Giving calf first-aid not pleasant

The week started off rather calm, attending the annual meeting of the Rainy River Valley Farm Safety Association. It was a great meeting, with two local producers sharing their farm accidents with us.
We’re so thankful they are both doing well, and were able to come and share their mishaps with us to help prevent future ones.
• • •
The calf I mentioned last week that maybe had a bit of pneumonia seemed to be doing fine, then seemed to be a bit bloated.
So in the barn she and her mom came again. I watched her, and gave her some mineral oil and bloat-eze. But it still didn’t help, so I ended up poking a hole in her side, which drained off some air and a bit of gas.
But it didn’t seem to last long, and the calf was in horrible agony by now. I had to do something or she was going to die.
I had my boyfriend/partner cut me a chunk of garden hose that was long enough to go down the calf’s mouth into her stomach to drain off the dead bacteria and acid (it was amazing what I got out of her).
Then I knew I needed to get something back in her stomach to get it working again.
I sent a text to my cousin, the vet, and asked her if I could put some yogurt in the calf’s stomach. She replied I was wasting my time (and the yogurt) with that, instead saying I needed to get some fluid from another cow.
So out I went to bring in my “Canada” cow (you can do anything with her, and she is open so if I hurt her, she didn’t have a calf at least). I tied her up and again my boyfriend/partner helped me with an even longer chunk of plastic as she was big cow and I had to get into her stomach, as well.
My vet cousin also told me you may have to suck on the hose to get the fluid started.
Well, my boyfriend/partner already was gagging, so he thought maybe we could use a vacuum to try and suck it out. But I envisioned sucking all four stomachs out of the cow, so I was nervous about this.
My vet cousin told me if I listened in the pipe, I should be able to hear it bubbling and this would mean I was in the correct spot. I entered the stomach and my cow kind of puked all over me–I had to holler to get a bucket to collect this important material and at this point, my two helpers (my dad came over, as well) were almost losing their stomachs, too.
As I pulled the pipe back out, we gathered more material and we definitely had enough to put back into the calf.
I again drained the last bit of dead bacteria out of the calf. I strained out the chunks of hay and then drenched the liquid back into the calf. Fortunately, within two hours she was sucking the mom and shortly after eating hay and chewing her cud–her stomach started working again and all was fine.
• • •
Maddie and Marlee came out during March Break, and we were four-wheeling and having fun.
Unfortunately, we were away from my place for a couple of hours and came home to find a cow dead on her back. She was laying on the edge of the pack and likely stretched out in the sun, and just got over too far and couldn’t get back up.
They only last about 15 minutes so unless you are right there, you can do very little.
She had a beautiful calf that wasn’t even a month old. So in he came to the barn, and I borrowed some milk replacer and he was going to have to be a bottle baby (they never do as well this way).
Well, I just so happened to have a meeting that evening and it turned out a producer in Stratton lost a calf, so we thought we could try making this work.
The next day, we loaded up “Nash” in the back seat of my truck and off to Stratton we went. Now my purebred Hereford calf loves his new Char cross mom.
This will be better for both the cow and calf, so I’m glad it turned out so well.
• • •
See you at the cattle sale in Stratton this Saturday. Just a reminder that we welcome all cattle.
We are trying to have protocol cattle at each sale, but we know not everyone is planning to participate in this and that is fine! We will never turn away any cattle.
Please remember to ask and clarify things. You are not always getting the true story at the coffee shop!

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