On November 4th, Vicente came and grabbed me first thing in the morning and told me one of the cows looked wrong. Miguel and I were right in the middle of planning out a busy day so I hoped maybe Vicente was wrong, and the cow just got up on the wrong side of the bed.
A quick look and sure enough, he was right. #11, our best momma cow, was beginning to bloat. She seemed to be handling it well and was still passing gas (burping) but not enough to get rid of the swelling. After watching her for about 20 minutes I decided we better treat her. We rigged a corral out of temporary wire and moved her to the barn yard, then into the corral, then into the head gate.
At this point, we inserted a trocar and bled off the gas she had in her stomach. For our new interns, Yarik and Felix this was a new experience. Felix wants to be a farrier so I made sure he came over and got some up close and personal experience with home surgery. I also reassured him that if he fell and hurt himself, we’d doctor him up right there and then as well. (That’s how we motivate people to be safe around here.)
After some clean up and observation we decided to put her back in the pasture with the trocar still in her rumen. That is our normal practice, to leave it in for a few days to make sure everything has normalized. I wasn’t too excited about the way the trocar had gone in but it seemed to be good enough and I didn’t want to have to put her through any more to reinsert it.
That afternoon, she had swollen again. Apparently the trocar had gotten plugged or dislodged so we had to get her back into the head gate again. She was well aware of just how fun the head gate was so this time it took a bit more coaxing but we eventually got her in there. However by the time we got her in all the running around had unclogged the trocar so there wasn’t really anything to do. What to do?
I didn’t want to have to chase her all over again, so I decided we should put her in the barn. I knew she wasn’t going to be happy in the barn because her calf, #51, was out in the pasture. #11 is our best mom. She’s actually the mother of Boyd, our up and coming herd bull and she’s a large part of why we kept him as our bull. I knew she wouldn’t like being away from baby but baby weighs about 600 pounds now so he should be ok one night.
After getting her in the barn, I finished up everything else that had to be done and checked on her after dark. Laying down and calm. Thank goodness! First thing in the morning I’ll check on her and hopefully she’ll only be off pasture and away from her calf for one night.
Yeah right! I don’t know when she decided she wasn’t staying, this picture was about 4am. Probably the first time her calf called for her she decided she’d make her break. I didn’t even have to look for her. She’d left all the food sitting in the barn yard and had gone straight back to her calf. I just raised the hot wire and let her go back into the paddock to be reunited. The good news is she was feeling much better. After it stops raining, we’ll get her back up here and remove the trocar and she’ll be right as rain.