So we found Rosie dead this morning. She had been fine yesterday, but Tom found her with her horn in the fence, bloated and with a large pile of red cloudy liquid near her butt. We initially thought maybe she got her horn stuck in the fence, couldn’t get up and got bloated. But that did not make any sense since it would be easy for her to get her horn out, and it is an odd place to get her horn stuck. So then we thought maybe she had a uterus infection or trauma from the somewhat difficult delivery. Then we thought maybe it was bloat from giving her different grain yesterday. But then we thought maybe the milk fever (hypocalcemia) had returned, and she went down and bloated. She was still somewhat warm when we found her, but her udder was empty as the calf had been nursing off her after she was dead. If you want to see the evidence as to the cause of her death or see how ugly farming can be, there is a photo at Dead Rosie.So now we have an orphan calf. So instead of rooting the Mariners to a win from the comfort of our living room, I was helping catch and bottle feed Indy. Below is our first attempt.
This occurred while the Oyster Run motorcycle riders (Tom calls them pirates) were driving by, oblivious to the nearby dead cow. Then Tom dealt with the DB while I tried to find a safe environment to keep the calf. I let Marji into the pasture (her half sister). Marji got very upset, was sniffing the death scene and bellering loudly. She lost her brother and mother in 2 days time.
Indy approached her, but Marji had no interest in her at all.
Greta (the Highland cow) was showing interest in Indy so I let her into the field too. Initially it seemed to go well
but then Greta started attacking her, viciously throwing her into a fence with her horns. So I quickly got Greta out of there and watched Marji and Greta to make sure things were safe. Mostly Indy laid down near where her mother died (and near where she was born) and Marji ignored her.
As I watched this, I kept thinking about how much Rosie wanted to live to take care of her calf and how I had failed her. Some days farming sucks, and this is one of the worst. I now can only hope the Orphan Indy will be OK.
I’m so sorry, Donna!
Thanks Dennis! I am really sad right now.
So sorry for your loss.
Thanks Billie! Now the real work begins.
So sorry to read this. Indy is a beautiful calf.
Thanks Marla! She is beautiful.
Oh I’m so sorry to read this – best of luck with the bottle-feeding project!
Thanks! We have somewhat successfully bottle fed twice now. Milk replacer is never as good as the real thing.
oh, man, I’m so sorry about Rosie. that is really sad. keeping a good thought for little Indy.
Thanks Denise! It is really sad. Little Indy better make it…
Really sorry to hear this. Be strong.
Thanks Nigel! I am trying.
How very odd and awful; let us know if you ever figure out the cause of Rosie’s death. The discharge does sound like it could be uterine in nature. Poor little Indy – and mean, nasty Greta!
Thanks Michelle! I doubt we will find out. I am leaning toward the milk fever/hypocalcemia but that does not explain the blood. Hopefully Indy learned to be a feisty calf in her brief time with her mama, and Greta is mean and nasty.
My sympathies Donna and Tom,
That is a heavy load to bare.
Thanks Sarai! I have stopped crying now, but there is a lot of work ahead of us trying to care for an orphaned calf.