Sunflower from the Sunflower State

Sunflower from the Sunflower State

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Super Cow

(Photo illustration from Google Images)

More powerful than a locomotive.
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

It's Super Cow!


The ability to high jump is not a characteristic for which you select when it comes to beef breeding. However, it appeared that several of our herd were trying out for the Olympic high jump team during last week's session with the veterinarian.

I do not, however, have photographic proof of their athletic acumen. When cattle are jumping over fences and panels, you don't usually have time to grab the camera.

I don't understand how people can jump high jump. (I was certainly not genetically predispositioned for leaping, so is it any wonder that I revel at people sailing over a 6-foot-plus little bar?) So I certainly don't understand how 1,200-pound mama cows can hurdle a fence. We don't know why working cows turned into Olympic sport this year.

There were an abundance of theories proposed by the County Line participants:

The vet's theory: He was too polite to say.

Jake's theory: We brought the cows and calves home from the pasture a month early. The cows were staging a protest that they were yanked from their vacation home a little prematurely. (Their protest was shortsighted, however, since we brought them home because of declining grass conditions in the pasture.) A related theory: Perhaps they were feeling frisky in the warmer temperatures last week.

Randy's theory: The wind was blowing 20 mph. It didn't help the people's mood. So it probably wasn't ideal for the cattle either.

My theory: With apologies to all the OB/GYNs out there, that annual doctor's appointment is not any female's idea of fun. Dr. Harder does a manual exam to see if each cow is pregnant, and, if so, how far along she is. Yes, the doctor's hand really is where you think it is. (It's probably not an abundance of fun for Dr. David Harder either to be on the business end of the cow. As Randy pointed out, he needed a wardrobe change before making his way back to the clinic in Hutchinson.)

My theory, Part II: Even if it wasn't one of "those" doctor appointments, maybe they weren't fans of the whole shot business. Goodness knows I've been avoiding getting the flu shot. (But I'll have you know that I did finally get a flu shot yesterday when I was in Hutchinson.)

Like a flu shot is good for my health, the shots we have the veterinarian give benefit the cows. Just like we gave recommended vaccinations to our own children, we believe it's important to give our cattle every medical advantage to have a healthy life.

Dr. Harder keeps the syringes in a cooler and the medicines in thermal carriers
that hang from the top of the working chute. This keeps them at the right temperature. Pretty ingenious set up!


Dr. Harder gave the cows a booster shot to prevent blackleg, a highly fatal disease of the skeletal and heart muscle of cattle. We also give a combination shot that prevents leptospiriosis and BVD. Lepto is a bacterial infection that may cause abortion or stillbirth. BVD stands for Bovine Viral Diarrhea.

Dr. Harder also gave a shot as a dewormer to control parasites like worms, lice and liver flukes.

But, despite escapes and near escapes, we eventually got the job done (and I was only a little late to church choir.)

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