Tonight was not a fun night. Tonight sucked.
One of my new baby calves passed away. The part that sucks the most, we did every we could to save him.
As I’m writing this, I’m crying. This is the worst thing that ever happens to me on our beef farm. When we lose animals, I lose a little part of my heart. I’m like our cows bed wife, I’m like the nurse while they’re giving birth, I’m the doctor that has helped them from conception, and I’m the significant other that is just as happy about the baby as the mother.
These animals are my living and my way of life. Yes, I make a profit off of them in the end, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get attached. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love them. Because I do, I really do.
Calves die from so many things that can’t be helped. They were already dead inside their mother, they drowned in her placenta, her teats were frozen and they didn’t get any nourishment, they were sat on by other cows, they froze or over heated, they got sick, had parasites, and other things. Many of these things, if caught, can bring the calf back to life and get them back on track to a healthy and happy life. On our farm the only calves that die are the ones that just couldn’t pull through everything we did for them.
One year I had a calf with pneumonia. I laid with the calf for hours to warm him and comfort him until he became strong enough. I fed him bottles every two hours to see if he could eat anymore. Once I got enough food into him, I had to teach him to walk and use his legs. He was weak and needed support in walking. Finally, one day we walked all around the farm. I raised that baby as if he was my own baby. He was a lucky boy, not many calves survive a sickness like pneumonia.
We do everything possible. There is nothing we won’t try to save baby calves. Sometimes, they just die. It’s not fair at all, but it happens. It’s even harder for me to lose ones that I put so much time and effort into saving. When we lose calves, we take it personally. It’s as if we are a nurse or doctor that lost a new baby.
Life isn’t always fair and we don’t ever want to lose our animals, but it happens.
Farmers do the best they can to keep all their animals alive and healthy their entire lives.
You may find this article hypocritical since we butcher our animals for food, but ask a farmer why it isn’t. We bring new life into the world each year and watch the entire life cycle. It’s so much more than meat to us.