Last week I tagged along with Harland as he did the evening chores. We hopped in the truck and went up the road about a mile to the farm.
First we checked on a cow who had had her calf earlier in the day, but hadn’t moved much from the spot where she gave birth. We were worried something might be wrong with them.
But they got up when we approached and trotted away. All ok.
Next we opened up the gate and let the cows into the hay area. During calving season, we let them eat hay in the evenings and through the night only, turning them back out again in the morning. Eating only at night causes the cows to calve more during daylight hours. And it really works. Most of them calve during the day when we are around to keep an eye on them.
Look how much hay is on the ground – how wasteful. They pull it out of the bale and drop it on the ground. Of course,once it’s on the ground they won’t eat it. Bad cows. Bad.
Next we walked through the cows and calf pasture on our way to one of our outbuildings.
Babies, babies everywhere!
The cow below getting a drink is between 12 and 14 years old, which is old for a cow, but she’s doing well. A couple weeks ago, Harland found her off by herself away from the herd. She was laying down and grinding her teeth and drooling. She had Grass Tetany, also known as Milk Fever. It’s a disorder that occurs is cows nursing young calves in the early spring. Low magnesium levels are the cause and if not treated promptly, the cow will go into a coma and die. Harland called the vet who came out and injected the cow with magnesium and calcium. Later that day she got up and rejoined the herd. It’s a pretty quick recovery if caught in time.
Next we paid a visit to a cow and her calf. Harland had penned them up a few days earlier when the calf was born because the calf was having difficulty nursing. Harland upturned the bucket he was carrying and had a seat. He stared in at the cow trying to determine if her calf had nursed. If is calf nursing, the cow’s teats will be clean and smooth.
We decided the calf was nursing, so Harland let them out into the pasture the next day.
Next, Harland fed the one year old heifers their nightly grain. They will be bred by the bull in a couple months so they need to be in top condition to conceive their first calves.
Next, Harland feeds the bulls their grain. They need to be in top condition too as they will have lots of dates with the cows and heifers this summer.
Someone always sticks their head in the way and gets dumped on.
We left the farm and headed back home. In a pasture near our house we have the 2 year old heifers and their first calves. There are just a few heifers left who haven’t calved. Everyone gets their evening grain.
This white-faced is one of the heifers who hasn’t calved yet. It had been a sunny day and she got a little burn on her nose. They have shade, but she couldn’t resist enjoying the warmth of the sun.
Here’s a new mom with her baby, just a couple days old.
Some of the calves are now a few weeks old and play with each other much of the day. They chase each other around in circles and head butt each other. They also hop, skip, and jump about.
They’re very curious about us, and come in close for a look.
After Harland fed the grain, he stopped to watch everyone for a while. Feeding time is a good opportunity to look over livestock to see if all is well. He’s looking for illness or anyone limping. He also checks to make sure that everyone comes up to the trough for their grain. Anyone who doesn’t come up must have a problem cause they LOVE their grain.
It’s about 7:30 now and the chores are done for the day. Harland heads into the house.
Before we go to bed at night, we check the heifers one last time to see if anyone is close to calving or has calved. On cold nights, Harland gets up in the middle of the night to check the pregnant cows and heifers. Cold can kill newborns in just a matter of hours. We’re more relaxed now that winter is over and it’s a little warmer.
Thyroid Update: So I had my consultation appointment with my new endocrinologist at KU Med Monday and it went very well. The staff were professional, the doctor was knowledgeable and listened well. He started me immediately on a med that stops my thyroid from making any more thyroid hormone (mine is overactive and has been churning out thyroid hormone like crazy for a last few months). The med is not a long term solution, so the doctor has recommended radioactive iodine therapy which will kill the thyroid. It sounds primitive, but it’s a treatment that’s been around for over 50 years and is effective. My appointment is in two weeks. The thyroid hormone that is already floating around in my system has a long half life and will stay with me for about 6-8 weeks, so I won’t be feeling better for a little while, but I’m very pleased and relieved that I’m making progress towards getting better.
So happy that you were HEARD by the doctor at KU and here’s praying that his solution is what turns life around for you my friend! God bless!
Oh Thank you Glenda!
Glad to hear positive things from KU.
Still praying for you guys.
Thanks for letting me tag along as you all did chores.
I have so much respect for farmers/ranchers.
It was very interesting, following along, seeing what all had to be done, and hearing all about it.
The best part, by far, though, was the final note about your visit with the new endocrinologist! Thank you for that!! And I thank the Lord for His hearing of our prayers for you!! God be with you and bless your treatment, Suzanne!!
Great post, looks like life on the 3 mile ranch in the Oklahoma panhandle except we are so very dry. Praying for spring rains.
Suzanne, my step daughter had an overactive thyroid when she was a teenager, and had the radioactive iodine treatment to “kill off” her thyroid. It was an easy procedure and went very well. Just in case you’re worried about the procedure, it is not difficult! Really interesting following along on the chores. If I’m not being too snoopy, how many head of cattle do you have to take care of?
How long was it before your step daughter was feeling back to her old self? Thanks Lana!
Right now, there are 2 bulls, about 70 cows, 2 first calf heifers, and 12 one year old heifers.
As this was over 25 years ago, I don’t recall any particular time frame for things to turn around for her. I don’t think that there was any dramatic overnight change. She just started to calm down. I do remember that she stopped being cold all the time. And she didn’t like that she couldn’t eat like she used to! I do remember the procedure very well, though, because I was with her when she had it done. Sorry I can’t be more help!
Oh, I forgot the newborn calves: about 60 of them.
I don’t know why, but I thought you had more cattle than that! 🙂 Oh well…
It seems like we have more than that to us too, particularly when they’re calving. 🙂
I loved all of the cattle photos, and was really happy to hear the positive news about your treatment.
Then, I found Kitty’s pages. I am in love. She loves so much like my cat, Dixie Rose, who’s a tortoise shell with an attitude. She’s actually becoming a grand dame, now, but I love her dearly and hardly can bear to think of the decreasing number of years she’ll be with me. She’s my first real pet, so there have been lots of new experiences, and will be more.
I am so glad that things seem to be going well for you – and for the mama cows and their babies!
Oh thank you! Kitty is now 7 years old. We can’t believe she’s that old already either and it’s sad to think she won’t be with us forever. Give Dixie and scratch behind the ears for me. 🙂
I LOVE cows! Your post was wonderful with all the pictures and info.
Hoep you are feeling better,too.
So glad to know you are on the right road getting to feeling better. Thanks for the chores tour, the calves are so cute running around playing. Hope you are 100% soon. Best wishes and prayers.
It was so interesting going around and doing the chores with you and Harland. I never realized all you have to do each day.
Glad to hear the news that you have a doctor to help you. Since it’s been only three months since I started thyroid treatment I can tell you that I started feeling a little better in about four weeks and almost back to myself by eight weeks. Hope that helps you with the timeframe.
I so enjoy your posts, Suzanne. I absolutely love cows and follow two bloggers who keep cattle. You obviously care deeply for your animals and I just want to come and do chores, pet cows and sleep in the barn!
Congratulations on progress with your thyroid. One of my co-workers has been battling his; it does seem to take some time to get to feeling better. Take care.
Two of my sisters had Grave’s disease. The older one developed a goiter so her thyroid and parathyroids had to be removed about 33 years ago. My youngest sister also developed Grave’s disease but also has other autoimmune conditions. She had the iodine treatment. It can take a while to find an even keel post iodine treatment because you’ll be on replacement thyroid hormones the rest of your life. They usually start off with lower dose and raise it until you can feel more even and that feeling is confirmed by periodic hormone level blood tests.
My mother, her sister and their mother all had underactive thyroids which necessitated taking replacement thyroid hormones but my sisters turned out to have severely overactive thyroids.
Once you’ve seen someone go through the anxiety, weight loss and palpitations of an overactive thyroid you’re thankful to see them feel like more of themselves.
One funny “side effect” of the iodine treatment was that when my sister went through airport security a full year after that treatment she still set off whatever radiation detection equipment they use. The TSA employees weren’t at all surprised and automatically asked her if she’d possibly had radioactive iodine treatment to render her thyroid inactive.
Best of luck with your thyroid treatment. Until one is either under or over active do people realize how much that relatively tiny butterfly shaped thing does in the body.
In spite of all that…I can’t believe the amount of responsibilities that exist on a farm such as yours. Hearty, dedicated people only need apply! 🙂
PS…my older sister is also named Suzanne!
Missing you, Suzanne, and hoping everything is well!