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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Doing Much Better

If you have been following this story last week on my personal or blog Facebook page, I have happy news to report!

Jerry is home!

Seems he has an infection somewhere in him that we couldn't find here. Tall Guy thought he had a DA, which stands for "displaced abomasum." The abomasum is one of a cow's four stomachs.  I just saw a blog that talked about feeding magnets to cows.  We sometimes do it to catch bits of wire or metal the cows might accidentally digest.

Here's a picture to kind of show how it works.  The dark teardrop shape is the magnet.

www.barransclass.com through Google

To backtrack, Tall Guy had been noticing that Jerry wasn't eating as much as he should or drinking as much as he should.  He listened to his stomach, and it would "ping" like the inside of a basketball would sound if you thumped it. That, apparently, is only a good sound if you are a basketball.  We decided to take him down to Purdue's Large Animal Hospital (TG had been on the phone with them a couple of times).  I knew if it was a serious thing with his stomach, Jerry probably wouldn't be coming home...so I called the girls out and told them what was going on with Jerry.  I probably had more tears than they did, dang it, but I want them to know the truth. It's just the way it sometimes works on the farm.  Life and death are a big part of the cycle, and we raise beef to be eaten.

So now we have to decide what to do with him.  TG is thinking Jerry might be too off his feed to be "finished" by fair time.  Finished to cows is like a body builder being at his/her peak for a contest.  He may get to go out and hang with a new bunch of beef cows we just brought home from the sale barn and just get to be a regular cow....We have some more consulting to do.  Meanwhile, we still have five steers and a heifer in the barn to break, AND the biggest news is that Lady Bug is returning so we can show her at the fair one more time.

Guess What!

She's expecting!  More about her when she actually returns to the farm, but based on her ability to get along with this "little" pig, she should be a great momma!

But for now, we will keep our eye on Jerry and make sure he is getting the best of care so he can be all that he can be in the world of cows.

*Editors note:  Jerry is down in a lower lot with other beef cattle working his way back up on feed.  This is  a good thing because he will be with other cattle eating at his own pace.

As a side note, I honestly had mixed emotions about Jerry coming home because now we will have to go through the "Good-byes" all over again, but again, this is what we do, and sometimes you do get attached, and it is hard, but we have to know that each beef cow that leaves our farm can feed one family for an entire year.  That is a big part of what we do to help feed this country.  I just need to tend to my heart a bit so it will be ready for the next time.

For now, Welcome Back Jerry!


  1. I don't think I could do it--raise animals! I'm so soft hearted (and it sounds like you are too) when it comes to them. Of course, I have no qualms about dining on a fine steak or enjoying a good hamburger but I don't "know" them personally! Anyway, glad to hear that Jerry is back on his feeds!!


  2. The first time, I faced the auction block with my 4-H steer, it was traumatic. But my dad said, "Your job has been to take care of him all this time, make sure he's got the food he should have, a good place to play and sleep and you've been a good friend. Now it's time for him to take care of us. That's his job." For some reason that made sense to me. It was still hard to take my "pets" to auction, but I understood.

  3. Just a quick clarification for you, Lana. Like you said, magnets are used to help catch bits of metal or wire that cattle might eat. (They aren't very careful when they're hungry!) The magnet will hold everything together in one place, and will help prevent the metal from puncturing a hole in part of the cow's stomach, which can lead to a very serious infection. A displaced abomasum is a different (though still serious) problem, and magnets don't help with that. Let me know if you have any more questions!

    I'm glad Jerry is home and doing better. He's one handsome fella! :)

  4. Yes Marybeth, I didn't word that correctly. We thought it was a DA, and THEN thought he had ate some metal that was hurting one of his stomachs, and then it all ended up being an infection of unknown origin. Just wait until your little one had his/her first stomach ache. They are a real.....pain to figure out! :-)

  5. So sorry that Jerry (and you all) are going through this. I hope he gets better. It is tough to see our animals suffer and not know what is going on. Lovely, sweet photos of the girls. Also darling photo of LadyBug and Wilbur. :-)



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