Sunday, April 19, 2015

:: The Heartache of watching one of your animals in pain & trying to do the best you can ::

My last post ended with this ...

All is well this morning on the Farm. We are truly blessed.
And while we truly are blessed; all wasn't so well on the farm Friday evening.

Aaron took that day off work to help get the yard and barn prepared for a hog roast we hosted at our place on Saturday night. The day was filled with yard work and basically cramming most of our Spring to-do list into one exhausting day. But, it was beautiful outside and we kicked butt on getting it all done!
Throughout the day I had to lock Clarabelle & Pistal up in the chicken coop area so I could bring the tractor in to get a load of mulch, etc from the pasture. All seemed to be fine with the critters & I hadn't noticed anything different with our little bucket calf Clarabelle. She was laying down when my niece went out to see her, but that wasn't out of the ordinary on a warm sunny day or any day in the life of a cow I suppose.
That evening around 5:00 when the boys went out to do chores and give her her bottle she wouldn't eat it. She kept kicking her leg out to the side and after further inspection we discovered how incredibly bloated the poor thing was!
Aaron made a phone call to a cousin of mine and he indicated that she had twisted her stomach somehow. Apparently it happens often and doesn't always end the best. He was amazing enough to let us have a shot that would help her muscles relax. That was the fastest round trip I've made to Taylor Ridge ever!
It was also suggested to give her mineral oil as a laxative so we tried that too! We knew the most important thing to do was to keep her up and keep her walking! Thank goodness she's a little calf because when she got to the point of exhaustion and laid down it took both Coe & I to get her back up.
Even after a few hours of walking, the shot, the mineral oil, she wasn't getting any better. We had to tube her. Meaning we had to put a hose down her throat to try to get to where the twist was and release the pressure!

That was such a tough thing! Aaron, Coe, & I were all holding her trying to comfort her hoping it would work. By then, Coe & I were both in tears. It was so hard to think we were doing our best; but sometimes the best just isn't good enough. Tubing her hadn't worked.
Around 12:30am we decided we would make her a bed of straw and put her in the barn. We said our good byes & lots of tears were shed.
We went to bed thinking we would be burying our little calf in the morning.
We had done all we knew to do.

The next morning our youngest son Chase came into our room and said "Mom! I just looked out my window and Clarabelle is standing at the gate in the barn!" Holy Moly! She had made it! We woke up the rest of the crew and ran out to see her. We couldn't believe it!
Whether it was the shot, the oil, or the fact that she was finally able to lay down and relax enough to get it all working again we weren't sure, but she made it! I like to think we loved her back to health but that was probably just a small part of all of it.
Saturday we watched her closely and some other friends of ours brought her over a shot of penicillin.
I can't say enough how grateful we are for friends, neighbors, and the local vet for helping us out in a situation like this. Friends and a wonderful community are the best!
I know, I know, some people may say "it's just a cow". But when you're not used to things like this and watching your oldest son who has been doing such a good job taking care of the animal break down in tears; it's hard not to get upset and write a long winded blog post about it all!
While we are still keeping a close eye on her; there is a crazy little long eared goat who is extremely happy to have her buddy back bouncing around again!
It's SO true people; "farming ain't easy".

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