Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sick Cows...Everyone's Favorite!

We're such naturals at this whole farming thing. Sometimes I wonder what we've gotten ourselves into. It will be nothing short of a miracle if these things live to see the slaughter house! Who knew you could actually overfeed a cow? Can't they eat any amount of anything? Apparently not because when we fed them, oh, ten 5 gallon buckets of some left over granola they weren't right for a few days. Apparently if cows are licking the wood in their shed it means they are missing some minerals...
After an early morning call to the vet's office they assessed they had a serious case of indigestion and recommended giving them a pound of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda - an antacid) and each of them would need to be giving 4 magnesium oxide tablets (a laxative). Because a person can just walk right up to a cow, ask them to open their mouth and put the pills in, right? Or, maybe if they were laying down we could just slip them in? No doubt this involved putting the halter on them and we haven't been practicing that...
I found 4 pound packages of baking soda at Cash and Carry and, surprisingly, when it was sprinkled on the salt block they licked it right up. Sadly enough I wasn't part of the pill-popping brigade. That was left to Todd and my dad - the official cow whisperers.
The scene played out something similar to the time we had #84 castrated. If you remember it was pretty much a shit show. I was inside with the baby and caught most of the show from the kitchen.
#86 went well. Well, its hard to struggle much with the rope so tight around one's neck....and #81 (the bull) even went well. I think they were even able to get the halter on him. #84 got his dose too, but the best part was watching Todd try to run down the sketchy #85. He's a little wiley and pretty quick and obviously was feeling much better than the others because he ran Todd back and forth across the field a good 5 times before Todd gave up. I'm thinking if the cow is running the 40 yard dash he's probably feeling alright and doesn't need the medicine anyway.
So, what we've learned here is that cows can develop a fairly common condition called acute acidosis that is similar to a person getting an upset stomach. That condition requires a person to dose them orally which sucks. You're better off cutting back the grain and sticking with upping the roughage!! Who knew?

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