Crisis On The Family Hobby Farm

In March we had 2 healthy bull calves born.  One has been sold for a good price and the other is growing nicely toward the freezer

The Scours:  That’s right, our 8 month old yearling bull has the scours.  Saturdays afternoon he seemed fine!  Sunday morning he was a little listless and hadn’t eaten the corn from yesterday but I was busy and had other things on my mind.  Monday morning he is down in the lot where he seldom goes and won’t come up when I call but I have to get the heater working in my truck.  It is cold again and supposed to stay this way for a few days.  Monday afternoon he is down in the field and can’t get up.  That quick!

It is 3 in the afternoon when I discover this.  I will be dark by about 5:30 or 6.  Pauline will be home shortly but other than her I don’t have any help and I don’t want to leave him the field overnight.  Dexter cattle are a small breed but at 10 months he is still about 400 pounds and can’t even stand let alone walk to the barn so a way to transport him has to be devised.  As the commercial says, I admit I am not the man I used to be; but I never was man enough to pick up a 400 lb. anything and carry it.  About 7 that ev3ning we finished up.  Had him in the barn a temporary stall set up feed and water available to him, all the water down his throat I could get and my neighbor gone home.

But that was the short version.

We started out with our flatbed trailer and the four wheeler.  Of course he is on the hillside.  Couldn’t lay down on the flat ground where we could get to him easier.  We started out by unhooking the trailer chocking the tires so it would not roll downhill tilting it up and rolling him on the back end and hooking back up to the four wheeler.  Of course just when we are hooked up again and ready to go he gets up just enough to get back off the trailer and lay down again.

This is not going to work!    We need a new plan.  What we settled on was a pallet.  4′ x 4′ sq..  Our neighbor shows up about this time and helps us get him on the pallet and tie him down.  Hook up to the four wheeler and away we DON’T go.  Too much drag. Leaves and dirt keep piling up in front of it and not enough power to get over it.

I have to go get the tractor and it is beginning to get dark by now so we hurry.  We hook up and drag him into the barn close it off so he can’t get out but more so other animals can’t get to him in his weak condition.  You know, neighborhood dogs, possible coyotes or just the unknown.

We have medicated with pills from the local co-op and poured, literally poured, he won’t even try to drink or eat on his own, all the water we can get h I’m to take down his throat.

I go out again before bed to check on him and give  him more water.  Tuesday morning he is still with us and seems a little stronger but still not up or taking liquid or feed.  Several times through the day right up till bedtime I go out and give him water.  He seems to be holding his own but no better.

Wednesday morning; he gone.  The first animal we have lost to any kind of sickness since we have been here.  Not a good feeling.

The cause?  I am not sure.  Even the universities can’t give a definite answer just a number of possibilities.     To the best of my knowledge I did not have any of the causes listed.  I have one thought and it is not a pleasant one.

He was in the same lot with the pigs.  Not a problem in itself except that he may have been trying to eat the undigested corn from their waste and naturally picked up bacteria from there if that is in fact the case.

The real cause though is that I did not pick up on the symptoms early enough to head it off regardless of the original cause.  Again: Not a good feeling.

Sorry if this lacks the humor that is normal for me.  I found no pleasure in writing this one.





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