Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dancing with the cow

This post ties in nicely with the one I did on Not Dabbling In Normal yesterday. It was a look at dairy animals on a small farm. This is the story of one dairy animal on our farm, and our obvious lack of infrastructure.

When you try to create a working farm on a property like ours (5 acres of mowed grass, a decrepit old barn, and a couple of sheds, with no trees, no fences, no pens, no water lines, no...) and on a budget like ours (pay as you go, make do or do without) infrastructure issues sometimes bite you in a big way.

Today was a perfect example. It was time to give wormer to the mob. I had been using Safeguard twice a year and an herbal wormer on a weekly basis. Last fall that system fell apart. Animals got sick. Animals died. Not good. This year I am using Ivormect Plus (not what I want to use long term, but I have some drainage and health issues to solve first). It requires an injection. Usually this isn't a problem. I can clip the goats to the fence in the barn, straddle them, and give them their shots no problem. If that doesn't work I can put them on the milk stand, and pin them against the wall. The cow is a bit of a different story. Usually I am fast enough to do her just like I do the goats (without straddling her, my leggs arent that long.) She jumps around a bit, and I dance out of the way. Everything is over without much fuss. Then treats all around and we are all friends again. Today I missed getting the needle in first jab. She danced, kicked bashed me with her head, and wouldn't let me touch her. The more I tried the crazier she got. Finally she turned around so she had me between the fence and her neck. She couldn't kick me or bash me too much. I popped the needle in under the skin on the other side and we were done. When I was young (and stupid) I used to go slam dancing just for the fun. Not so much any more. I'm going to feel this slam dancing session for a few days. I don't recomend dancing with a 600 pound angry cow. She always wins.

A squeeze shoot (or even a head catch and a well placed gate) would have made this job quick and mostly painless for eveyone involved. I guess it should move up the infrastructure list if we are going to continue to own cows.


Barbee' said...


our friend Ben said...

What Barbee' said.

Daphne said...

Yeah Ouch. Goats sound so much easier.

Alan said...

It's not really the cow's fault. If I tried to poke a dull needle under the skin of you neck you would probably jump around a bit too. The goats jumped, but they don't out weigh me by as much. Make's me want to just grow vegetables.

themanicgardener said...

Well, it doesn't sound as if life is dull...

Alan said...

Blunt, maybe, Kate. Definitely traumatic and too the point. Always INTERESTING!

karl said...

scary, ideed! i have been there.

i am curious what you are using the injectable wormer for? i didn't know they made an injection wormer that was safe for dairy animals, ever. but it has been awhile since i have purchased/ researched the big chemical crap (which we have had to use from time to time as well, despite our best intentions.)

tabitha not karl

Alan said...

Tabitha, I'm trying to clear up a liver fluke problem. We are leaving most of our animals dry this year until they are fully recovered. When we freshen the cow next spring I'll have the milk tested. Hopefully it will have flushed from her system by then.


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