Calf #82 has died

One of our new moms, #45, has lost a calf. We noticed when we were tagging another new calf that #82, the calf,  looked skinny. The moms and the calves are at our leased farm so we aren’t able to keep as close of an eye on them, only checking them every few days. Miguel texted me (I was delivering a cow to the processor) and asked what I wanted to do. We talked the next day and agreed that we’d either get the calf by himself or if possible get mom and the calf. This was complicated by the fact that the backhoe was down with a blown boom cylinder.

Backhoe cylinder off and ready for repair
Backhoe cylinder off and ready for repair

We use the backhoe when we load cows as we have to move and place a ramp we built that allow us to load cows from the ground up to the height of the trailer. With the backhoe down, we couldn’t place the ramp, so we couldn’t load the cows. Ugh. Well maybe we can load her from the ground. I’ve done it with milk cows, but they are a lot easier to deal with.

So let’s catch the calf, truss him up and place him the corral. Then when mom comes to be with him, we’ll lock them both in the corral. Then we’ll take junior and place him in the trailer. Then hopefully she’ll jump on to be with him and off we go. If not, we’ll have to force her on which will be no fun but maybe doable. I had to go another direction that day but Miguel and Vicente could handle if all went well. Ok, we have a plan.

While I was on the road, I received a phone call from Miguel. The calf was caught, and the mom showed no interest in him at all. She just walked off. The calf was very weak and minutes later died while in the back of the gator.

#82 dead in the back of the Gator
#82 dead in the back of the Gator

It was if the mom already knew.

From what we could tell, the mom had dried off and the calf wasn’t nursing. I don’t know if this is a result of the calf having a problem, or if the mom had an issue. At this point, it doesn’t matter. “Love your family, forgive your enemies. Do neither for your cows.” The calf is gone and the mom will now be marked for culling. She is #45, one that we were pretty happy about when she was born. Now she’ll be transferred into the beef cow category and be used for hamburger.

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

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