6.27.2008

My ladies & their babies

Not long after we moved into the house in Springtown, we decided to get some cattle. We happen to have an old friend whose dad is a rancher. So, we received 10 mama cows and their very adorable babies. These cows were extremely used to being around people. Each day when I would get home, I would yell 'Hello ladies!' and they would all come to the back gate. We put out salt blocks and gave them some extra feed several times a week. They actually let me get close enough to touch a few of them.
I fell in love.
They were just adorable. They have beautiful eyes, and I especially loved this one mama who had jacked up horns and also had a bit of a Mohawk going on. She had so much personality.

Not long after we got them, it started to get really cold. One night, we heard a pack of wild dogs/coyotes howling in the back corner of our property. My dogs were pacing all over the house, panting, drooling, whining. My hubby went out back with a spotlight to check on the babies. All the mamas were huddled in a circle, with their babies in the middle.

The next morning, before I left for work, I went outside with the binoculars to do a quick headcount. One baby was missing. I was worried. I kept counting and re-counting. I went to work, and called my husband. Apparently, the wild dogs had gotten one of the babies, and he had found it while I was still asleep earlier in the morning.

After work, I went out in the pasture to give my ladies their feed. I couldn't figure out which mama was missing her baby. That night, all was quiet, but I still did the headcount the next morning.

And another baby was missing. I was pissed! I kept recounting, and finally woke up James (an old friend of ours that lived with us for awhile). He went out in the pasture with me, and we counted heads again. Yep, one short. We drove around the pasture, and didn't see the missing baby. We both ended up going to work, but all day I kept wondering where that little one had gone.

That evening, as I pulled up to my garage, I looked out at the pond right behind the house, and on the dam was a baby. I did the whole headcount thing again, and realized that must be the missing baby from the morning! However, she didn't look so hot.

I went out to the dam, and she couldn't get up. She was foaming at the mouth a little, and had some wild eyes. She was scared, but did not even try to move when I bent down and touched her.

James picked her up and put her in the garage. We got heating blankets and pads, and I started using a medicine syringe to feed her Powerade. Her mother stood outside the gate, by the garage, and moooooo-ed furiously.

We stayed up late trying to nurse her back to health. Not really ever sure what happened to her to make her sick. At one point, it was just me and her. I was lying next to her on one of the blankets, stroking her side. She was longer than my 80 lb. lab, but skinner, and smaller somehow. I touched her hooves, her tail, looked at her nose and ears closely. In every day life, who gets to be that close to an animal like that? So I took advantage, and snuggled her like I do my dogs. She was so sweet. She had warm breath, big brown eyes, soft ears, coarse hair, a wet nose, and a cute pink tongue. I knew that I would never eat veal again, after this.

She was not doing well. I talked to her in soft, soothing tones, telling her she needed to pull through so she could get back out there with her mama.

She did pass away, not too long after that.

All night long, her mama stood at the gate, mooing. When I tell you that cows can sound like they are crying, I mean it. She was crying. And the next morning, when the baby was loaded up into the back of a truck, she was still standing there crying. It was so sad! When I pulled out of the driveway the next morning, I watched the other 'ladies' make a circle around her.

6 comments:

Heather said...

How sad! =( I eat beef, but I went for years when I was about in the 7th grade til after high school not eating it because I spent so much time with my aunt's cows on her farm. They are about the most gentle creatures I've known. I'm sorry about the babies.

Misty said...

What a heartbreaking story. I heart cows. Totally.

Hiya, I'm Kristie. said...

I can honestly say I've never teared up thinking about cows, but I am now. Poor momma cow.

alntv said...

That's sad...poor momma cow! :-(

La Petite Chic said...

Oh my gosh, how terribly sad!

Danielle said...

This is really sad. It's amazing how women stick together and take care of each other, regardless of species.

I'm also sure that mamma knew you were taking care of her baby and that you were trying to help.

:(