Friday, February 26, 2010

Where o where

I usually start these posts with at least a general idea and a general direction. This post will play out over the next several hours. It may have a happy ending, it may not be happy at all. Hopefully it won’t end without a final answer but that is yet to be seen. It is 6 p.m. as I type this portion Friday evening.

This all started this morning in the rain. It had been raining most of the night and has rained pretty much all day today at some level. The yearlings and the baby sitter cows are here on the “home” place and also have access to the “Dixon” place. The area is 300 plus acres of mostly tall Russian ryegrass pasture. Blog post “The babysitter” on January 26th has a picture that will give you some idea. Yesterday one of the babysitter cows had a new heifer calf which I tagged and had suckled and received its colostrum from its mother. Colostrum is the first milk a calf gets and it is very important in that it has many natural antibodies the calf needs to start life well. Last evening the calf was with its mother and all seemed well.

This morning the yearlings were scattered all over the 300 acres and were in several small groups. I am guessing they traveled in the night because of the rain and found shelter under many scattered trees across the place. When I arrived with the feed they all came to where I was from several different directions. I noticed cow 2037w did not have her new calf with her. I was not all that concerned because she had been sucked and I guessed the newborn was napping somewhere comfortable and her mother would return after eating some hay. I made a mental note and went on with my day. I fed and checked the special needs cows, tagged two new calves there, fed the fall pairs and then built a bit of hotwire fence around the triticale circle.

After lunch I went to Basin City, fed and tagged two calves. I had one cow that was outside the fence and it took over an hour to walk her back from where she had traveled to. I came back home, checked the two new calves from the special needs cows and then drove through the yearlings and babysitter cows. 2037w still did not have a calf with her but she seemed unconcerned but I decided I should find the calf before dark. I just spent 3 hours on a four wheeler in the rain and still have not found the calf. The cow is walking around now bawling too and can’t seem to find her baby. It is now 6:26 p.m. and I am headed out with the spotlight and a high degree of anxiety. I will update this later.

It is now 8:32 p.m. after two hours of searching I still have found nothing. The cow is still traveling and looking but now seems more frantic and is no longer concentrating on one area. I am really frustrated and questioning my decision to let things be this morning. Now I am second guessing whether the cow had really been sucked, or were her teats wet just because of the rain. The not knowing is the worst of all. Finding the calf dead would not be pleasant, but it would be preferable to the not having any idea. I still have some slight hope because the cow was not looking all afternoon. That tells me she bedded down the calf at some point and it is still there. At some point the calf should get hungry though and stand and bawl. If this happens the cow will surely find it. I am starting to think maybe something like an accident happened like the calf slipped into the ditch but that is a total guess. One positive thing is the temperature is relatively warm at 42 degrees but there is still sporadic light rain. I am going to try again in a bit. It does not make sense that the calf would be on the Dixon place but I am going to look. The issue there is the whole thing is tall thick grass and I do not want to run over a sleeping calf. I will be back again later.

It is now 11:21 p.m. and nothing new to report. I will take another round around 3 a.m. Sorry for the downer post but sometimes life is just that way.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Northern Pintail aka Anas acuta.

Today’s picture is one of my incorrectly tagged calves who decided the hay would make a nice bed.