North Woods Homestead, Registered Purebred Mini Jersey Trained Family Milk Cows & Rare Salmon Faverolles Chickens, north Idaho
North Woods Lilac was born to NW Fern on May 31, 2019. We ran her genetics and learned she's a Homozygous carrier of the prized A2 genes. This means she's A2/A2 and can only pass A2 to her offspring. She was tiny and perfect in every way!
Healthy and active, she zoomed around her dam in their double stall, as the six previous calves had done the past year. The calving stalls are only a year old and side-by-side. The adjoining gate was kept open so Lilac could frolic but the gate to the pasture was closed.
On June 24th, 2019, we were in the barn showing Lilac off to a friend. We heard the crash but didn't see it. Amber told me right away that Lilac had given herself a bloody lip running into the gate leading to the pasture. I went in to check that it wasn't serious. But, it was. I could feel a hinge in the right front lower jaw bone. The teeth were flooded with blood and I couldn't tell if they were broken.
She had surgery Tuesday morning to install a pin and wires that loop around her teeth to hold the lower jaw together. She did really well and ate a full bottle later that day. The vet students sent this picture of her (below) and it was such a relief!
On Wednesday, Amber ad I drove down to WSU with just over 2 gallons of Fern's milk for her calf. Antibiotics ruin the gut flora so this Raw Milk was critical to Lilac's recovery. When we returned from and 8 hour trip, I had to get Fern milked out again. She seemed off and grouchy. I stepped back and looked her over. BLOAT!! How did she get bloated? Bloat can kill a cow in just hours. I had to act fast. The gas was building up and she began rolling on the ground in pain.
I ran to the barn for the empty ketchup bottle and baking soda. Its not a fancy fix but it's just what she needed. I also found a bottle of TheraBloat I had stashed for treating legume bloat. I got that in her and started calling vets for a second time that week. This was our first case of bloat. I still wasn't sure what caused it.
In discussing her diet with a vet we realized I had accidentally doubled her pea pellet ration and she's too small to handle it. She had to be milked twice a day with her calf gone. I gave her a bucket at each milking, instead of splitting her ration in two! It was a rookie mistake that nearly killed her.
We brought a towel to Lilac that was rubbed on Fern. Lilac wagged her tail and bucked! They taped it to the wall in her stall. We rubbed one on Lilac and brought it back to Fern. She stood for it to nurse! We ended up draping it over a gate at milking while they were apart. They really missed each other.
Ruby held off calving, thankfully, giving us time to deal with making the gate in the pallet shelter more visible. We wove in straps and a lead to be sure she saw it. We're not sure why she crashed into the gate but we had to try babyproofing. She's kinda klutzy and her only speed is full throttle! We're praying she can heal.
So, if all that wasn't enough, Amber discovered Sunday night, right after our return, that Spartan had a horrible ear infection. We are in that field twice a day, every day. He never let on he wasn't feeling well. Off to the vet Monday for an exam and meds. By Friday, he was still feeling rotten so we went back and let them sedate, shave, examine his ear then clean his teeth while he was under. Turns out both ears were infected! The assumption is some small punctures from playing with the 10 month old puppies got infected. He was already on the way to recovery with 4 days of antibiotics on board. He's on light duty guarding the barn and getting extra love.
Ruby, who was 10 days early with Fern (21.5" at birth) and 3 days with Willow (22" at birth), went overdue by 3 days this time. We watched her with cameras placed in the barn. We called it RubyTV and it was on 24/7. She was bred to sex-sorted semen, giving us a 93% chance of a heifer. Boy were were surprised! She finally calved with a bull calf at 1AM July 5th. He is full blood related to Willow. We named him Porterhouse because he's huge, 27", another rarity for Ruby.
Bulls tend to be overdue, but it's not a solid rule. Ruby's sister, Emerald, was 4 days overdue both times and had a heifer then a bull.
Focused on our blessings, praying for a quieter week, and hoping for lots of sleep,
Lorinda & Lance