Ugh. Not a good start to my week. Let’s start this story from the beginning… This past weekend I went back to my hometown to visit family and help a good friend of mine pick out her wedding gown. I was ecstatic early Saturday morning when I received a picture message from my husband informing me that my favorite cow, Judy, had gone into labor. If you follow me on Facebook, you are likely very familiar with Judy. She is truly a one of a kind cow and has real personality. Judy was even Employee of the Month a time or two!
Soon after the first picture message, I received another; Judy had given birth to a healthy baby girl! Everything was going well and when my husband joined me at my grandma’s house for a belated Christmas celebration, he told me that Judy and baby seemed to be doing great. I didn’t think much about it the rest of the weekend and was looking forward to Monday when I would get to meet the new calf and give ole’ Judy a pat on the butt.
Sadly, I never got to give Judy that pat on the butt. It seems that after my husband left, Judy started to go downhill. Post baby (or “post fresh” in the dairy world) is a critical time for dairy cows. It is important that the new mothers are provided with the best comfort, care and nutrition. We do our best, but sometimes cows fall ill and/or don’t make it. It doesn’t happen a lot, but there are occasions when new mamas require critical care or have to be put down. We aren’t exactly sure what was wrong with Judy, but she didn’t make it. I found out when I arrived to the farm this morning and am heartbroken. I know that it is part of the farm life, but it really sucks when it is one of your favorite animals. My dad always said, “Where there is livestock, there is deadstock”. Life happens; cows get sick, they get hurt, they get old, etc. We do our best to make sure that our cattle live a long, happy and healthy life, but there isn’t a happy ending every time.
I’m really bummed that this happened to Judy and am sad I wasn’t around to help her or give her a scratch goodbye.
There is a silver lining, Judy’s baby, whom I think I will name Janet, is doing great! She has made a cozy home in a little hutch and is an awesome bottle drinker. In a day or two we will begin to teach her how to drink from a pail and introduce her to grain. I will be keeping a close eye on baby Janet and am hopeful that she has Judy’s quirky personality. Based upon this photo, I think she will be one sassy gal! Judy and Janet definitely look alike 🙂