Death (a reflection)

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by dosthouhavemilk, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I wrote this last night. It is religious, and I am giving you a heads up. I thought some of you could relate, especially those who have lost their ladies or boys in the past couple of weeks.
    I felt I needed to share with you all...not srue why. maybe it will touch someone and alter their life is some small way.


    Death
    No matter how many times I see a life enter the world and breath for the first and how many times I've held physically or emotionally a life dimming and a soul leaving this world to join the Lord, I don't think I will ever get used to it.
    Marmalade was born on Monday, January, 17, 2005. She left this world, less than an hour ago. She was held in my arms and it wasn't until her spirit had left that I finally knew her name. Dad says we have never had a cow named Marmalade...and we aren't likely to either. We rarely reuse names and it is never on purpose.
    I work in a job where life and death are common occurences. I am numbed to a certain extent and that showed in how I immediately began to think about how and where we were going to put her body to make room for the other calves that are coming. She hadn't been dead five minutes and I was already putting her in a Primer sack before rigor-mortise set in. Because after that it is difficult to form them how you want them. Anyone watching would think I was heartless and cold, but I am not.
    I guess it helps that I no longer see a being but a body, organic matter. The soul, the essence, the being itself is no longer there. It has gone to be with the Lord.....


    I can't help but blame myself for not being a better person and that makes me selfish. If I had spent the required amount of time down there I might have saved her. If dad didn't have so much to handle, she might have made it. So many ifs and no way to go back and correct all the mistakes. Once it is over, it is over and you can't bring them back and you can't apologize.
     
  2. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Please don't beat yourself up over Marmalade. I know it must hurt so bad to see something so precious not make it. I know God will give you the extra portion of comfort you need right now.
     

  3. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

    Sometimes when things go awry I remind myself of when I was a kid and played baseball. There are times when I could see the pitcher throw the ball, watch the batter hit the ball, see the ball headed for deep center field, run as fast as possible toward the ball, make every effort to catch it, and still miss.

    It is much easier it is to miss the ball when one doesn't know exactly when the pitcher will throw the ball, the batter will hit the ball, and can't see the ball coming.
     
  4. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Ah Roseanna ... You didn't say what happened to little Marmalade. Sometimes it seems they just can't quite draw that breath of life, though. :( I think that's what happened to one of the lambs my ewe delivered this morning. She was in labor when I left for work ... I gave my husband instructions, checked in via cellphone. When I got home, there was a healthy ewe lamb up and nursing, and a dead ram lamb in the back of the pen. Gary hadn't noticed it ... he thought it was the afterbirth. (Well, the barn is kind of dim.) I drove myself nuts wondering whether I might have saved it had I been here, then decided if it momma's cleaning and talking to it wasn't enough to bring it around, chances are, nothing I could have done would have, either.

    Sorry for your loss. :(
     
  5. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm always amazed at winter. We are not nearly as cold as some of you but this weekend was the chilliest and the wind chill the worst in awhile. We not only lost that six day old heifer calf, but I lost my bull calf born yesterday (he died this morning around 1:30) and a doe who had not yet reached her first birthday. Dad would not have been suprised if Acorn (who will be 11 on the 30th) had passed. His hands were freezing to the metal handles of the milk buckets during milking last night.


    As for what happened with Marmalade. We aren't sure. She was huge when born, front feet stiff and unable to stand. Never really took to drinking like we would have expected her to. Dam was hard to hand milk out (this cow has stepped on and torn two of her three good teats), so I only got 3/4 of a pound into the calf in the first twelve hours(dad gave her a full bottle within 24). She was scouring and I had just started her on the medicated Sav-A-Calf that morning. When I tried to feed her again that evening and I held her, I just knew there was nothing left I could do and we were going to lose her. Sure enough her breathing slowed and eventually stopped while she was draped over my lap. She was never really vigorous from the get go and there was no real reason for it. We still do not have a heifer to pass on Lady's good genetics (her udder has seen better days but her genetics are superb).
    The bull calf we lost was tiny and he had not stood in the two hours before we milked his mother. We ended up tubing him to try and get him warmed and moving. He became too chilled and was damp and he just didn't make it. My cow has had three bull calves (and a Jerangus heifer her first lactation)..two of them died within the first day and the thrid we almost lost last year.

    One good thing though. Thumbelina calved with a heifer calf (half sister to Marmalade on the Sire side..split straw actually). This calf was up in the first hour and is doing beautifully. We had not had a heifer since 9/2/04 when Freedom's Song was born...at least seven bull calves, but no heifers.


    We have an extremely low mortality rate in our calves (both male and female)...the last calf we lost that was where we could take care of it inside, that wasn't deformed....actually, I can't think of any that weren't deformed to begin with in the last three years. We have lost some outside, but do not lose them once they are inside. Though Calliope (that heifer I was worried about earlier) will probably never reach maturity. So to lose two in the same week is just devastating and extremely frustrating.
     
  6. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    AUGHHHHHHHH! :yeeha:

    Regarding the weakling calves, sometimes I think it's better for them to go quickly ... I have struggled to save weak lambs and kids, only to lose them later on.

    Read somewhere that Nature has very little invested in newborns ... so the natural way for a weak baby is to go quickly so Momma will be re-bred and perhaps produced healthier offspring on the next go-round. That makes a lot of sense, from a "survival of the fittest" perspective, but it's sure hard to take when you see a coveted heifer go under. :(
     
  7. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    After talking to dad he pointed out that the Marmalade had more problems than simply the deformed front legs (which I treated with Bo-Se). He said her eyes and head were oddly shaped, so there was no telling what all was wrong on the inside....So there was nothing we could have done.

    They saved a heifer calf who was as close to dead as dad had seen. Named her Lazarus and she made it into the milking herd but was sold in her first lactation. Seems you can fight and fight to save an animal but if tehy are intenet on dieing, they win eventually. Dad lost a heifer to bloat decades ago. She kept bloating herself and he would save her, eventually she won out and he didn't get to her in time. Nature is strange that way. Sue-she (the doe we lost) was very inbred (son to mother breeding) and I had been worrying who I was going to breed her to (we have full size bucks and her dam isn't pure pygmy) and it was somewhat of a relief to see her go as she was having a very hard time.

    The most frustrating thing about those seven bull calves? They were all in sets of two animals due on one day. Two due in early Oct., two due on 11/30 and two on 12/2...all bull calves....You would figure with four animals due within two days of each other you would get at least one heifer..but no...all bulls. We had seven heifers born in 2004. We also have goats. On 12/29/03 We had two does and one cow give birth..the results? Five bucks and one bull calf. :rolleyes:

    I had a gut feeling that I didn't need to do more than I had for my bull calf because he just didn't have the want to live. I could see it in his eyes. But it is still frustrating.

    Wish cows had a shorter gestation period...lol Or had more babies. We have so many cows that are the end of their line of animals and they just aren't doing well when it comes to having heifers. And then we have lines like Freedom's where there are great-granddaughters and now, since Jason, is a grandson, her line will have tons of offspring.
     
  8. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Well look on the bright side ... llamas go for 350 days! :eek:
     
  9. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Egads! And they only have one right? :no:
    Remind me never tio consider llamas, cows are hard enough to wait that long for.

    I think I would drive myself insane if I worked at a zoo with elephants. lol
     
  10. momanto

    momanto SW FLORIDA HAPPYLAND

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    Remember Not A Sparrow Falls But What The Lord Knows.

    We Lost A Calf Dec. 14. It Was A Little Over A Month Old. It Was Orphaned After It Was About A Week Old. It Ran Wild With The Herd, Altho A Cow It Would Baaaaa Across The Distance If The Herd Left It. We Could Never Catch It. Finally We Found It Near Death And Brought It Home. In Less Than Three Days It Died. I Believe Our Actions Of The Evening Before Brought It On. It Was So Precious. I Can Still Feel Its Nubby Hide Under My Fingers. If I Had It To Do Over I Would Call The Vet At Once. I Always Thought If We Could Just Catch It We Could Get It On Its Feet And It Could Be My Pet. But We Did Not Work A Miracle. We Buried Way Out Back. I Cried And Prayed And After They Laid It On The Hole I Handed A Long Winter Scarf They Wrapped Around Its Neck. Then I Laid A Bright Christmas Decorated Tee Shirt On Top Of It. Then They Closed The Little Grave With Dirt. We Went On To The End Of The Pasture As Ds And Dgs Were Checking Out Putting A Y To The Penning Lane. There Were About 8 Cows Out There So I Told Ds To Put Some Feed Out For Them. Then I Told Him To Put The Whole 50 # Bag Out For Them. And It Was Like They Had A Nice Fellowship Meal After The Little Funeral.
     
  11. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Winter is a trying time and husbandry to aniamls comes with its hardships.
     
  12. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    My condolences as well. :(

    Roseanna, I wasn't able to get that picture to open! Can you upload it here?

    My calf Libby-Belle is a Jersey cross ... her mother was bred when we got her. I'm not sure what the bull was ... I suspect he may have been a beef bull? Anyway, here she is on the day she arrived in this world. Awwwww! :D

    [​IMG]
     
  13. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hmmm, it worked yesterday.

    She is a beauty..makes me think of maybe a Holstein/Jersey cross, with the sire maybe being more Jersey than Holstein. What color is she now? Though it could be Brown Swiss. The color around her legs and face are what have me thinking Brown Swiss. I've only seen JerAnguses and Jersey/Norwegian Red crosses.

    To simplify things I will jsut send you to the album itself.
    The bovines

    It is the picture way at the bottom of Cherry and Spitfire.
     
  14. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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  15. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    WOW what beautiful cows Roseanna! You're a great photographer too. The 'tongue' shots cracked me up!!! :haha:

    I was told Libby-Belle's sire was a Jersey x Belted Galloway x Guernsey cross, but I also heard a beef bull got in with the farmer's cows, so I dunno! She definitely has a very furry winter coat, more like a beef cow than dairy. But her frame, as she matures, looks more like a Jersey. Well, she is half Jersey anyway -- that much I know for sure!

    That calf of yours above has such an interesting head -- looks like a little deer! I don't know much about Norwegian Reds -- are they a dual-purpose breed? What are your NR x Jersey crosses like?

    We have a couple Jersey x Holsteins gals on the farm where I work, and I really like 'em. They tend to have the Holstein higher production in a smaller-framed cow, perfect for homesteaders. One has a perfect 'dishy' Jersey face and Jersey personality although she's nearly all black, with just a little white on her flanks.

    I'm hoping Teeny's calf turns out to be a Jersey cross! :)
     
  16. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am fascinated by the cows who play with their tongues. Each family seems to have a similar way of rolling their tongues. Mamba makes a *huge* slobbery mess when she is bored. :rolleyes:

    Guernsey I recognize but unfortuantely don't know much about Belted Galloways. It looks like they ar considered a beef breed.
    I just love this site:
    Breeds


    The calf in the picture I was able to post was Spitifre, the only JerAngus we kept from our Angus clean up bull. She ended up being very black (with her white hoof) and very shaggy. Almost made it into the herd but the next year we had 15 heifers born and we didn't need her, so we sold her.

    The Norwegian Red has been bred in two directiosn aparently. Originally they were crossed with other beef breeds, but then they started breeding for production and crossing them with Holsteins.
    We have two half Jersey, half Norwegian Red cows, 14-3/4 Jersey, 1/4 Norwegian Red heifers/cows and our first two 7/8 Jersey, 1/8 N.R. heifers were born in 2004. They are *big* animals. One of our 3/4 Jersey, 1/4 N.R. first calf heifers was taped at 1100 lbs. Their calves are good sized and grow quicker than our purebreds.
    They are producing wonderfully and their SC counts are so very low. Slicker (a half and half), was giving close to 100 lbs. of a milk a day earlier this lactation (she is on her second lactation). The components on some of the 3/4 Jersey, 1/4 N.R. cows is better than some of our purebreds. The bull we kept was out of one of our best dam lines component wise and it passed through her son.
    They really have been a treat and it is sooo nice that they are doing so well. WE had one eyar where we had two heifers born. The next year we had 16. Our replacement numbers are not very high and since they were almost all out of the same bull..if he had not done well we would have been in serious trouble. He started settling the cows at only 8 months of age! We weren't concerned about him being in with the mature cows until we noticed we weren't seeing any heats. :haha:
    We are breeding them all back to Jersey, but the N.R. provides some outcrossing vigor and they really are doing well and tehy look neat. :)

    I have seen photos of Jersey/Holstein crosses. Fascinating looks to them. You bred Teeny to the Jersey correct? I hope it turns out to be a beautiful heifer calf. :)