Lost a good cow and calf.

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May 8, 2016
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Last weekend 10/23 was the last time I saw the cow alive and in my estimation about to drop her second a calf in the next couple of days. I went to see the cows week later, 10/29, and as soon as I pulled to the gate I could see dozens of buzzards standing on the corrals, on the barn, flying overhead. Sure enough, I found that same cow bloated. I imagined she had calving complications sometime between Wednesday and Thursday since my neighbor went to check on them on Wednesday and everything was fine but her carcass as I found it had water inside from a rain we got on Friday. So my guess is she died on Thursday. I dragged the carcass to the very back of the property that is off limits to the cows by about 300 yards for the coyotes to finish her off and to get those nasty birds away from the herd since I'm in the middle of calving season. I could not see any signs of trauma to the cow such as bites to the neck that would indicate a predator attack. The only damage to carcass appears to be postmortem. What I found intriguing, however, is that I could not find signs of a stuck calf on her or bones around her. I'm not sure if the whiteish bone on her back is the pelvis on the calf. I also found it odd that the left front leg was dislocated at the shoulder and only hanging by a shred of skin. I did not find tracks of predators in the mud around her.


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Probably need to open her up to find the calf, not a nice job at this stage. Keep checking the remains as scavengers open her up more you might get to see the calf then. I'm not familiar with your vultures but I would think that the hardest part for them is to penetrate the the hide and once they get in the one spot they keep working from there hence the meat stripped from the bone of that one leg. The shoulder dislocates easily once the muscle is stripped off as it does not have ligaments around it like other joints holding it in place, just the muscle and joint capsule.
Sorry to hear you lost one. It is tough being an absentee farmer.

Calves that age are soft enough that scavengers can eat the whole thing. There may not even be any hide or bone left to find.
I agree, Buck Randall. But wbvs58 wants confirmation the calf died with Mom. It is possible Mom had a live birth and then passed, leaving a newborn in need of TLC.
Thanks for the comments. I went looking all over for an orphan calf on the off chance that the calf was born alive but found no trace.

Funny, the day after, Sunday, my neighbor told me he saw a black calf wondering the pasture and that no cow seemed to claim. So I rushed back to the farm, 85 miles, and bought some colostrum at TC on the way. I found the calf on pasture and put him on the back of the truck, but he seemed too strong and well fed to be from a cow that would have died three day prior. So I put him back on the ground and sure enough his momma came forth immediately and started nursing him. It never crossed my mind that that cow which was from a lot I bought in late July was so close to deliver.


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