A Sad Day On The Ranch

We are well into Spring calving season but today unfortunately we lost a calf. One of our mama cows was found agitated and having great difficulty delivering a calf. The calf was large and although the cow had previously calved without difficulty, she couldn’t deliver this calf.   We were to learn the calf was hung up at the shoulder (referred to as shoulder dystocia) and was clearly dead when we found the distressed mama.

The vet and her assistant came in an emergency call. We pulled the calf, using what is a essentially a “come along”. Following this the mama was able to get to her feet although clearly exhausted from a night of labor. Currently she’s in the pen where I will be giving her, if needed, shots of oxytocin to assist her in pushing out the placenta.

I’m sad over the loss of the little bull calf. I suppose for me this is therapy via my keyboard. I know occasionally we’ll lose a calf and, rarely, even a mama cow, but it still bothers me greatly. The sensation recalls how i felt during my practice when I would lose a patient to death. While inevitable, it still hurts. I never got used to it while practicing and suspect I will never get used to it ranching.

Ironically I was about to pick up a spreader full of fertilizer (8000 pounds) and begin treating our hay fields. Instead of fertilizer bringing forth new life, we instead lost life in a birthing process. Such is ranch life, I suppose, and tomorrow I’ll return to fertilizing. Meanwhile I will ponder the life that wasn’t. Such is life on the ranch. Happier days will follow.

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3 thoughts on “A Sad Day On The Ranch

  1. Janet Lindemann April 20, 2018 at 3:34 pm Reply

    Death of any life, especially one you cared for and nurtured is always sad.

  2. tomhuttonmd April 20, 2018 at 3:57 pm Reply

    Well said Janet.

  3. La Nelle Ethridge April 21, 2018 at 9:04 pm Reply

    I hate when anything dies, but for some reason I become more depressed over animals. I think this is odd, but I fear they don’t understand and are frightened. Then I remember, us humans are good at death either, we have lost our instincts. Maybe my concern is misplaced. Still sorry for the bull baby, the mama and you guys.

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