Still hearing some horror stories from the storm last week. If you’re in the cow business, it had to be one of the scariest storms in history. Cows and calves blew into creeks and washouts. Some into lakes or sloughs. Calves drifted over when sheltered by a cutbank. Cows and yearlings drifted for miles. A few calves are still being found a week after the storm. Losses varied from none, to entire herds being pretty much wiped out. A friend of mine lost all of his heifers’ calves. Had put them out on a hay meadow to get them out of his sloppy pens. That vicious wind blew them all into a little creek. After babysitting the cows for two years and sitting up nights this spring, gone with one tough storm.
On the news just a day or two ago, North Dakota was listed as one of the happiest states in the nation to reside in. I doubt if they checked with any cowboys this week.
Enough on that. Maybe I can brighten your week a little.
I remember years ago, when I went to A.I. school. That’s artificial insemination school. For cows. The instructor told us there was no place darker than the inside of a cow. And he was right.
I was never much good at A.I.ing. One time Grandpa Herb brought a cow in to breed. I asked what I should breed her to. He said to use the same bull I did on number 127. When I asked why, he informed me that number 127, whom I had bred the day before, had already had a calf. He figured with a gestation period that short, we could have a lot of calf crops per year.
Back to the dark side, or inside, of a cow. Gary and Dennis had a tough one last week. When you’re calving a bunch of cows and heifers, you inevitably run into a few problems. And you learn to be patient and straighten them out. Calves with a leg back, or head back, or backwards, or breeched. That’s butt first. Or twins.
And it’s dark in there. But with experience, long arms, and luck, you can usually work things out. But Gary ran into a tough one. The hind feet were coming. Not much you can do but pull. Nothing happened. It was solid. He decided maybe it was twins. And he had one leg of each calf. Now even a cow with a lot of room is going to have trouble here. He felt around and was sure both the legs were on the same calf. But it’s dark in there. He pulled again. Solid.
Dennis came to assist. Gary explained the problem. Dennis reached in and felt around. When he was in about up to his waist, he felt another tail. Kind of up and to the left. Gary reached in and felt it. They decided it was twins. But the one they were pulling on wouldn’t budge. They had to do the unthinkable. Haul a simple set of twins down to the vet. Knowing full well, the vet would reach in, move one calf around, and deliver them with ease.
But it was a different kind of a deal. When they got to the vet, he decided to do a C-section. Out came the calf. But a strange one. One set of hind legs on two calves. Siamese twins. No, it didn’t live. Or they didn’t live. Whatever. But like Grandpa always said, “If they all lived, they wouldn’t be worth nothing.”
The neighbors around here are starting to notice that I don’t take Shirley out much. But I do. I do. I was in at an elevator meeting the other night (that’s what we call pinochle night). One of the club members mentioned that I should have brought Shirley in. That I never take her out.
Boy, did I straighten him out. I informed him that I had taken her out the night before. At two in the morning. To check heifers. Actually, she took me out. She usually does the two o’clock check, but needed my assistance on a tough one.
And boy, it’s dark in there.
Oh, and by the way, next time you go out for a cocktail, order a bin Laden. That’s two shots and a splash of water!