Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's Up, Doc?

It's a girl! It's a boy! Well, it's one or the other. Unlike most expectant mothers today, our cows won't know whether they will have male or female progeny this winter. But since they don't have to decorate a nursery or buy newborn clothing, I guess they'll just have to stay in suspense for a few months. And so will we.

On Tuesday, Dr. Dayul Dick came to the County Line to preg-check 39 cows we brought home from the Rattlesnake Creek pasture. Through a manual exam, Dr. Dick estimated the gestation of eacg fetus. He found four open cows (not pregnant), and Randy hauled those cattle to Pratt, where they'll go through the sale ring today.

While each cow was in the squeeze chute, Dr. Dick also gave several shots.
Like a flu shot or other preventative health measures are good for me, 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.

An insulated cooler held the syringes filled with the vaccinations.
Dr. Dick gave each pregnant cow 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 prevent leptospiriosis and BVD. Lepto is a bacterial infection that may cause abortion or stillbirth. BVD stands for Bovine Viral Diarrhea. Dr. Dick also gave a shot as a dewormer to control parasites like worms, lice and liver flukes.

We'll repeat this process with cows we bring home from other locations, like the Ninnescah Pasture.
While Dr. Dick took care of the "business end" of each cow, Randy felt in their mouths to check their teeth. This helps him find older cows. Dr. Dick's assistant recorded the eartag numbers of those older cows, and we will likely sell them when we wean the calves they are currently carrying.

Last week, the cows' babies born last February went to the sale barn. Though we usually keep the calves through the winter and feed them along with their moms, this is the second year we've sold them in the fall. Two years of drought conditions have changed standard operating procedure around here.

OB/GYN appointments may not be any female's favorite doctor visit. But they provide an important management tool on the County Line.


  1. It's nice to read about the business end of cow raising in a post like this. Thanks for being so informative!

    1. Thanks Mary Anne! I appreciate your faithfulness to comment and to "like" me! Good luck with your cattle sorting and weaning tomorrow!