I’ve been gone a lot this winter. There is always something that needs to be done, but things slow down when the weather gets cold. It takes only a couple of hours to feed, and there are days when it just isn’t worth fighting the weather to accomplish anything else.
With Eric & Jen living here, it is me that finds something else to do in the winter. Last year I was the interim administrator at a nursing home in Shelby; the year before I had a consulting job at the Indian Health Service hospital in Crow Agency; this year I was building racks for some 5,000 tuxes at our warehouse in Idaho Falls.
Eric had given me a call early in the week to say there were a couple of first calf heifers ready to pop. I assured him that no, it would be another two weeks before they began to calve. He said “Sorry Boss, one already calved”. Eric was worried, and he brought in all the heifers from across the river so that they were near to the house and the calving shed.
I got home from Idaho last night, and today I saddled a horse for the first time this spring. Sure enough there were two new calves, but they had white faces – sired by the neighbor’s bull that crawled through the fence!
We put those new pairs into a field by themselves and gathered all the heifers into the “bridge trap” to sort. They were supposed to begin calving March 15, and I cut out four heavies that probably will calve about then. These we put into the calving field and turned the rest back out across the river.
While we were out and about we brought in two other cows that needed attention: one had lost a pair of premature twins a couple of weeks ago, and still hadn’t “cleaned” of the placenta (or “after-birth”). The other had a swollen bag with some discharge. We put these two into the squeeze-chute.
I donned a long obstetrical glove to remove the rotting placenta, then inserted some thumb-sized antibiotic boluses into her uterus. We also gave her a big blast of subcutaneous antibiotic.
The second cow was still a ways from calving, but had mastitis. We gave her some oral antibiotic boluses, as well as the subcutaneous.
The horses had been turned out all winter, but spring is coming. We’ll have reason to ride at least several times a week from now until summer. It’s my favorite time of the year!