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  1. #1
    Gold Member knute_m's Avatar
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    Default Why let a calving cow die?

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    Maybe somebody out there raising beef has an answer I can't possibly think of.

    This morning when I left my property, there was a big black angus cow in the field just behind my property. She was on her side, writhing and bellowing. I didn't think much of it, as over the past couple of weeks I've seen a few others calve in this field. One was a very difficult birth that I was afraid killed the cow -- but they both eventually wandered over the hill.

    I came back about noon, and she was still there, just a little further down the hill, and seemingly just barely alive. As I started to go up to the fence line, I saw someone, who I assume was the owner. When he saw me, he retreated back through a gate in this pasture of about 10 to 20 acres.

    He is a neighbor with a lot of property, and even though we share several hundred feet of common property line, I've never met him. His driveway is over a mile from mine on another road. None of my friends know him either, so I don't know if he is a good guy or a bad guy. A few times when I've made an attempt to greet him while he is mowing or fertilizing, he just ignores me.

    The cattle he puts in this field are show quality. His fields are well kept.

    About 3:00 pm, I was working in my yard. I heard her crying out. About an hour later I went up on a hill on my property and took these two pictures. She certainly appeared dead. As I write this at about 8:00 PM, she is still there. Three wild turkeys were in the field.

    If the neighbor is inexperienced and squeemish, I'd gladly have gone up there and pulled the calf out. Without knowing the neighbor, I fear that he might have shot me had I done it on my own.
    Any ideas?

    Knute


    About a quarter mile away. She's the black thing in the middle left of the photo.


    From the fence line.

  2. #2
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    It could be any number of reasons. He could be scared of the animal. Then again he could believe in letting nature run its course. If it was meant to be then let it be. Are these cows friendly or are they half wild? If they are not friendly it is hard to keep an eye on them all as you just let them take care of themselves.

    But then again it could just be another one of the many stupid people in this world. But if you know where he lives why didn't you go knock on his door and talk to him about it as a concerned neighbor? He might have answered your question right then and there.


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  3. #3
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    There can be a large set of reasons that the animal was not properly tended to. There is no "right answer" to how to handle a calving cow except to watch each one, notice within 10 minutes that it is in trouble, take immediate action and resolve the problem. That's a level of perfection few cowmen achieve. I certainly don't.

    Possible things preventing this action include:

    Not knowing the cow is calving.
    Not realizing there is a problem.
    Not having the equipment.. chains and calf puller and restraint method/ropes
    Not knowing how to use the equipment if you have it.
    Not having the physical strength to do the deed (it's sometimes arduous!)
    Having a medical condition preventing straining.. heart, eye surgery, etc.
    Embarassment that the animal is having a problem and not wanting others to be aware.
    Not having a 2nd hand to assist.
    Complete callousness.
    Unable to reach the animal in distress (not your case).. terrain, high water?
    Weather so inclement that human life also endangered (not your case)
    Belief in Darwin's selection criteria...could mean the bull needs culling too.

    The only thing you can do, assuming you wish to participate, is to meet the fellow, have chains and calf puller in your possession, antibiotics, palpation gloves, uterine bolus, etc. and let him know you have observed that there is a problem, have the right equipment and knowledge and offer to assist him right now.

    If he says... nope, I can handle it... and he doesn't, then it is callousness.

    I once had a neighbor who raised sheep... on the way to work one morning I saw that dogs had attacked one of his sheep and it was dragging its innards along the ground. When I returned home, I saw the same sheep in the same state. I visited my neighbor and informed him of his problem. He said, "Oh, is that sheep still alive? I would have thought it would have died by now. I saw it this morning." I told him that I had a gun that I would loan him to put the sheep out of its misery. Neighbor said, "Thanks, I've got one, too!" Then he went back inside his trailor.

    He fits the callous description.
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  4. #4
    Elite Member wushaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    Knowing your neighbors in this case would be a good thing for both parties.
    Now would be a good time to introduce yourself to just see what kind of person he really is and you might be able to prevent this in the future.

    Hopefully he will care to the carcuss properly and not just feed the coyotes.

  5. #5
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    If he feeds the coyotes, you should sit in a blind and shoot them.... great bait!
    Joy is having the tools you need and needing the tools you have!

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    Some ranchers will look at the situation like, if the cow has problems birthing, I don't want that trait to continue. Ranchers don't make much on each animal. If they have to call a vet, it's lost income. If hard calving is passed along, that's only more monitary and cattle losses in the future.

    If he is into purebred cattle, he's going to have to find an Angus that has a history of easy birthing to mate with the rest of his cows. If he's in it for the meat and bucks, he needs to breed his angus with a longhorn for easier birthing.
    Life is too short to drink bad coffee!

  7. #7
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    My brother in law has a ranch, small by Texas standards I'm sure, but he has around 250-300 cows. He tends them almost daily. He tends to all down cows immediately and aggressively and he knows what he's doing in most cases. He rarely loses a cow in calving but loses calves from time to time. He even keeps most of his prolapse cases alive.

    And yes, he'll get rid of cows with birthing problems, but he usually at least gets some money by selling a live cow. There's no money at all in a carcass.

    I guess I'd have pretty hard feelings for the neighbor. In my opinion, if you can't take care of an animal you shouldn't have it. And I don't necessarily mean that in a soft way. If you have the skills, use them. If not, call the vet. If you can't afford the vet and don't have the skills, then shoot her. If you don't have the guts to shoot her but have the stomach to leave her in the sun suffering...then you shouldn't have cows.

    Its one thing not knowing when there is a problem. Its quite another to know and do nothing. "Letting nature takes its course" doesn't cut it with me. Mother nature doesn't keep cows.
    George
    South Carolina

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    N80 you hit the nail on the head. Knute, when you saw the neighor were you close enough so that you could give him a freindly type holler or was he to far away? I don't believe I could have standed it all day. When the guy retreated at 3pm and left his cow in trouble i beleive I would have approached him. Actually at noon I would have went over to his house to let him know that he had a cow in trouble.
    Strange situation though...
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  9. #9
    Veteran Member Oleozz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    We all know how shallow some people can be about animals but for the owner to let the cow die on the hillside like that without any assistance means he is either ignorant or an idiot. I also would have real bad feelings toward the neighbor, there is just no good excuse for what he didn't do.
    "Land management is an art that builds on history and is based in science." Herb Stoddard Sr.

  10. #10
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why let a calving cow die?

    While it's sometimes hard to do.. I prefer putting down a suffering animal that there is no hope of saving.

    Soundguy

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