Monday, September 28, 2009

I didn't wanna do it, I didn't wanna do it . . .

Rosie, the cow who obviously needs Vitamin C given her voracious appetite for kale, is getting Vitamin C shots each day for five days, 12 ml, which is a lot.  One good thing about Vitamin C is that you can't overdose.  Your body just disposes of it through the kidneys, no harm done.  Many dairy farmers give their cows Vitamin C as a matter of course, especially after freshening.  Let me back up a bit and explain what freshening means.  Dairy farmers have these weird names for things.  When a cow gets pregnant, she is "settled."  So a good bull is one who "settles" all the cows.  Isn't this a bit sexist?  I think maybe it is, as if it takes a bull to settle a cow down!  Just doesn't sound like a term any self-respecting woman would use.  Anyway, after a cow is settled, she is pregnant for about nine months, just like us, and that time is her gestation, same as us.  But when she has her baby, she "freshens."  I don't know, having babies didn't make me feel very fresh.  My guess is that this term was not coined by a woman either.

So anyway, our cows are bred to freshen in the spring.  Rosie has some signs of low Vitamin C levels.  She is ten years old now, and our best cow.  But she has slipped a little getting bred the past two years, and I'm hoping getting her Vitamin C levels back up will help her to get bred in that three month window after freshening.  She was the last cow to have her calf this year, most of the herd on time in April, one in May, one in June.  But Rosie waited until July, and since we dry up the whole herd on February 15, no matter when they freshen, that is just lost milk.

I don't want to give cows shots.  I have been putting off getting this done for more than a month.  First I ordered the wrong needles.  Freudian slip?  Then I had too many appointments late in the afternoon to be here to administer the shots on five consecutive days.  Did they need to be consecutive?  I didn't check with our vet, Mat.  I was afraid he would say it didn't matter, and then I might have to do it right away.  Tonight was my Waterloo.  I have the right needles.  I do not have any late afternoon appointments all week, which means I will be here to give the shot while the milker has her in the barn.

I have had a stomach ache most of the day.  I searched my mind for an excuse not to do this.  I drew a blank.

Rosie is always first in line, which is where she would need to be for me to get to the spot on her neck where Mat said the shot should be given.  I went into the milking parlor.  Rosie was second in line.  I stood there dumbly with the syringe in one hand, the bottle of Vitamin C in the other.  Finally I said, "But I need Rosie to be first in line!"

The milker, Jennifer, said, "Oh, no problem.  I'll move Blackie out when I'm done milking, and then Rosie will be first in line."  Okay, that problem was solved.  Darn!

Then I said, "I'm not sure how to open this bottle.  Have you ever done it?"

"Sure," said Jennifer.  "Just pull out the little metal thing in the middle and stick the needle into the exposed spot."

The little metal circle popped right out, exposing the obvious spot where I would stick the needle to withdraw the liquid Vitamin C.  Double darn!!

No more excuses.  It was time.  Rosie butted at me as I approached, needle in hand.  She is getting a little testy in her old age.  Jennifer said she would distract her.  She and her daughter Ren brought handfuls of hay to feed Rosie while I jabbed the needle home.

No sweat!  Piece of cake!  That was easy!  Only four nights to go - there is nothing to this.  :~)

Florence Nightingale signing off now.

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