Everyone has this thought of a cowgirl in their mind. Sorry to burst your bubble. Most of us do not sander around with pointy toed boots with spurs, giant belt buckles, and cowboy hats with metal decorations on them. In fact, most of us wear baseball caps and sunglasses with our hair through them when necessary, and pony tailed hair with appropriate winter accessories like overalls and woolen caps. Boots are a necessity, as well as boot cut jeans. But what makes a cowgirl a cowgirl, is she raises cattle, and gets in and does the dirty work when needed.
Like today. Pepper is old and really needs retiring. She went into labor, but couldn’t get her little boy out. I noticed she was in the woods, and getting up and down and sniffing the ground. By the time I got Arlis, there was a white thing hanging out. That’s the sac.
After the sac showed, we gave her 30 minutes, then started to take notice. She had progressed to hooves showing, but nothing else. I made Arlis calm down and wait longer, then we started to get concerned. We called the vet. She was busy this afternoon. We called a different vet. He wasn’t very nice, but he did help. Arlis was able to reach in and feel the head. Everything was where it needed to be, it just wouldn’t come out.
Arlis pulled and I held Pepper’s head and comforted her. I now know how much it hurts to have a cow on your foot. She was real good and knew we were trying to help. Thankfully, dad was here and I yelled for him. Arlis got a rope, and dad came to help. We tied the knot to the hooves and pulled. It kept slipping off. We tried this knot and that knot. I wrapped it around a tree and pulled. Dad pulled. Arlis pulled. Nope. That’s when the second vet said to push on her pelvis, you know, one pulls, the other pushes her the other way. Be SURE you pull at a 45 degree angle down, NOT straight out.
(Pepper eating afterbirth)
So, dad went and got the come along. A come along is a wench that you use by hand. They can cause damage, so are only used if absolutely necessary. Marcus came and helped. Arlis tied to the hooves and pushed Pepper one way while holding her open more. I pulled the rope sideways to make sure it was pulling at the right angle. Dad used the come along. Marcus helped by pulling the way I did. Pepper was on her side, so we had to get the perfect angle.
(the new bull)
With three of us pulling sideways, and Arlis pushing the other way, she finally got up and walked away. Terrified it would pull out too soon, I was watching with fear as her calf came out alive and well. Wow!
She was bleeding a bunch, so I was scared, but it did stop. We went to get a tub and used buckets to fill it so she had water. She wouldn’t go anywhere. We left her alone a while, and went back to see her pass the afterbirth. This was a great sign that all was well! We went in to touch him and get him used to us and being touched. She didn’t fight us, and he got used to us.
She was new to us last year. She wasn’t mean, but she was never real friendly. Now, I think she knows we care, and she acts differently with us. At least for now.
In the meantime, Arlis was dying for a coke, so we washed our hands and went to the corner to get some 2 liters. He had calf juice all over his legs where he was wearing shorts and sneakers, a T-shirt and baseball cap. But, I’m pretty sure it’s not the first time they’ve seen a working cowboy before!
After several hours, we went to insure that he was nursing. That was interesting. I was crouching in a frog position, he was sucking my knees, I was frogging my way over to Pepper to grab a teet and put it in his mouth, Pepper was circling away from me because Arlis was holding her halter. This was a really annoying merry-go-round. After a good long while of this, the young calf reach up and grabbed my nursing appendage. This was quite unpleasant causing a relapse in the whole procedure. We did finally manage to get one in his mouth and left with her licking him and sucking noises. We stepped into the house where dad said, “Uh…you need showers.” It had been raining, Arlis got pooped on, and there was still birth fluid on the calf. Yes, showers were definitely needed. Now, how was your day?