Our downed mother cow is still down. It has now been 2 weeks and we’ve lost hope that she’ll get up. It’s heart-wrenching to see her. She’s getting sores on her legs, and her front legs have lost their muscle tone as well.
We’ve gotten her up using the hip lifters a few times, to no avail. When we lower her to the point where she has to support her own weight, the legs just melt underneath her. They are useless.
The sad truth is we are going to have to put her down. It is a painful decision to make, but we don’t want her to suffer any longer. We’ve kept her as comfortable as possible, with a shade tent over her, fresh grass and water every 2 hours (many thanks to Mom and Gordy for taking over this job for the past week), fly spray to keep the darn things off of her, and some green apples for treats. But she is fading and it is obvious she is giving up hope as well–her ears are drooping and she’s no longer making an effort to stand. We are going to have to help her along in her journey so she doesn’t suffer any longer.
Honeysuckle, her calf, has given us a few scares as well. For the first week, she would hardly wake up to eat. When we’d call her, her eyes would open and she’d start to lick her lips but she wouldn’t raise up her head. It’s quite alarming when you grab her by the ears, lift her head up, and then let go only to have her head flop backwards in an awkward position. There were many times where we had to check her breathing to make sure she was still alive. When she’d finally wake, she would eat only a little bit before lying down again.
The past two days, however, have been a different story. All of a sudden she’s perked up. Marcel gave her a strong dose of vitamins in the form of a paste and I read online that perhaps I was making her milk too strong. I’ve diluted her milk-replacer a bit and she’s chugging down 2 bottles, twice a day and still asking for more. What a relief!
She really is adorable. Madelina and Armando have taken it upon themselves to be her playmates–riding their bikes around in the barnyard with her, jumping around and teaching her how to kick up her heals. It’s pretty hilarious. And she is now my personal alarm clock, mooing loudly at the gate first thing in the morning, awaiting her breakfast. She gets going at around 5:30 a.m., not caring that I don’t like to get up that early. Marcel just laughs and says, “Your newest daughter is calling you.”
I’d rather he said, “Don’t worry, sweetie. I’ll feed her.”
Oh well. She’s doing well and is the one positive outcome from this situation, so I’m not going to complain. OK, so maybe I’ll complain a little.
I wish I had happier news to share with you about the mother. If there’s one lesson that farmers learn early and often: there isn’t always a happy ending.