Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shutterbug: Training Day

It's training school for me and Skully. We get to learn together. This is my first attempt to train a horse from birth. I grew up around my dad's race horses in Brazil and they came pre-trained. I used to exercise them on occasion. Back then I weighed only 90 pounds and at barely 5' 1" the other jockeys thought I had potential. My mom put a big stamp of "no way" on me becoming a jockey. She felt it was too dangerous. Damn, I could have put my shortness to use! Now it just comes in handy when climbing under fences.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lucky La Moo Wins This Round

Lucky La Moo has survived her health crisis and is back to her sweet self. It started almost exactly a month ago, we noticed late one afternoon she was straining while trying to defecate. By that evening a part of her rectum was hanging out. My cowboy was calm, separated her from the herd of misfits and valiantly disinfected her backside area and placed it back in. I could barely sleep that night because I knew there was an underlying condition causing this and knew that she was going to have a rough time surviving this. By the next morning, she had a prolapsed rectum. It was a horrible sight, I thought she was going to die.

Our vet made a barn call and said he had seen this over a hundred times. He even said it was common after weaning (and we had weaned her just a few weeks before) . We have weaned four others and never had anything like this happen, but there is always a first for everything. Instead of feeding her for almost 4 1/2 to 5 months, I weaned her at 3 months according to a very famous bovine care book. Another farm lesson learned, don't always listen to the experts and follow your instincts sometimes.

The vet gave her an epidural (to stop further straining), an antibiotic injection and then corrected the condition with minor surgery and stitches. Her back legs were paralyzed for almost 12 hours. It would be touch and go for the next few weeks while her intestinal illness waged a bacterial war inside her. He told us not to get our hopes up too high.

Lucky's backside got better but she was dull and seemed to be getting weaker. We fed her milk replacer, scour ease and electrolyte gel but she was just not getting better. We called the vet after two weeks and had him come back out again, he was surprised that she was still alive. He said we must be doing something right as many calves do not survive the intestinal illness and infection. He gave her another round of antibiotics and this really seemed to help her fight off the internal infection.

We did not give up on her either. We made sure that she drank large two bottles of milk replacer mixed with the electrolyte supplement that seemed to help keep her energy up. We had her segregated from the rest of her calf friends and her mom , but we decided it would be better for her to re-join the herd. We would just have to make the pasture trek to bottle feed every day. My cowboy had to rope Nandi the little bull calf that shares the pasture with her, otherwise he would fight for the bottle. Lucky was finally  feeling so much better on Easter that she even came up to watch my God son's Easter egg hunt.

Our calf box that we keep stocked with essentials came in handy through this crisis. I highly recommend having an emergency box stocked with powdered colostrum, milk replacer, scour ease and electrolyte gel. I also recommend having wound cleanser, clear iodine, medicine droppers, clean bottles and latex gloves handy.  We replenish it every time we make a trip to the tractor supply and feed store. Emergencies tend to happen when everything is closed and a few hours can mean life or death.

Lucky's voracious appetite is back and she is up to her funny antics in the pasture. She has really lived up to her name. We are SO happy to have you back Lucky La Moo! You really are one lucky little calf.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Shutterbug: Just in Time for the Hunt!

Wow, the Easter bunny delivered just in time for my God son's visit!!! My hens had slowed down egg production in the last couple of weeks and I just attributed it to their cycle. It looked like there was going to be a shortage of eggs for Easter weekend. I had planned on having a big Easter egg hunt for my little God son (he just turned two). But the hens and Guineas were just not cooperating, or so I thought. Imagine our surprise when we moved some fence posts that had been leaning on a wooden rail. There was a hidden nest that had been receiving deposits for about a week.
Looks like Easter after all, and because some of my hens lay green, blue and pink eggs - no need to even dye them this year. Have a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, laughter, Easter eggs & lots of chocolate!

happy hour @ FMF

happy hour @ FMF
party till the cows come home