September 10, 2012 by dairycarrie
I see photos all over that are taken out of context. From animal rights activists making something out of nothing to politicians trying to make you believe what they want you to believe. If you saw this photo, what would you think is going on?
Do you see a cow being abused? Do you see something you’re not certain of but don’t like? Do you see a photo that could be used against a farmer? What do you think this photo is showing? There is no caption to tell you what to think. The only way to understand this photo is to either know what is happening from experience or to look at what the comments on the photo have to say.
This cow is injured. She was in labor and her calf got stuck. I usually check cows in the middle of the night when I think someone is going to calve. She didn’t give me any signs she was going to calve that night so I went to bed. In the morning we found her laying on her side. Her calf was still stuck and it was dead. She was beat up and tired and I felt horrible. We helped her deliver the calf the rest of the way and we did what we could to make her better. After doing everything we could to help her she still was unable to get up. A cow that can’t get up will loose circulation to her legs and it will go down hill from there. When a cow suffers from calving paralysis, which is what it’s called when a calf puts pressure on the nerve that runs through the hips and down the leg and causes the cow to not be able to get up, it’s never a good thing. Our best option at the time was to try and lift her so that her legs could regain circulation.
So how do you life a cow? a band around her middle isn’t really an option, her udder is in the way and her front half is much heavier than her back half. The float tank to lift the whole cow works sometimes but it takes time for the tank to get there and for the cow to get set up in it. The longer she sits, the more swelling and problems have time to set in. The fastest option is to try and lift her using a device called a hip lift.
So once the hip lift is on the cow we use a skid loader to lift her weight. Remember a Holstein cow weighs 1200-2000lbs. We will hold her up for 20-30 minutes allowing her to try and put weight on her leg while being supported by the hip lift and skidloader. We will also make sure that we give her an anti inflammatory before we start this to help with the swelling that can be pinching the nerve and to help with any pain she might be in. After 20-30 minutes will will lower the skid loader and allow her to either stand if she wants or lay back down. Then we will give her some time, a few hours usually and ask her to get up again on her own. If she still can’t do it we will lift her again with the hip lifts and repeat this process until she can do it on her own.
So a picture can be worth a thousand words. Please take the time to make sure the words with the photo aren’t worthless.