Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

some thoughts, another tangled ramble

 So , again I must apologize  for being a bad  blogger! Seems  time is  just  getting away on me. Plus  with no "go to " camera  I haven't  been  taking any photos.
Upside is I figured out  the camera  deal. I really like the  zoom  feature and I wasn't  ready to pay  nearly $100 more  for a  camera that w as  waterproof and shock proof , but took  poorer  quality pictures, so I had  settled on  the Lumix  with the 20X  zoom, and a really  good  case  to protect it. Then I went online and  found  a Lumix  waterproof that  was  way  cheaper , still poorer zoom, but without a lot of the bells  and whistles  the expensive one  had (that I didn't  want , seriously  GPS on a  camera?? not that  technical  thanks)

Now that t he camera issue is  solved, or  soon  to be ,what else is new? Not much, it has  been  cold , and with the cold I am in  the house a lot more, and when I am inside, what do I do ? yup I think!!!
A situation the other  night  brought to mind an issue so bear with me , we are headed for a ramble again.

Went to see my  cousin  on  Sunday , and when I got home I had a panicked  call from  the neighbor, crying and saying "you have to come ! its an emergency! bring  formula and a bottle!" Which  translates  to bring colostrum  for a  calf and a calf bottle. Because I know this gal  gets  pretty  worked up, I asked a few  questions  first, and long  story  short , she had a heifer  calve, they had  to assist it as it was a very large  calf (poor choice of  bull) and the heifer then  prolapsed. The vet was called to repair the prolapse and sew up  the cow. All of this happened at  around  2 pm . I got the call at 6:30 ,so  you can imagine, a  snappy  cold  day -15 C  was  a pretty  bad  time  to be  a brand  new  soaking  wet  critter  without  momma  doing her  job, and not on  particularly  good  bedding. With  that info , I also  grabbed  the tube  feeder , because I figured the little  tyke  wasn't  gonna have  the stuffin's  to suck a bottle . She had  the calf  in the house  by then and  we  did  what  we  could for it . I did tube it , and gave it a  shot of  vitamins and  selenium ( we are  in  an area of grey  wooded soil  which is  selenium  deficient ) I did  what  I could  and  we  got  baby  warmed up and back  near  momma  on  dry  deep  bedding in  a sheltered  area. The  next  day  the  gal  asked  me to call  and talk to the  vet  explaining  what  we had  done and what  medications  we  had  given   because  she was  too  confused. I did and this is the same  vet I regularly use so  no  big deal.
Except it  kind of is, and this is where  the ramble  starts.

When  you have  stock,  you  are going to need  a vet  from  time  to time, and its  not always  possible  to get the neighbor to call  for you . So there  are a  few  things  to remember  when you are faced with  an  emergency  and  calling  your vet, or  for that matter  your  neighbor.

  1. as  upset  as  you  are  no one  can help  you if  they  cannot understand  you , so crying and  panicking into the  phone is  not a great plan
  2. speak  clearly , and even if  you have to take  notes make  clear what  you are asking
  3. If  you need the vet to come out, have whatever  critter  you need  looked at IN  A PEN . It  is not the vets  job  to herd  your  wild  heifer into a corral in order to treat it  or assist in its  calving 
  4. Know  your  stock, and their "normal " so that unusual  signs  and symptoms  are  easily  recognize and  you  can  concisely  tell your  vet what is amiss
  5. When  you  have  already treated  the animal  with  some  meds , tell your  vet  what medications,  what time and what  dosage. Again  write it  down if  you need  to 
  6. Understand  you  might  not  be  the only  person  needing the  vet that  day  so if  you are able to clearly  record and report signs  symptoms and  what  treatment if  any  you have  already administered , you can save  the vet and yourself  valuable time so that they  can  best  triage  the  calls and help 
  7. have a  full and  complete  emergency first aid  kit, the  tools to do  what  you need  to to maintain  the animal as  best  you can until  the help  arrives. (ie ,in this case , colostrum,  bottles, tube  feeder,  calf  sled , calving  chains  etc)
  8. remember to breath! 
  9. when  you fail to plan  you plan to fail. If  you  choose  to have livestock of  any kind , you need  to be  aware  that things  happen, an full "kit "  and  supplies/equipment is a  must. Know where it is  and what it is . Again there is a time to be haring  across  the pasture  with a  rope or  a halter  to catch  whatever  critter  is  in need, and that time is  not  when the vet is already  there
Most  for the  folks  I know  already  do  this . but there  are a  few in  the world who are either new  to the  farming  deal, or  just  not getting it , and it makes  life  pretty tough , for  them,  their stock and all involved.
I know a  fellow  blogger  who  just  got through  a bad round of colic  with  2  of her  horses, and actually  came out the other  end  successful  because of her  quick thinking  and  calm  approach, another  who  sadly  lost a horse, but again  because they  followed some simple  rules they  got the horse  treated, and managed  her  pain well until  the  time  came  to stop  the fight and let  her  go.
We  do  not  always  save  them  all but if  we  do  loose  a critter to illness or injury , the planning and preparedness can  certainly  mitigate  the pain and  stress. There is a  lot more I could  add, and  maybe  should but I will  leave it at this for now.
 And just  tell you  to stay warm and  safe my  friends!


14 comments:

Country Gal said...

From my experience of being raised on a farm there is always something to worry about with animals and illnesses . Hope all get well soon . Thanks for sharing . Have a good week !

Country Gal said...

P.S Even more so today then back in my day of the 60's and 70s on the farm today carries more illnesses but also better meds .

Buttons said...

Oh I love your suggestions or rules there are many out there who need a little guidance in the area of farm animals. I have had calls like that, I am too old to help now but still tell them to CALL the Vet and stop crying. I know how tough it seems in the middle of the crisis but cry after cool heads prevail. Hug B Great advice Hug B

kden said...

I am a certified city girl but even I see the warning signs that this gal is not equipped to be a cattle farmer. Thank goodness she had you to call on.

Shirley said...

I love your rants, they are always on point. There is no time for hysteria and dramatics when an animal in our care is in trouble. Hope the calf thrives.

Kate said...

Very good points, all - thanks! Glad you were there to help.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Hope the calf and the cow make it.

I know with the horses, calling the vet for a sick horse is one thing. Calling the vet when YOUR horse is sick- it's another story altogether. We tend to lose it a little easier, cry more, expect the worst and everything is doomed.... It just is. Even when it's a simple matter.

Maybe add the part about breathing in there a few more times???? It helps to do that in a crisis.

White Horse Jumping said...

ooh! Can I add one? As the vet on the other end of the phone "KNOW HOW TO GIVE ME DIRECTIONS TO YOUR PROPERTY OR WHERE THE ANIMAL IS LOCATED" I tend to be driving, and GPS doesn't love country roads. I am unable to remember how to get to every farm I go to every day and I am unable to help you if I cant find where you live!

C-ingspots said...

Amen my friend! So true...this is a huge part of my job here at the clinic; deciphering and triaging the situation, so it's vital that the person take some deep breaths and speak slowly and coherently into the mouthpiece. And absolutely what White Horse said - being able to provide accurate directions is also very important. Sure makes my job interesting though. It sure sounds like you'd be a great neighbor to have!! And, good luck with your new camera.

cdncowgirl said...

Amen! There is nothing wrong with being a rookie, but for heaven's sake some common sense goes a long way!
Honestly, I thought for a moment I'd be included in your rant to our lost calf the other day. Thankfully I wasn't. Bad luck on our part that the dud bull wasn't such a dud after all... poor timing for babies and we'll have to wait one more year to get calves from the good bull.

Janice said...

Lucky she has you for a neighbor...sadly you will probably be called on again.Lucky she has you for a neighbor.Cold here too sure makes you just wanna curl up until winters over.In case you might be interested I have moved over to wordpress. Blogger won't let me blog...go figure. So Own A Morgan @ wordpress.com

aurora said...

You are a good neighbor Fern. Growing up in the city, I've had to remind my hubby more then once to not assume I know everything about farming. Some times you have to teach people what seems like the obvious. However, I've found common sense can't be taught. You either have it or you don't. Doesn't matter where you grow up. Hopefully your neighbor learned a few things from you and will be better equipped next time, cuz you know there is going to be one.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

My first thought is, 'Poor planning on your end does not constitute an emergency on my end', but those of us with animals don't seem to fail to jump in and lend a hand. She's lucky to have a good neighbor like yourself!!!

Cheyenne said...

What you consider a 'rant' is such great points. Clear & concise.

I also appreciate you never use a condescending manner in...anything!

Hope that wee calf does well.

Also hoping you are staying warm today. :)