Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
It snowed, snowed, and then snowed some more.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our New Little 'Wee Ones'

This week has been a busy and very tiring one around here. We started moving the cows off of the creek and onto the mountain for the summer, and I had become the proud mommy of 3 bum calves  in one day.

Trail Canyon
Moving the cows comes natural to Roger and I by now, we are so use to riding that our behinds don't even get sore anymore. The horses on the other hand all go through that spring fever bucking test that they seem to think you need  to take every spring, even if you have rode them most of the winter they still want to make sure that you are qualified to ride them for the upcoming year. I am very proud to tell you that I have passed our riding test with flying colors, Roger on the other hand..not so much!!

The first day was a good day, we moved the cows about 20 miles and left them at Crows Roost for the night. There was around 30 new calves in the herd but the moms keep them moving right along so we had an early day and got back to the creek around 5:30 and home by 7:30. The next day we went down from Main Canyon to regather our cows and move them up to Trail Canyon. As we got to Crows Roost there was one cow that had just had her calf and another calf laying off by itself bawling like crazy, so I figured that either it's mom had went back to Willow Creek while it was sleeping or she had went further up the canyon. When I rode over to the calf, I could see that it had blood all over it's face and something was wrong with it's mouth, but when the calf saw Rusty it jumped up and shot off up the road like a rocket. I commented to Roger, 'I wonder what happened to that calf', but just shrugged it off. By the time we got the cows all back together this little calf was still pretty jumpy and wasn't looking for it's mom and there were no mom's mooing to her. I told Roger that I was going to ride back and check for tracks at the fence to see if a cow had gone back, but there were no tracks on the fence line and the only cow there was the one with the new baby.

I named her Zina.

By this time, I had decided that mom was no longer around and couldn't figure out where in the heck she had went to but maybe she had fallen into a sink hole. When we got to the bottom of Trail Canyon, I refreshed my roping skills - which I haven't used since the 4-wheeler had removed my arm, but after a unbelievable amount of attempts, and the calf feeling sorry for me, she ran into my loop. After Roger stopped laughing, he got off and grabbed the calf and he looked up with the strangest look and said 'it's tongue is gone!'.  I jumped down to look at the calf and it's face was torn up, it's lips had holes in them and sure enough, it's tongue had been bitten off. What I didn't see were the bite wounds in her neck. When a calf if really bawling, they stick out their tongues about 3 to 4 inches, and this tongue was took off right at where it would have been by the nose of the calf, the whole thing was gone and her head was really warm. If a predator bites an animal, they are so infested with germs that the cow or calf will run a high fever very quickly, so I then knew that the cow had been killed by either a pack of coyotes or lions. I put the calf in the horse trailer and finished moving the cows up to the next fence line.

Buddy always baby sitting.
It seems that while I was gathering up this little gal to take care of, Clay and Becky were on the creek with our vet, John Mathis. Two of the mother cows had fallen on the ice and broke their legs, so John had come out to C-Section the calves. After we got home and had cleaned up our wee one, Clay pulls up and open his tail gate and unloads 2 wet, freshly delivered babies, so my porch had just become a nursery again. Clay said something about them being a 'little' premature so they would have to eat during the night, I am thinking - what about my sleep!! Well our calf was quite an eater even with her missing tongue and the calf that was suppose to be the most premature was willing to suckle, but the other one wouldn't suck so I tubed her. At the 11pm feeding, the one calf wouldn't suckle so I tubed her again, then again at the 3 am feeding. The other wee one had already gotten up and was stumbling around the porch leaving her deposits everywhere, but the 2nd calf wasn't really trying to get up. At 6 am, I had Roger help her up and she was walking but she still wouldn't suckle, so I tubed her again. I didn't want to leave her, but we had to go finish moving the cows, Clay decided to go with us so I could get back sooner to the calves. Every thing was going as planned until we came across a downed tree and a drift of snow about 3 feet deep, then it was slow motion for several hours.

Getting the calf to stand.
By the time we got home this calf had taken a turn for the worse, she was having a hard time breathing and was very weak. I ran in to call Dr. John and the phone actually worked, but when it was time for him to call me back I had no service!! This can drive you crazy at times. I emailed my friend, Debbie and had her call the Dr. back and relay the message. It was a down hill fall from then on. The wee one made it though the night and into the afternoon of the next day, but she no longer would even try to support her head, I had to go check the heifers and by the time I got back to the house, she had passed. I can't tell you how bad I feel when I can't help the wee ones, they are so defenseless, innocent and trusting. This is where I have been told that I need to be tougher, but I just love them all. Dr. John told me that she was just to premature to make it one her own and that there was nothing more that I could have done for her, this still didn't make me feel any better.

Left, riding up the back side of Winter Ridge.

Right, is Midnight cuddling with Shadow. Shadow was fading pretty quick.

Clay taking a herd up the draw to the top of Winter Ridge.

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