We received some much needed rain again last night. While it was not the inches of rain that we were hoping for it was the tenths of rain that we needed to make the crop green again and help them last until the next rain shower. After the joy of that we were greeted with a little sadness this morning.
After checking the heifer pens for heifers in heat (ready to breed to become pregnant and calve) and the dry cows for new baby calves, I noticed something odd. There was a heifer laying awkwardly next to the hay bunk. I rushed over to see what was wrong, and my heart just sank! It's was one of our favorite heifers Nitty Gritty, who we moved into this pen a couple days ago. She was dead :( I cried. It's what I do. We have 100 cows, 100 heifers, and I know everyone by name, coloring, and personality. I can name each of their mothers, grandmothers and daughter. I take it very personally when one leaves us....especially like this. Overnight, Nitty Gritty had put her head through a corner in the hay bunk, got it stuck and couldn't get out. Since it happened at night no one saw her or heard her-and after fighting for awhile, she suffocated and died. It's making me cry now just thinking about it. Accidents happen in life with humans and on farms with animals, but every time it happens it's still hard to swallow. Nitty Gritty was 5 month pregnant with her first calf and would have joined our herd this winter. We lost her mother a year ago. Her mother was an awesome cow, so we had high hopes from Nitty Gritty. What consumers don't know is that every time this happens on a dairy farm-the farmer, the employees, anyone involved with that animal's life, is hurting. If it was possible, most dairymen would love to see their cows live long lives, well into their 20's, but cows are not built to live much over 10 years old. We raise them from babies into adulthood-it's hard to let go. So today we laid Nitty gritty to rest, to join her mother in heaven with the other cows on green pastures and open free stall barns....God Bless her and take good care of her, we will miss her dearly!