We had a situation erupt – 3 days after Cora gave birth to Seamus. Naturally – it was a Friday night. Not a good time to have this huge necessity become a reality - getting Cora into the chute. The last time we tried getting her into the chute – Dwayne had backed it up to the gate for the little yard. He refused to square it up – and left a gap. Cora jumped through - and jumped me. Knocked me on my butt. Scared the crap out of Dr. Kate. I got up looking for the cow.
That was a bad day. Dwayne had to repair fencing and run a LOT MORE hotwire. Cora didn’t get her annuals that day. Brucey had jumped through the gap before Cora. He jumped over the 3 foot fence for the chicken yard. And then he got too scared to jump back over – after we got a halter and lead rope on him. Dwayne had to rip up part of the fence so I could get him out. And then that fart walked with me - all the way across the open area – into Artist’s paddock – all the way across to the gate for the little yard – ALL THE WAY into the chute – head secured in the headgate – without a bit of hassle.
I miss my Brucey.
The next time Cora had to be treated was for having a screw removed from her leg. She’d yanked the cattle rub off the wall and tripped over the mount. Thank God – the screw made a clean pass above her hoof. Thank God for giving me the inclination to look all our cattle over when I feed. And for cellphones that can take pictures. But Kate had to scrounge up a Dart gun. And it took 2 darts to knock Cora’s lights out so she could be treated. We took advantage of the moment and gave her the annuals then.
Dwayne and I had fun touching her face and loving on her after Kate put her on her feet again – while Cora was still drunk. J
But on this 3rd day after birthing Seamus - I had to wait for Dwayne to get home from work. He had to use the tractor to move the Chute on its trailer. We had to take it through April’s paddock – then through Storm and Dodger’s paddock – then get it into Artist’s paddock. The tractor and the trailer were too wide for the gate with the latch installed. Dwayne had to remove the latch. We used a chain and clasp for the time being. He had to unhitch the chute from its trailer. He had to drag the chute into the little yard with the tractor. And then we had to hand-pull the trailer into the little yard – hook it back up to the chute – hook that back up to the tractor – and manipulate it until we had it butted up to the door of the barn. None of it comes easy.
Cora’s udder was in trouble. And we had to get her into the chute before calling for any kind of help.
We had to use Seamus for bait – tying him outside the chute. And one more surprise came when Dwayne managed to get a nylon combination halter/ lead rope on Cora. We were shocked that he managed without her getting as ugly as April or Patty. But she wouldn’t budge one step forward for him.
I showed her the sweetfeed – before handing it to Dwayne. He held the bucket while I took the lead rope and prodded. We all made our way through the chute until we got Cora secured in the headgate. I let her touch her baby first. And then – I always – follow through when I con with the sweetfeed.
I don’t like to my husband. I don’t lie to my kids. I don’t lie to my cows.
Thank God for ADCA members - and a Vet that was willing and able to show up on this particular Saturday. We called Kathy Chaney. She hooked us up with Jennifer McPheeters – who got dressed and drove all the way over to our place to help.
I will never forget a particular moment. Jennifer was well into the milking when she was informed that she was milking a brood cow - that had only recently allowed us to touch her – and had never been milked before in her life.
But it got even better. Jennifer informed us – she had never milked a cow in her life before! Only goats. And none of us could believe the pail of milk was standing there so still – filling up so fast.
And Seamus. He was only a 3-day-old bull calf – enduring some very unexpected and expedited halter training. He was so tiny that we used the nylon combination halter/lead rope for lambs. And that little boy was just a pure natural at it. He was so good! He did such a wonderful job at it! He stood right there by Mama – where they could see and touch each other. And he’d just lay down when he got tired of standing.
Cora spent over 3 hours in that chute. That made it a bit harder to get her back into the chute on Saturday. I had to help with getting the combo halter on her. And then Kate had to help us when she got there - getting Cora’s backside in and locked in so we could get her into the headgate. Dwayne thought it through and we put a Control halter on her while we had her in the chute.
Me and Cora had a little party after we got that halter on her. ;) It was funny! Her eyes started shining! She knew what was going on. She had her own bling – just like all the others! She’d never had a real halter on in her life before that day.
And then Dr. Kate got busy. It was a list that included - examining her – taking teat cultures – milking her out –injecting her 2 right side teats with antibiotic - and needle punching her all over the place – under her tail – both sides of her neck. Once again – we took advantage of the situation – dealing with those annuals. This was worse than that 3+ hours she’d spent in the chute during the night before – even though she wasn’t in there near as long. But I did all I could to keep her attention redirected.
I taught Seamus a game. “Love Mama, Seamus.” He’d stick his head through the headgate and rub up and down her brisket! They learn so fast at such an early age! “Awww – Seamus loves his Mama!” And Cora would start licking his neck and back.
I took advantage of having her in the chute – proving reasons to trust being touched. She finally experienced being brushed. She went through the touching on her face and figuring out what I was doing with the others when I do that while saying – “gentle.” She’s come to enjoy that! I’d rub her ears. She’d almost go to sleep.
We went through several days afterward - getting Cora into the chute so we could milk out her right side quarters and inject the SpectraMast. Each day became more of a challenge to get her into the chute. Having that Control Halter on her has been a huge help. But she just won’t budge for anyone but me. And even then – it’s a fight.
We moved the chute away from the barn door and to an area that’s shaded in the evenings after Dwayne comes home from work. We had several more days when we had to haul her into the chute and milk her out – even after finishing up the box of SpectraMast.
There’s a possibility that she may have let her milk down on that day when we tried putting her into the paddock with April and Aon. It was a week or so before Seamus was born. That may have contributed to the Mastitis developing. It was shortly after that – when her udder began to just blow up.
(Took Cora 5 minutes to square April up about who was Boss!)
Time finally came when we could put Cora and Seamus into the paddock with April and Aon. We had to bring them back into the little yard to milk her a couple times. But we changed rations to get everybody grazing more. And we began seeing Cora’s udder looking normal as it should be. Dwayne discovered later – we were getting some help!
Dwayne busted Aon and Seamus – both – nursing on Cora.
Aon is a smart fart. He lets Seamus get situated with his butt to his mama. And then Aon gets situated on the left side of Seamus. Seamus hits the right quarters. Aon hits the left side! He has no trouble finding things!
Seamus won’t mess with the teats on the right side because they’re too big for him. And he always got so confused on the left side of Cora. He kept bumping her under her chest – trying to get her to let her milk down. Wrong end!
Kate will be coming out to inject Cora’s udder quarters with a prescribed med for drying up when we begin weaning. We’re taking this protocol to assist with ensuring a better chance of having no issues in the future.
It’s come along so well that I can walk out to the paddock with a brush and Cora will stand there – enjoying every bit of it! She even walks toward me when she sees the brush.
It’s amazing to me – the fact that it only took a year. I’m sure the circumstances had a lot to do with helping. But it’s such a wonderful feeling to be able to love on that cow!!
Don’t laugh at me. Having a steer for a pet is a whole lot damn cheaper than a dog!!
Obviously – she’s wanted to fit in and be pampered like all the others. She just needed time – patience – a little nurturing – and a lot of compromising.
Nobody can recognize that need for fitting in with the others more than me.
Never let anyone tell you that cows are stupid. If you take the time to pay attention closely enough – they’ll tell you all kinds of secrets!