Where I milk, we Autumn calf, which is calving the whole herd as Autumn starts, with practically everything calved in by Christmas. The heifers are for the best part all calved in by early Autumn, but this year there was one little heifer that had not gone on with the main batch. Most of the heifers are Artificial inseminated (AI) and then the Angus bull they have runs with the heifers during the summer picking up any thing that may return. Steve who I work for at the end of the summer has anything he is unsure is still pregnant, Pregnancy diagnosed (PD) and this little heifer who he thought was not pregnant was around 3 months pregnant.
She was a bit small, but nicely made. More than often it is not a good omen when a heifer takes so long to get in calf, but she was given the benefit of doubt and hoped that she just was a slow developer, a bit immature and needed to grow on a bit more, as the reason for not going in calf at the same time as the others.
With all the rest of the heifers calved in he decided, because this little heifer was so far off calving to run her with the milking cows, during the winter and for the last five or so months, this little heifer has been skipping through the parlour. What at first was a little heifer a bit nervous of my touch, became happy to walk out of the cubicles with my hand gently scratching her rump. Then it happened, I should known better by now, but one morning getting her to rise out of the cubicles, it slipped out without thinking, a name. I said, "Come on little Tinkerbell, time to get up." "Setting myself up for nothing, but heartache," I told Steve, when telling him about accidentally calling her, "Tinkerbell," shortening it to "Little Tinks."
All seemed well and Little Tinks blossomed and grew a bit more, although still a bit smaller than her counterparts. She even got to know her name and around a week ago she was removed from the herd and put in the calving shed. She was nearing her time to calf and last Saturday morning I left milking knowing that by Tuesday morning when I milked again she would be calved. Milking this morning Steve arrived in the parlour and told me Little Tinks had produced a lovely tidy Angus bull calf, seemingly easily and she had then hemorrhaged really badly. The vet was called and they hoped that they had stopped it. She went through the night, but in the morning she tried to get up and hemorrhaged again and died within a couple minutes. Steve said he had never seen a cow lose so much blood after calving and the vet seems to think that because she was late getting in calf, may indicate that she hormonally was not quite right and the bleeding was likely caused because of lack of production of Prostaglandin which helps contract the uterus down and subdue bleeding from the detachment of the placenta. Even in this day and age, birth is still very precarious for mother and baby.
There is saying with farming "If you got livestock, you got dead stock." but it still does not make it any easier losing stock. I have told myself not to name a cow again. I've told myself that a few times over the years though milking cows, but I have no doubt around the corner there is another cow waiting for me to forget myself.
Last verse of the poem
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!