Births & Deaths

Farming always has its ups and downs. ?Things are going along swimmingly and just as you think things are going to get a bit quieter for a few days so your husband can cut some trees up into logs for the fire or put up some wallpaper or plumb in the sink in the scullery that has been sitting there since January, something happens. We had 2 cows ‘abort’ in 24 hours, both giving similar symptoms of giving reduced milk the evening before.

I’m not sure why the loss of a foetus is called ‘miscarriage’ in humans and ‘aborted’ in cows but that’s the way the terminology seems to be here in Ireland. Both cows were in the sixth months or therabouts stage of pregancy. It can sometimes happens that a cow is knocked by another and loses a calf but there must be something wrong for both of them to ‘abort’ so close together and show similar symptoms. The vet came out this morning to check on a bull that has been recurringly ill for a while and Brian was afraid it was something infectious that might transmit to the cows and have caused the losses. But it is basically ‘mouth ulcers’ that is causing him to be in bad form and the cure is a sort of ‘thrush’ ointment to put into his mouth – yep, that’s definitely going to be easy – putting that into a bull’s mouth that is a tad ferocious!

He couldn’t tell what had happened to the cows so all we could do was bring the foetuses to the vet lab and wait for results. ?Apart from those cows probably being culled now and the loss of the calves, there is the daily anxiety now every morning of wondering if there will be another one. ?With having so many births annually on the farm, there are bound to be deaths, that is part and parcel of it, but no death is nice to witness.

5 thoughts on “Births & Deaths

    • Lorna

      Sorry for the delay in replying, been away on hols – there’s Nulty’s or Croan cottages near Kilkenny. Alternatively, the new Woofer (is that spelt right?) is taking off where you stay with farmers for a week or so and help out in return for your stay.

  • Lily

    Farming sure does keep you close to the cycle of life. I love your posts on farming … like so many more probably because I have farming in my roots.

    ‘Putting [thrush ointment] into a bull?s mouth that is a tad ferocious’ … great image, (the balance between the delicate and the wild), but seriously stay safe.

    Fingers crossed that those two were the last for a long time.

    • Lorna

      Thanks Lily, I’m enjoying writing them. Yes, rearing bull beef does have its challenges. I’m not sure what Brian is going to do with this animal but will be interesting 🙂



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