Friday, 25 December 2009

Business as usual

Finally, a drop of rain; enough to actually grow the grass! It's patchy, but there was a good solid soaking of 15mm last night, and today is overcast with intermittent drizzle so it won't evaporate immediately.

Even though today is apparently a holiday, the cows don't observe it, so it's business as usual around here.

First thing this moring we moved the breeders into a new paddock to keep them far enough away from the weeners (Panda's calf is still neurotic enough to go through a fence if she can see her ex-mother). That was fairly painless, but still, Number 6 was not with them. She being heavily pregnant, had gone off by herself to calve. G-Man was worried about her and went off on foot to find her on Friday, and found her down. As he approached, she got up and charged him so he figured that if she was well enough to get up and knock him over, she was fine.

But there was still no sign of her in the herd this morning so, after we'd given two young heiffers their injections, we went off with a biscuit of lucerne to try to entice Number 6 back to the herd. There's safety in numbers. But we were too late. We found her dead in a gully. I suspect that she must have gone into labour and been unable to deliver the calf.

She'll decompose over the next week - carrion to crows, goannas, and various species of ants till she's a powdery pile of skin and bones. Poor thing. You feel so damned guilty when an animal in your care dies. There's little we could have done for her out on the field. Really, we should have sent her to market after her first calf died - probably still born. But then her second was fine, so we decided to keep her. But this, her third, was either dead in utero or too large to pass through her pelvis.

Still, it's not all doom and gloom. Number 76 delivered a healthy calf yesterday "and his name shall be called Jesus".

Birth and death continue to turn around the hub of life here in the valley - business as usual.


  1. Oh, Hughesy, that's very sad. Sorry for the loss of Number 6.

    You should post a little picture of Cow Jesus though! :)

  2. Hey GC - thems the breaks.

    BTW - I've been trying to get to your blog but it seems to have been taken hostage by the mediafire entry page and won't give me access to the blog.

    Me and GD are coming down to Brisney in Jan - coming to see Felafel - 7th I think.

  3. Compared, our lives are worlds apart.

  4. Nothing like the cycle of life to make you stare mortality in the face. As it should be. Humans have a tendency to think they are pretty special - dream on!