Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We Lost the Calf

Jim, Jonathan, Peter and I were up pretty much all night with the calf. We brought him in the house an hour after he was born, since the cow had been too weak to get up and nurse. The guys gave her an injection of calcium and she rallied. Then they milked out the colostrum and fed it to the calf via a tube placed in his mouth, since he seemed unable to suck from the bottle.

He was a cute little thing. We thought for sure he was on the mend this afternoon, as he would attempt to get up on his own, and the boys would hold him up so he got a feel for his legs.

Henry the cat thought he was pretty neat, and loved playing in the straw.

Jim decided to go to town to get some vet supplies, and shortly after he left the calf started going downhill. He developed symptoms of pneumonia, and within a half hour he was gone.

All I can say is we sure learned a lot these past 2 days. We learned what to do and what not to do, and now we can recognize symptoms of various things that happened. Farming is such a learning process, and sometimes the learning can be a painful process as well. I am so thankful that Sandy is doing great, and we look forward to her fresh milk, cream, butter and cheese.


Andrew B. said...

Hi Bartletts,

How sad. :-( I know how hard it is to lose an animal, especially one you are attached to...

It is possable that the calf got milk in it's lungs, from feeding it with the tube. That can make them cough/gurgle like Pneumonia, and can be fatal... We have done that before...

Got to go,

Andrew b.

Anonymous said...

Bummer... If he would have lived what would his ultimate purpose be? Breeding stock/sell/beef?? I got a calf right now that I'll hopefully use to start my own herd (breed next year)

Lynn Bartlett said...

Hello, other Andrew B: We are thinking the calf may have aspirated some of the colostrum because he was not good at swallowing or sucking from the beginning and may have then gotten it into his lungs. The tube was only in his mouth and not down his throat.

BK: We hadn't come to a definite conclusion what role the calf would have played on the farm. I guess it depended on his personality. If he was ornery, he would have been dinner.

The Krahns said...

So sorry for you all. You know, even after years of calves and built up knowledge we still have a calf die here or there. It's always hard when you've put so much work into keeping it alive and after waiting months for it to be born. Glad the cow is okay though. Some years we have a lot that need calcium. Not sure why, guess I'd have to ask my hubby. Enjoy the storm!

The Roberts Family said...

Lynn, Sorry to hear about your calf. We are glad to hear that your cow is doing alright though. I would guess that your calf probably had something wrong before he was born. Otherwise he would have been up trying to find something to suck. You certainly took good enough care of him. I don't think putting the tube in his mouth would have gotten any milk in his lungs.

Looks like you will be getting lots of milk and cream in a few days. Peter might want a little help milking without a calf. One person on both sides works well. It's good family time. A good time to visit.

Take care and have a Merry Christmas.


reformed farmer said...


Be sure to keep a close watch on the cow. Many times a jersey will have a relapse with milk fever. You probably already know, but I'll tell you anyway, if you are giving the cal with an IV in the vein---run it in her SLOW, run it to fast and she will die. If I can be of any help you all can email or call.


Kimberly said...

Sorry about the calf. He sure was cute! We have had many animals die thoughout our years of learning. We always felt sad and wondered if it was something we did or didn't do.

The children are enjoying the snow storm!

Kelle said...

Oh Lynn, So... sorry you lost the bull calf, how sad.

Reformed Farmer is absolutely right, we had a vet come give the IV drip. A friend of ours lost their jersey cross by administering it to quick,it gave her a heart attack.

Put the word out, maybe you'll be able to come across a bum calf, you can graft to your cow. My Bessie was such a wonderful mama, she'd adopt an ole calf' but some cows it's more of a challenge. At least that way you could have benefit of a beef calf to raise up in place of the lost bull calf.

Again, so very sorry for you and your family. I cried off and on for days after loosing our heifer calf, I get to attached. Dairy cows are very different than a beef cow,in dealing with them daily, they become pets.

Blessings and Merry Christmas,

RL said...

Hi Lynn,

Farm life can have it’s disappointments for sure, but the rewards make it all worth while.

May you all have a blessed Holiday.


Marci said...

I am so sorry you lost the calf. That is always the hard part of farm life.

TnFullQuiver said...

I hate this part of farming. I hate having to learn on real live animals, but that is the way it is often times. Hope it all goes better next time around for you!
grace and peace,