You will note from past entries, that I love cows and I love the lessons learned from our experience with cows. This time of year it’s time to move the cows from their summer range of grass which is now covered in snow, to a winter range of hay and corn stalks. We moved them from Wyoming into Colorado for their check-ups and then onto their winter home.
Cows last day at their “summer” home.
Our friend and veterinarian organized our efforts as we prepared the cows and calves for the cold winter. Shots were given; each cow was run through the chute for their checkup.
The cows are escorted one by one for their one on one with the vet; where they also receive a “Preg Check”. This is a process that involves a rubber glove that goes up to the armpit. In this photo, I really wanted to preserve the dignity of the cow, so the left arm which you don’t see, is three feet inside of the cow, checking on the fetus. I also didn’t want the cow to be identified, so I purposely didn’t show its face. It’s up to your imagination as to the expression it holds. It only takes the vet about 5 seconds from beginning to end; he then pulls his arm out and announces how many days pregnant the cow is. “120 days” he blurts out, or whatever the number is.
I asked him how he knows. Our particular vet is world renowned for his work in cow reproduction, and his expertise and experience over forty years makes him accurate within a week of when the cow delivers. He figures it out by gently grabbing the fetus leg, which is about the size of a thumb at this point, and based upon the size of the leg he can accurately determine how many days pregnant the cow is so we can determine the anticipated date of birth.
The cows were really very gentle during the procedure; mind you their head is locked in a steel chute, but still, I was surprised at how well they handled the whole thing.
The life lessons from this experience are two-fold. 1) Be glad you’re not a heifer. 2) Experience matters when you’re trying to be best in class; you can’t gain that experience from watching from the sidelines, you have to roll up your sleeves and dive in.
I’m sure I’ll have an opportunity to write about the new born calves when they arrive in the spring as our small herd of heifers are all pregnant. Stay tuned for more life lessons from cow adventures.