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.
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