Katie's Journal

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A Tough Day

by @ 7:45 am on February 17, 2014.

Sometimes you just can’t win no matter how hard you try. Today we’re heading to the stock sale with another 4 cows. Two I won’t miss. They have always been mastitis problems with bad attitudes: they’re always filthy and they kick like mules. They just flat need culled.

One is completely disheartening. She was one of our best cows. A very sweet girl who never caused any problems. She was usually clean, never kicked, always cooperative, milked very well, held up to once a day milking, never had a SCC over 300. She was everything we want in a cow. And then in the cold weather, she got pretty severe frostbite on a front quarter. We did everything we could, and at first thought she would just loose the quarter. Then, despite our best effort, it evolved into acute mastitis. This is BAD. She was one sick cow – more often than not they get down and don’t make it once they get that sick. This girl fought. For weeks we kept her in a pen by herself, warmed under one of my horse blankets, treated with every organic “medicine” we could throw at her. She was the most cooperative cow we’ve ever worked with. And amazingly, she rallied. We really thought she was going to make it. Then her front leg started to swell, from the knee up to the shoulder. She’s had another several weeks of special care trying to resolve this. Apparently the infection spread from her udder and landed in her knee. She rallied once more, but then the temperatures plummeted again, and she took another turn for the worse. The cold was just one too many things for her system to handle. At this point, she’s moved beyond the point where we think we can save her which makes it cruel to keep her going. So she’s heading to the stock sale too. Had it been warmer, she may have pulled through. But it wasn’t. These are the hardest cows to lose – the ones you fight with, pour everything into, and still can’t save. It’s one more crushing, disheartening blow on top of every other daily fight in this kind of weather.

The last cow was also a good one, but is going down the same path as the last one. She has frostbite which has turned into acute mastitis. Rather than watch her go down the same road, she’s going on the trailer.

It’s been a tough winter. We’ve lost more cows than usual thanks to this wretched cold that just won’t go away. Spring has to come soon. It just has to.

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