Sunday, May 2, 2021

Raising animals isn't for the squeamish

I finally had Millie (the calf with the poop-ring on her tail) in a paddock with running water and had help lined up to cut the poop-ball off Millie's tail.

At two this afternoon we trooped out there and tried to wheedle and sweet talk Millie into getting close enough to slip a loop around her. Belladonna had a bottle and I had a bucket of corn. All the other calves said "Pick me! Pick me!" 

Millie flipped us the bird. She knew something was up.

Then I chased Millie around the paddock until she was too exhausted to run any more. Then I knocked her down like a cowboy. In this case, a heiferboy. Chasing a sick animal is not best practice but I didn't see that I had any other options.

I kept my weight on Milie's front end and contemplated what a nice sofa her hide would make while Bella walked up to the house and turned on the water.

Then Bella fed Millie the bottle of milk replacer while I worked on the poop-ball. It took about ten minutes of whittling to shave/peel/chip the ball off. My guess is that it weighed about 24 ounces.

It was in layers like a dipped candle, which I guess makes sense.

I am not sure we got it off soon enough. Fortunately, there appeared to be good blood flow to the tail and it never went completely anaerobic. The fact that the tail was tender was also a good sign.

As we walked back up to the house, Bella filled in for the absent Mrs ERJ "Clothes in the washer. HOT water and a dab of bleach. Then YOU go into the shower and wash with HOT water." It was in her Not-Messing-Around voice. I wonder where she got that?

Things look promising. As we walked away, Millie showed her appreciation by pooping. She was able to lift her tail and none of the poop hit it.

The other bright spot is that if she continues to show appreciation for the bottle, it will be an easy way to accurately dose her and the meds will go much farther. The little critter can use a few bonus calories in her.

And now I intend to make the rest of the Sabbath a day of rest.


  1. NO it's not! Never has been and never will be, nor are there 'regular' hours associated with that care.

  2. I've rubbed some Vaseline on tails and flanks to help with that problem on occasion. ---ken

  3. Somewhere I got lost-what is a poop ball as far as cattle goes?

    1. In this case it was a ball of feces that was encrusted around the tail due to projectile diarrhea. The tail was coated and it dried. Then another layer, and it dried. It picked up dried grass which was coated...and it dried.


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