This job is not for a sissy
The cow got up and then stumbled back down, and I knew we were in for a tough time getting her to the pens. She was agitated to the last hole on the belt and hurting, so she was ready to fight. She had tried to run but that didn’t do any good, so here we were. And that spot was at the far east end of the leased place, almost in the other county.
It doesn’t matter how often you see the cattle or they see you, they are still cattle. They do not think like a man or even like an ordinary cow sometimes. It could be a quirky stomachache or a headache; who knows what happens inside a brain? Genetics are good when we try to decide how calm and easy an animal might be but, just like people, that is sure not foolproof! I know this particular cow, raised her mammy and her, think back, even her sire was easy to handle.
I found the poor old cow against the fence and she was trying to run as I drove up. Her right front leg was sorta swinging and sure wasn’t usable. I backed off and let her stop, called for a horse and a roper. The response was quick, but a four-wheeler and roper were coming. All the ropers who ride are in school. I figured she had dislocated the shoulder and maybe we could get her to a vet and fix the leg.
That particular pasture is not flat but is good grass and has a spring for water. It has some timber and a couple of rolling hills. I decided to drive to the area I did not want the cow to go; so as I moved along, so did the cow. Her calf is a good one, and staying pretty close to the cow and not acting boogered. I was glad when the cow turned toward the gate and tried to walk instead of run.
The first loop found the target, and the struggle was almost over before it started. She stood a couple of times, but we got the second rope on her and urged her into the trailer pretty easy. The calf was another story, of course. The youngest offspring finally got him roped, bulldogged and loaded. That little rascal planted a hoof square on my left thigh and no, I didn’t cry like a little girl, but I almost did!
It was late in the day, and so we decided to unload at home and haul the cow to town in the morning — another plan gone awry. I wanted the calf to nurse and figured the pair would be OK for the night. We fed and watered the cow; she was up and leaning but at least up.
I started early the next morning and was backing into the lot when the offspring arrived to assist. I am here to tell you that cow had stomped holes in the stall, wallered the gate almost down and how she even stood was beyond me. Her leg was sure bad. The calf was OK; we moved him into the next stall and proceeded to do the lousiest job of loading a cow in the history of the west!
Some of the aspects of raising beef almost make me sick. Sure, we were doing all we could for the animal, but I sometimes think it would have been more humane to have shot her in the pasture. What misery she suffered as we loaded her and hauled her to town was pretty sickening to me. The vet gave her a pain shot and diagnosed the injury as a shoulder out of the socket. Took some time and two strong men, but he got it back in place. We took her home and I made sure we took plenty of pain meds for her.
It is my opinion, and everyone has one, this job is not for a sissy. I have been through some rough spots but, when the animal hurts, so do I. I’m not talking about the branding, castrations, injections and regular stuff. I mean the really hurting things. I will do what I can for the welfare of all our animals and you can bet I won’t ever allow one to hurt unnecessarily!
Polish your boots, spring is here and you know a young man’s fancy turns to sparking!