Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Broccoli and a Bloated cow

Planted some broccoli with Joel this morning.  Not a bad morning..was a bit overcast but any morning on the farm is a good morning in my opinion.  He is moving his cows tomorrow from their winter pasture to their spring/summer pasture.  I'll show up extra early to help him corral.

I like mornings where I pick up valuable skills or experience something rare that every farmer wannabe should experience and today was one of those days.  We were walking up the road to the garden this morning when I noticed a cow laying on it's side.  To me it looked dead, I say that because it was bloated and laying kind of downhill not moving, but I haven't been around cows enough to really know when one is sleeping and one is dead.  Well, I must have a pretty good instinct because not long after Joel noticed the same cow and said "OH NO"...so apparently he thought it was dead too..and I mean dead.. because he didn't run over he just slowly walked towards the animals shaking his head..."Aw man" he said....I told him I didn't think it was dead because I had just noticed it twitch it's ear...Joel perked up and started making his way over there quickly and I followed likewise..."Help me roll her over" he shouted...I walked over and noticed her ear twitch again and saw her eyes were open but bulging out of her head...she was laying on a slope with her belly and feet facing "uphill"...He grabbed her back legs I grabbed her front legs and we rolled her over down the slope so she was facing the other way now...he and I pushed on her back and finished rolling her onto her belly....she perked her head up and let out a cow sized burp and a cloud of warm breath bellowed out of her meeting the cold morning air...Wow..drama and adrenaline...She slowly came around and it wasn't long till she stood up and started to regain her composure..

So what happened?  I'm not an expert but the jist is this:  Cows have four stomachs and sometimes the gases caused by digestion can become trapped if a cow lies down in an awkward way.  Meaning the gasses can't go from one to another.  What this particular cow did was probably lay down because she had found a nice spot, but because it was on an angle the gasses in her system built up and threw her off balance and she couldn't recover..and of course the longer she laid there the more gas built up and...well you get the picture...she was bloated and unable to move.  Joel checked the cows before bed last night so this must of happened a few hours before we got there...he said if it had been a couple hours longer she probably would have succumbed and died...another important lesson learned by experience.  

So... much like every day on the farm..eventful to say the least..peaceful work interrupted by episodes of near death experiences..haha..I love farming.