even knew she was expecting!

    FV- Some of them Do seem to be born looking for a way to die. A few of them act like they want our help now and then to speed up the process, with some of the stuff they pull. Almost the cow worlds' equivelant of the Darwin awards...

    In the case of our two though, neither one was involved in anything like that and we did what we could for Holly, thought Buzz was coming back around... then Bam??? So much for this go around, we will just keep our eyes open and look for something else. I am really liking the Herefords though. For meat anyways, Jersey's for milking.