Monday, April 20, 2015

The Life Lesson of Life and Death

Sometimes animals die.

That fact is something that takes farm kids awhile to get use too.  As a 36 year old - that fact is still hard to take.  Sunday we dealt with a death; one of our baby calves had scours (diarrhea) and had been given antibiotics and still did not make it.  

The Famous Cow - Stace
To see one of our favorite cows (Stace) so upset over her sick baby and then to see her when that sick baby did not make it, is always upsetting.  Despite my brother's best effort he could not save his favorite cow's baby.  Stace the cow is a family favorite and to my brother Joe - she is his cow.  This is a cow that he can crawl under and is a pet in every sense of the word.  Joe is a great farmer in that he shows so much compassion for this animals.  I think he was more upset than the cow on the loss of the baby calf.

More than Money

Our cows are more than a money making business for my family; most of them my brother or I showed during our time in 4-H and FFA.  Showing means that we would have raised the cow from a young age and then broke her to lead and taken her to the county or state fair to show against other cows her same age and usually her same breed (type). 

Heifer calves for Sale at the Iowa Beef Expo
 Because most of the cows we spend an entire summer getting to know, you do become pretty attached.  Then to watch that heifer (a cow who has not had a calf yet) become a cow and have babies is very rewarding.  So to us our cow herd each has a back story and most have names.  So when one of them looses a calf it is not only a financial hit to my family but an emotional one as well.

Despite your Best Try

Sometimes animal die - even despite your best try.  We do use antibiotics when needed.  We use them on a limited basis like we would do with our own children.  In the instance of the baby calf that died this weekend; antibiotics were used to try to save it's life.  I cannot imagine not trying everything to save that baby - antibiotics and all.  


  1. Great post Emily! This is one of the hardest or most emotional parts of farming, but it is an amazing experience and knowledge to understand starting as a child.