This is the after photo, in which I am on my way back with the calcium to treat her milk fever and have remembered that there's a camera in my pocket.
123 calved yesterday. This is the fourth calf she's had for me and they've all been good calves born early in the calving season, so each time I've bred her back to Friesian for another 1/4 Jersey 3/4 Holstein Friesian calf. Her first heifer in four years!!!
Last year I had to pull her out of a mud hole late one night. But she looked steady all through yesterday, late last night, first thing this morning she was on her feet...
about four hours later I found her lying feet up. Now my normal first approach to this situation is to grab the cow's hind leg and roll her downhill, so her feet are under her and she can get up.
You can tell I'm a flat country farmer? I rolled her over and she kept going. When she stopped I'm like: "Okay, we do that again, but this time I stand down hill and catch you." It worked. But she was too weak to get up. So back to the shed for the miracle stuff.
The 100th commandment - don't orally drench a down cow. I break this one every time.
The 101th commandment - never make Calol (calcium chloride with banana flavour) runny, it's supposed to flow like glue. I break that one too. Dump the drench bottle in a bucket of warm water and the cow gets a higher percentage of the dose in a third of the time.
But it didn't work with 123. Usually if the cow is sitting up she can swallow. She licked her lips a little, but no indication of swallow reflex. She doesn't want to get up either. So I went away and did my other chores.
Her calf is just chilling out, the wrong side of a six-wire electric fence:
A little while later, all set to go check on 123
Every rope I've got, just in case. I've no hay, no grass silage to offer a down cow. If she can't rise and walk of her own volition, or assisted by the hip lifters, I'll be manhandling her onto that tray and transporting her to the longest grass I can find.
Still lying around when I got there, but she didn't fancy the look of the tractor
Just as well. I checked the handbrake on a bit of a slope on the way up there. There's no way I could have safely stopped the tractor where she was lying to use the hip clamps.
And off she goes.
First thing this morning, a Jersey heifer with a pair of feet and a nose out. The feet were so cold you could have got frost-bite off them.
Another hard pull, the second this season. One of those Jersey bulls running with the heifers last year is throwing some oversize calves.
All the negatives seem a little up this season - sixty cows in and I've assisted three calvings, 123 is the fifth to show signs of milk fever, bit more mastitis than usual, way more stillbirths, milking two cows now that calved 7 - 8 weeks early, another two were three weeks early.
Start of next week I've an experienced farmer coming in to help out for a few months. Reckon I'll tackle the farm's headgate again then - I have bought-in cows and heifers progressed to the milking herd with tags from their old farm, or no tags at all because I haven't got round to putting their new ones in. The second attempt to run a group through the headbail was even worse than the first as most of them balked at the sight of it and didn't even attempt to put their head through - but I did learn a couple more tricks about using it.
Some of you might have fogotten what winter looks like: