As you have figured out by now I usually spend a lot of time getting things straightened out in the barn on Sunday. That practice was definitely sprung out of getting ready for the work week, which may not be necessary anymore. So this Sunday I started as usual with throwing down hay and getting morning chores done. After regular feeding chores I fooled around doing some necessary clean up items, first clean the waterers, the sheep and camelids get hay in their water, not sure why. Their waterers are much larger then the others, about 5 gallons. I have been meaning to change them, ever since I bought those two waterers they have been a pain, the connections are so bad, I finally gave up on the one shared by the camelids and the donkey and just turn on the hose to fill it twice a day. They have no drain and must be scooped out by hand into a pail. There are 11 waterers all together including the cows, the one the chickens use is usually cleaned out daily, the cows all have push button waterers, some times they get hay in them but mostly keep them clean.
The next chore was to get bedding pushed down ready for when I clean out the calves and cows, that didn't take long. Before I started the heavy duty shoveling I ran up to the house and filled my water bottle and got my big mason mug full of tea. I usually start by getting the ramp from the door the the rest of the ramp in place, then the gate in place so the cows would be out of the way, and checking the pile ramps, there is usually a lot of composting that goes on out there so sometimes you need to build the support back up by moving the pile ramp and dumping several wheelbarrow loads then spreading them out, and replacing the ramp. It is surprising how much composting goes on when it was below freezing all week and in the single numbers at night.
I started with the calves, junipers calf is such a twit, she just flat out refuses to move away from the wall, so it is a pain to try to get her stall all cleaned out while she is standing on what you want to remove, but I finally got it done. Then on to the cows, I had only been over there for about 45 minutes when I got a call from my neighbor who was having trouble with a cow birthing. It was a heifer, and the calf presented wrong, the front legs were both pointing back, the calf was dead. He said they both had been trying to help for a couple hours, so I said I would go up and try to get the legs lined up, before they lost the cow too, he was thinking they would have to put her down if they couldn't get the calf out.
I got up there and went in the milk room and got shoulder gloves, I brought twine with me, when I went out in the barn it was cold, burr. They had put hay down for me knowing I have a hard time with my knee. I had to take my jacket off, and my Fitbit, then put the glove on, for some reason I always use my left hand in the glove. The head was out, so I pushed it back in. Then went in looking for a leg, both legs were laying right back along the belly, nothing like having your arm up a cow all the way to your armpit. I got hold of one hoof and got it pulled forward, tied twine around it so we would lose it again. There was something wrong with the calves shoulder, and it was a very small calf, I could not bring the other leg up, so we decided to try delivering it like that. With steady pulling during her contractions the foot stayed in place and the head came out. The cow was a trooper, she pushed massively and slowly the shoulder came out, then the rest of the calf slid right out. I could see the calves back legs were deformed also, so I guess it just wasn't meant to be. The cow was exhausted, I let them pull her back upright, and she started eating hay just as fast as she could get it stuffed in. It was getting late so I went and cleaned up, picked up my milk, and dropped off the two boxes of bread, then off to home. It was too dark to finish shoveling, so I went to the house and got a cup of tea and sat for a while, I was exhausted too, that is hard work. My hand is bruised all over the back from the contractions while I was too close to hip bones.
I got a call later to tell me the cow was up and eating and drinking and to thank me again for saving the cow. I am so glad she is alright, I have a hard time giving up on an animal that needs help, as you might have noticed by now. He asked if I noticed the calves back legs were deformed, I said yes, the shoulder was also deformed, it was a little dark in there by the time we were done.
I didn't start night chores until 8:30, first I put dough in the bread machine for homemade pizza so it would be ready when I got done. The cows were out, but chores didn't take long, guess I was moving fast so I could get done and get something to eat. I ate a good breakfast but lunch was missing some where around delivering the calf. I was offered food up there when we got done, but didn't really want to stop. The pizza with mushrooms, black olives and homemade sausage was really good!
Today's picture is Bud the Llama and Spice the Alpaca