Friday, May 01, 2015

Box Elder blossoms

We've had a few warm days and some trees are starting to leaf out.



Willow tree is in the background.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Buddy into the corral

This morning I looked out and saw Buddy in the middle pasture.   After noon I checked the fence and did not find any broken wires. It is a 3 strand fence but I doubt as large as Buddy is that he slipped through the fence. The fence is only about four feet tall so maybe he jumped the fence. Again, as large as Buddy is that would be some sight.

When Buddy was near the middle pasture gate I opened it and he sauntered through it, taking his time.  The rest of the cows saw I had opened the gate and were quickly coming over.  I got Buddy through the gate and it closed by the time they reached the gate.  They were not happy and mooed their displeasure.

Buddy walked into the corral to get a drink of water.  I decided it was time for him to be in the corral until breeding season begins the end of June.

I had to play a shell game.  The yearling heifers are old enough to come into heat, but I am not ready to have them bred them yet.   A few days ago Rose went into heat.  At 7 am I heard lots of mooing and it didn't sound like the usual mooing.  I got out of bed and went outside.  Rose was running around the corral in circles and then standing and looking out towards the bull and mooing like crazy. I seen it before.  She was in heat, and it hit her hard.  Fortunately the worse part was over in 6 to 8 hours, and not 24 hours.

Back to the shell game.  I closed the corral gate.  I got Buddy into the loading corral.  Then I then let the heifers and one steer out of their part of the coral.  He was the biggest steer and the one who often mooed in a loud tone when he wanted out to be with the rest of the cows.  I left the smallest steer, and the steer with one horn left, in that part of the corral to keep Buddy company.

I opened the corral gate but half the herd came in instead of ,the yearlings leaving the corral.  Rose decided she wanted to drink milk from several cows.  That resulted in fights as the cows were having none of that.  Later Rose tried to drink from her mother out in that pasture but her mother fought Rose off.

The yearlings were excited to be let out of the corral and ran, and ran jumping and kicking, around the pasture.

Once the cattle left the corral (with a little encouragement from me to the stragglers) , I let Buddy out of the corral and herded him to the part of the corral with the two steers.  So far he has adjusted to his new home.


The two yearling steers waiting for Buddy.

Buddy taking his time walking over to his new digs.



Oreo and mother

Oreo's mother, Panda, and Oreo

Here is a 3:47 long video of Rose fighting and ending with Oreo's mother washing Oreo: https://youtu.be/ETNtyaRTpPU

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tall Pines Bull Riding

Donna likes to watch bull riding. The other day Donna suggested I get on Buddy and ride him.  I compromised. I sat on Buddy... lightly.  Buddy didn't mind.  I didn't push my luck to try to straddle him.

Hey Buddy... is it okay if I sit on you?

Little man.  Big bull.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dehorning, one horn off

Monday, after we banded/castrated the latest calf, Donna noticed the steer with horns was acting strange.  I looked and saw blood on the side of his face.  It came from his left horn.  A small circle of blood was around the horn near the band.  The horn looked like it had been knocked against something and may be cracked or loosened at the band.

No more blood was flowing.  The steer looked like he had a headache.  Every so often he would shake his head.




I called and spoke with the local cattle vet. He had no experience with banding to remove horns or knew of anyone who had done it.  "Let me know how it turns out."  The vet did suggest giving the steer a tetanus antitoxin shot (http://www.drugs.com/vet/tetanus-antitoxin.html) due to the open wound.

I kept an eye on the steer during the day.  No more blood.  I saw him drink water but mainly he wanted to stay by himself.  In the evening I saw him eat hay from the feeder and he looked better.  I put some hay in the wooden feeder as that has a larger area for the cattle to move their head around as they eat.  I suspect the steer caught/hit his head on part of the metal feeder and cracked his horn.  In the evening I noticed the horn was drooping down a little bit.


Tuesday I bought a dose of the tetanus antitoxin serum.  Late afternoon Donna helped me give the shot.  We herded the steer into the loading corral ramp area.  He didn't want to go into the head gate so we added a few boards to the ramp area to box him in.  I never gave a shot before so I screwed up.  I forgot to take the cap off the needle and lost 2 to 3 ml of the 5 ml of serum when I squeezed the syringe.

I went to the vet's office and got there just before they closed.  The serum cost almost twice as much ($7.70) than at CHS ($3.99) but I had it.  I was able to give the steer an additional 5 ml serum.  The vet said a few extra mls of serum wouldn't hurt the steer.

The steer had bumped against the loading ramp's fence and it appears he had loosened his horn some more.


I decided to completely remove the horn.  I had a hacksaw but first I tried to grab and pull the horn off.  On my second try I got a better grip and pulled it off fast.



The steer made no cries when I pulled his horn off.  He didn't cry when I gave him his shot earlier.  Both times though he tried to move away when I touched him.

The horn area was bloody but no new blood flowed. I then decided to clean the wound with warm water with Epsom salt and a rag.  The steer moved his head about to evade me.  Finally he decided to go forward and then got trapped in the head gate.  He mostly stood still as I cleaned the blood from the horn and his face.  When touching his horn he made no movement or cries indicating he felt pain.

Once I had a good amount of blood cleaned off I released him to join the others.

As you can see, no open hole where the horn used to be.




One horn off, one horn to go.

The remaining horn and rubber band.


The 'circle' in the following photos is the rubber band I had placed on the horn originally.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Calf 10 - Panda's calf

I've always said I wanted to see the birth of a calf.  Well...I should be careful what I wish for.

Panda (Beulah's daughter) was the last to give birth.  Panda was a heifer and this would be her first calf.  While a good size, she is the smallest of the cattle.  So I was most concerned about her giving birth.

Sunday morning shortly before 11 am I went outside to check on Panda.  I found Panda in the corral near the barn.  She was starting to give birth as I saw the calf's hoofs coming out of Panda.  I ran and got my camera and called Donna.

The hooves were pointed in the correct direction (down).  I could also see the calf's nose starting to come out.




The heifer seemed to be annoyed I was there as she kept looking back at me. I went back in the house and called my friend Dan for advice.  When I came back outside, and before Donna arrived, the heifer moved a little bit.  Also more of the calf had come out.

Donna arrived.  We watched and waited.  And waited.  For what seemed to be along time (but actually wasn't).   The heifer was quiet except for her breathing.  After a bit it seemed like the calf wasn't coming out any more. The calf appeared it was caught around the calf's rear hips.  The calf started to cry.  So I went in the corral to see if I could help pull the calf the rest of the way out.


I was able to grab on the calf's legs with my hands and hold on to pull.  I couldn't tell when the heifer had a contraction so I pull with a small amount of steady pressure until I could tell when she would have a contraction.  I also tried to pull in what would be a downward motion relative to the heifer standing up.  The calf was limp so I was also trying to take care when pulling to also move its head.

The next I knew Buddy the Bull was in the corral coming towards me and the heifer.  He had heard the calf's cries.  All I knew was that the cattle were at the far end of the pasture and I forgot to close the gate.  Buddy seemed concerned.  I stood up and tried to 'shoosh' him away.  Donna came into the corral to attend to the calf.  I was able to get Buddy back to the wooden feeder and he didn't want to go any further.

Donna stood up and came over telling me I was being too nice to Buddy. She waved her arms and in a loud sharp tone told Buddy to leave.  Buddy got a startled look on his face and between the two of use we herded him out of the corral and I closed the gate.

Even though I had gotten a rope for pulling the calf I didn't use it.  I was able to grip the calf's legs and pull.   No movement.  Then I realized I also was holding onto the end of the heifer's tail along with the calf's legs.  I let go of the tail and pulled and the calf quickly slid out of the heifer.

The heifer just laid there.  Donna suggested I pull the heifer up to the heifer's face so she could lick it and clean it.


The heifer put her forehead down to the calf's body then lifted her head again and just stared into space.  She was breathing heavy and seemed exhausted.  Who knows how long she was in labor.

I pulled the calf into the sunny side of the heifer and got some rags.  Donna and I wiped all the goo off the calf and massaged it.  The heifer just sat there, not moving, and staring into space.  The calf seemed to like us cleaning and massaging it.  She didn't shiver much.


Ok.. so I missed a spot on the calf's face.  The calf is a black white faced calf.  With a black spot around its left eye.  Similar looking to calf 8.  Same black spot around its left eye.


After we cleaned the calf we waited for the heifer.  She sniffed the calf but didn't lick it.

Once dried the calf looked bigger.  It was a large calf with long legs.  The heifer probably would have eventually completed the birth but it was hard for the both of them.


Donna and I waited.  Both calf and heifer laid there.  For a long time.


Finally the heifer got up.  Then we noticed that her back right leg was not working.  It was like her leg was asleep.  She could move it but she was very unsteady on that leg.  One time she fell over.  Fortunately not on the calf.  I think she may have temporarily pinched a nerve in her leg during delivery.

The heifer still didn't lick the calf but she was mooing at encouraging it to get up.  So Donna and I held our breath as both the heifer and the calf were unsteady on their feet.


As time went on the heifer appeared to have a little more use of her leg.  Now it was a wait to see the calf take her first drink.  The mother was nudging the calf and didn't appear to be rejecting it.  But she also didn't seem to quite know what to do.  Whenever the calf started to move from the mother's head and to try to 'drunkingly' walk to the back of the heifer the heifer would move and push the calf with her head.

Donna noticed that the calf's right front foot would curl over to the first knuckle when it first would stand up.  That made walking even harder for the calf.

I went over and tried to walk the calf to mother's udder.  But the heifer kept backing up as fast as I moved the calf.


So I picked up the calf and carried it over to the loading corral runway.  The mother followed me.  Once the mother got into the loading corral with its taller green grass she went to eating.  After a bit we got both mother and calf into a small section of the loading corral.


I lifted the calf into standing position on the mother's good leg side.  But the calf stumbled around and ended up on the mother's bad leg side.  But the mother's leg was better, and while not completely recovered, was no longer close to falling over.

The calf was looking for the udder but kept moving past the back leg.  I moved the calf's face in front of the leg and to a nipple.  When I felt its small teeth by my finger I let go.  The calf lost the nipple.  I tried again and again it lost the nipple.  Donna tried and then held the nipple and calf a little longer and the calf then got the hang of it and started sucking.

The calf drank lots. The calf then had a big bowel movement.



Mother still hadn't licked the calf to finish cleaning it.  I got some warm water and washed the calf's umbilical cord.  Then I sprayed some gentle iodine on it for disinfectant.


The heifer had lots of afterbirth.  After the calf drank from the heifer it appeared to have triggered a few small contractions causing the afterbirth to start coming out.



I left the pair in the loading corral until evening.  Before sunset Donna stopped by again on her way to the grocery store.  The heifer was walking almost normally.  The calf, having ate and slept, had more energy and was walking around.  And jumping.  A few times it would jump straight up in the air using all four of its legs.  Just because it could.

I let them out of the loading corral and let them have the corral to move around.  I put out hay and they had access to water.  I kept them in the corral overnight partly because the calf was a little bull calf. I would band him Monday to castrate him.

10 calves: first two were boys.  The next six were girls.  The last two were boys.  Go figure.


Monday noon Donna helped me band the calf.  The calf was shiny.  Mom must have finally gotten around to licking and cleaning her calf..


It took some effort to band the calf.  One of his balls kept slipping back down before we got the band fixed. It took both of us to make sure both balls stayed up and beyond the band.  We double checked before releasing the band.


I straddled the calf as I worked.  Once I was done I noticed my pants were wet.  The calf had peed while we worked on his balls.


Overall the calf was pretty relaxed as we worked on him.


When we were done his mother came over.  She was more upset than the calf had been.  Notice how big the calf is compared to his mother.  He is just 24 hours old.


 One final drink before being released into the pasture to join the other cattle.



In the afternoon I discovered Buddy in the middle pasture.  There was a weak section of fence where a few wooden posts had finished rotting over Winter.  Buddy found it before I could reinforce it.  I was able to coax Buddy along the fence halfway to the gate before he stopped.  After more coaxing Buddy suddenly ran away from the fence jumping and bucking a little bit.  He then circled back to the gate then stood there waiting for me to open it.

Once I opened the gate he ran through it then stopped.  Then he walked to the corral and laid down across the fence from the yearlings.

I went and added steel posts to fix the fence.  Beulah was nearby with her calf.  Panda's calf was there too.  Panda left her calf in her mother's care.   The rest of the cattle were at the other end of the pasture.  As I worked Panda's calf came over and walked up to me.  Beulah had a shocked look on her face.  I think by rubbing and cleaning the calf after birth Donna and I imprinted ourselves on the calf a little bit.  He is not leery of humans like most calves.

Panda saw me with her calf and came across the field to her calf.

Later that afternoon all the cattle were under the trees mid pasture or else at the feeder.  Panda's calf was curled up among the dead branches of a fallen tree near where I had fixed the fence.  All alone.  The calf tried to ignore me and sleep so I let him be.

Later I saw Panda walk from the feeder right past the cattle and then to the back trees.  When she got to the trees she called for her calf and walked around looking for it.  She couldn't see the calf curled up behind the tree.  So I walked out there and stood the calf up.  I 'walked' the calf out beyond the tree trunk until Panda saw her calf.  She came right over mooing at her calf.

Here is a 3 minute 47 second  video of the calf's birth and first steps: (also, near the end of the video, on the right side in the back ground are two cows fighting): https://youtu.be/MDmAp_rwoGc

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