Friday, October 21, 2011

The Other Side of Yesterday

Back last Sunday I posted a series of pictures under the title "Yesterday" and many of you commented on what a beautiful day it must have been. Well, weather wise, it was. But it was actually a pretty bad day and the picture of the buzzard soaring overhead has a darker side,

What happened was that a neighbor's recently acquired heifer escaped and got in with our herd. She wasn't there long -- less than a day -- but evidently she introduced some really awful respiratory disease. By the time we got medical advice (no large animal vets in our area,), one cow had died, and by the time we could get the appropriate meds, three more were gone. It was like the plague.
John loaded the first one on the truck and took her to the landfill.
But when there were three more to deal with, he rented a small track hoe to dig a very big hole.
And we rounded up the survivors and John shot them full of the appropriate antibiotics. 
He was ably assisted by Justin who's a real calf wrangler...

The head gate works well to hold the cows still but not so well for the little calfies.
The ladies in our rental house came out to help -- Nancy assisted with filling the hypodermics and Suzy worked the gate.
 
When it was all done, we shared a celebratory bottle of bubbly --  and kept our fingers crossed that the meds and vaccine would do the trick.
We were unlucky with this outbreak but lucky to have caught it before it went further ... and lucky to have helpful friends.
And Justin made plans to make use of that rented track hoe, doing all sorts of long dreamed of or postponed projects.
That was Saturday and the cattle all seem to have responded well to treatment. (The milk cows and Xena and Clover were not in the infected group and they have been moved to other barns to keep them safe. They've also been vaccinated.)

I didn't tell you about this in last Sunday's post-- such a downer. But as I read all the comments, I realized I needed to show the other side of what is usually a pretty idyllic life. 

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25 comments:

Ms. A said...

That's terrible, Vicki. How do you ever get used to dealing with things like this? Did the heifer that caused this, die too?

Desiree said...

What a sad day! I'm so pleased to hear you managed to arrest the problem before it caused anymore heartsore.

Martin said...

The pain of managing livestock, Vicki. My heart goes out to you. Glad to hear that the rest are responding well to the drugs.

Reader Wil said...

The care for cattle must be very frustrating at times. It is time consuming and of course one hopes that all the cattle keep healthy. You were lucky to have such capable help! Thanks for your visit.Good luck with the cows!

sunny said...

i like your post,hope you will visit my blog too

Alan Burnett said...

A sad tale indeed : and it is amazing how quickly such diseases can spread. These days we tend to think of the rapid transmission of diseases in terms of humans sneezing in trans-continental airplanes : I suppose the roaming cow is just as deadly in its own way.

KarenB said...

I'm so sorry, Vicki. Bad as it was, I have to contemplate how horrible such an illness would have been in days past without antibiotics. What a terrible tragedy the loss of an entire herd would have been.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

How sad Vicki. I am so sorry to hear this. Sometimes it's easier to portray life on the sunny side than share the dark side. Thanks for sharing this with us. We feel your pain and hope this is behind you. My heart goes out to you and John.
Sam

Brian Miller said...

you have to take the good with the bad...sorry you lost several cows...i hope you were able to stop it at three...

Elora said...

I'm so sorry, Vicki! What a horrific experience. How fortunate that you were able to cut your losses by quick action. What the heck was it? We had a break-in two weeks ago, by six of our neighbor's steers. I thought about something like this happening, but dismissed it as perhaps over-reacting. So far, though, we're fine.

Thanks for sharing. I will not chastise myself for a precautionery stance in the future.
Elora

Vicki Lane said...

This is part of farming, part of life. As the farmer who was our mentor some thirty years ago said, 'Them as has, can lose.'

One gets a bit numb-- but this had me feeling a bit Job-ish.

But we still have it so much better than those farmers all over the world who deal with flood and famine and the loss of everything.

The roaming heifer, as far as I know, is okay. She may have been vaccinated at the stock yard -- but was still a carrier.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Sorry to hear of your misfortune. I'm surprised there are no large animal vets in your area. All of our local vets have mixed practices and see everything that walks on 4 legs, has feathers, or crawls. I guess having no large animal vets goes along with having no hacker man. We had a company, Darling & Darling, that picked up dead animals from farms when I was a kid. We always hated to have to call them! Jim

Mama-Bug said...

So glad this story had a better ending. So glad the jersey girls and the calves were safe. Have a great weekend Vicki!

Carol@The Writers Porch said...

First...the cattle are gorgeous! Are they Angus? This is so sad! Not only heart wrenching but a 4 cows is great financial loss as well. Also having to give them antibiotics is a downer. We have a family member who bought a stockyard yearling that introduced Black Leg to his herd years ago and he has to vaccinate all the time because the farm itself is contaminated. We keep anything from the stockyard separate for three weeks just to be safe but of course yours could not be helped since it was a break-in!

Mel said...

Thanks for sharing the whole story with us, and so sorry about your cattle. What a sad loss. Thankfully you caught it when you did, and you have nice neighbors to help when things go wrong.
I really like the words from your farmer mentor, and I'm hoping you have more having than losing.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

So nice of you of not sayng it last su day to keep a bright and light and happy thought, but it was more than nice of you to say the othere side of what happened. That is truly a sad story but you are right at least you were able to do somethng before it became big. Lucky you to have good friends.

Nice farm... I love it... Can i come t visit? Hehehe...

JJRod'z

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Vicki

Yes, very sad and I am so sorry to hear about this.

I am also sorry you had to go
through this.

Best
Tracy :)

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh, I am so sorry. Farm life doesn't come without its pitfalls but that doesn't make them any easier to bear. But good friends and neighbors do indeed make it a bit easier.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm dropping by again to say "The Other Side of Yesterday" would be a great title for a book. It really grabs you and I can't get it off of my mind.
Sam

Vicki Lane said...

Thank heavens for antibiotics, indeed! The ones who were looking poorly were much improved by the next day and (Knocking on wood) seem to be fine now.

Jim -- there used to be a knacker man -- Asheville Byproducts -- that would come out and haul off the corpses. No more. And the only large animal vets around deal in horses only. Another thing that's changed. We used to have one just next door.

The cattle are Red Devons, Carol.

And I like the title too, Sam, and am thinking it could even work for the book I'm currently wrestling with...

June said...

Wow, what a horror story that could have been so much worse! You really whipped into action to take care of your animals, and good for you! So good to have helpful friends and neighbors!

Merisi said...

What a tragedy, I am so sorry, but glad you managed to safe the rest of the herd!
Big hug,
Merisi

Does the neighbor have insurance?

Kath said...

I'm so glad Xena and Clover were not in the infected herd!!!

Deanna said...

It is amazing how quickly one event can snowball into many - sometimes good, sometimes bad. What a sad tale. I'm so glad you caught it in time and were able to save the rest of your cattle.

tipper said...

Sorry for you troubles-but I'm glad you showed the other side of yesterday-thats the way of life-the golden moments smashed up against the yucky ones.