Well it was an eventful 4th of July at Orange Patch Dairy. Not the kind of eventful that most people had...family, friends, beer, food, fireworks, boats, lakes, camping, etc....it was milking, baby calves, cows, mixed up heifers, fresh cows with health issues and a downer cow.
Sometimes even though you make plans on a dairy farm, those plans have to be flexible-to change at the drop of a hat. We were planning on heading to a friend's place on Friday night for some "illegal fireworks"(in MN we can't fire off anything that leaves the ground or explodes, so we go to WI or SD to buy them and bring them home-he he!). BUT instead of going there, we got to stay home and sort heifers that thought it was the perfect time to bust through the gate and check out the other pen of heifers. After almost an hour of sorting and fixing fence, we finally finished and were too tired to head out-so we stayed home. On Saturday night we were going to head out for fireworks at a local baseball field-which does an AMAZING show, with Jon's family-a 9 year tradition for us. BUT....instead we got to deal with a cow that had a calf-which needed to be pulled. After pulling the calf out (this is not as painful as it sounds, but more like helping out the cow, so she doesn't have to work as hard) we needed to move the cow to the milk barn. This is usually a leisurely walk through the pasture to the barn, but this cow decided that she was going to go the wrong way and as a result fell down. Dairy farms have downer cows, they happen, it's how we deal with them that makes the difference. Most farms focus on make sure that the walking surfaces provide good traction-which we had, but sometime we can't manage for "stupid". Cow are smart animals, but sometimes they are just down right stupid. With small brains they can't process much, so they can easily get themselves in bad places-such as this cow. We put down some barn lime (course calcium carbonate used for traction) hoping this would help her stand up. But instead of trying to stand up she decided to be stubborn! Darn cow! Frustrating really, but this cow was determined to get up on her own time. We thought she might have milk fever. Milk fever is a metabolic disease that occurs in cows post calving that are low in calcium. The cure for this is a bottle of calcium administered via IV. So we got the IV set and gave her a bottle of calcium...BUT she still didn't want to get up...so we let her sit. We continued with the rest of our chores and came back....she finally got up-all by herself! Darn cow was just being stubborn! We moved her and milked her and were still way too late to make the trip for fireworks, so we settled for watching the ones in town after we went home, and called it a night.
Not an excited weekend by normal standards, but in the world of dairy farming, it is the way it goes...maybe next year we will make it out ;)