Pretty Girl licks Charlie, while Six and Simba look on. Photo courtesty Maddog Photography
Wow, such good guesses today! But nobody got it right.
Cow hip lifter. That is the answer to yesterday’s Whatchimacallit.
I know! Who knew there was such a thing?
Last week Monday we watched as Pretty Girl had her calf, a nice little black whiteface bull calf named Charlie. No complications or problems.
Wednesday morning Matt and Madeline came in from chores to report that Pretty Girl has fallen and she can’t get up. (No, of course that’s not what they said.) She was on her side, unable to stand or even sit up.
The vet was called (the one that’s not camera shy and yet I don’t have a photo of him in action) and at first he thought it was something in the clostridial family. That’s something we vaccinate for, but he said other vets had been seeing a number of these cases. So perhaps a new strain? Except she wasn’t running a fever. She was given the usual treatment – antitoxin, antibiotic, megadose of Vitamin B – but these types of illnesses usually result in death.
But by noon she seemed to perk up and was able to sit up. However later in the day she was on her side again and bloating. The vet told Matt to get the tractor and lift her up with the loader bucket. He did, she let out a big burp, and was able to sit up again.
The view out the kitchen window. In the center of the picture you can see Matt checking on Pretty Girl.
Then the vet brought out yesterday’s whatchimacallit. The cow lifter. The way it works is the eyes of the cow lifter slip over the pin bones in the hips. The rod is tightened up to clamp the thing on tight, and the lifter is attached to the tractor loader bucket. And the cow is literally lifted to her feet. Unfortunately I was never in the right place at the right time to get a picture of the cow lifter in action.
A diagram of the hip lifter in action, courtesy of Wiggins & Associates
Once up, Pretty Girl could stand, walk, get to the bale feeder to eat and to the water tank to drink, and nurse her newborn calf. However it took a couple of days for her to regain her strength enough to stand up on her own after she’d layed down again. Friday morning Matt had to lift her up with the tractor again.
After ruling out things like calving paralysis, the vet thinks she may have had some internal bleeding that turned into an infection. We will probably never know for sure. But she seems to be back to normal. Thank goodness! (Though Olivia was hoping she was going to get a bottle calf out of the ordeal.)