We lost another heifer yesterday. It never gets any easier when one dies. The farmer always tries to make me feel better by telling me when you have this many animals you’re going to lose one once in a while. It doesn’t really make me feel better, but I try to remember that anyway.
This heifer was sick on Tuesday morning. The farmer gave her a shot. Tuesday was also moving day (see post Moving Day), so she was then moved to a bigger pen. I can’t help but wonder if she was showing signs of sickness while I was out-of-town. Part of me wonders if she would still be alive if I had been the one doing chores over the weekend and on Monday. It’s silly to think that, since the farmer has been feeding calves since he was a kid. He is quite capable of finding sick animals. The problem is the farmer has a billion other things to do everyday. I can spend more time checking the animals out while I’m feeding them.
Anyway, I guess it doesn’t really matter now, the heifer is gone. She passed away sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. This is a part of life on a dairy farm or any other farm with animals. Some times all you do for them is just not enough. I try not to let it bother me too much, but some times it does. The farmer tells me when it quits bothering me to lose one then I need to find a different job. He has a good point. Because it affects us personally, as much as it affects our bottom line, we do everything in our power to have healthy, happy animals.
Today the heifers all got fresh straw for bedding. While they were running around in it, I was watching for anyone coughing or for runny noses. I made my list of animals who should be checked by the herdsman or the farmer, just like every other day. I guess life does go on, but it still stings to think of the heifer I lost yesterday.