Posted on March 28, 2017
A tale of life….
Back in 2001 at Liar’s Lake we had a young bull born that had all of the promise in the world. We named him Liar’s Lake Wazimu, (Swahili for insanity take that where ever you want). This young animal had it all, size, height and horn. In 2003 he went to the Colorado State Fair and the All American Watusi Shows where he was the Grand Champion bull of both events.
That year and 2004 we exposed a few cows to him and then let greed win over and sold him. (I made the mistake of putting a price on him to the wrong person who recognized his potential) By the time his calves started developing and looked phenomenal he was already gone. The few that we had in 2004 and 2005 were bulls with the exception of one female. All of his calves were huge horned, several being bulbous. The single female, Liar’s Lake Sudan, was beautiful but slow to mature so we did not expose her until she was a 3 year old. We then exposed her to JHF O’Rambo Thunder bred by the Richard and Pam Jackson of Water Valley, Kentucky. His dam was the well known cow O’Hara, a double Rambo granddaughter. I was excited at the genetic combination.
On August 5, 2009 Sudan produced a nice solid red heifer calf but neither one thrived. Bit by bit both mother and daughter lost weight. It was soon too late to pull the calf so both were placed in a TLC pen for full feed and care. Sudan maintained her weight and fully raised the calf, but the calf remained slightly small.
After weaning we kept the calf up and watched her closely, apparently too closely. She was nick named Sallie, which stuck to her, and she lived with practically every type of critter with the exception of watusi. Sallie matured slowly and did not show any interest in cattle or bulls so she became a roving mascot. Actually, Sallie is a pain. She is always in the way. She is aggressive at the feeder, pushes people around to get herself petted and enters every open gate she can get near to. Because of her insistence on attention she gets put into a pen quite often. This last winter was no different, with the exception that I put her in with my TLC cows and the bull. I joked that if she was capable of breeding, spending the winter with a young bull should prove it.
Sallie did not show any signs of being in season or being bred, however one day I did notice that she was a little pouched out in the back and her bag looked a little swollen. She still did not look very bred even then so when I got the call one morning that she was attempting to calve I was somewhat surprised. The next surprise was the trouble she was having trying to deliver.
In a normal calving the calf is presented in an upright position with the head and both front feet entering the birth canal together. When there is a problem that makes it difficult or impossible for the calf to be delivered by the cow without assistance it is termed dystocia. This can present in many different ways and for different reasons. Sallie, who herself has always been different, tried a rare one. The calf was presenting correctly, however, the head and one foot were exiting through the anus and the other foot from the vulva with skin and tissue between them. I had heard of this before but had never seen it or known of anyone that had dealt with it. I immediately started looking for help, not an easy task in the Ozark’s on the first day of deer hunting season.
The calf was partially out, but very stuck. Jim Maggard, who had found her, did attempt to push the calf back inside to re-position it, but this was to no avail. The calf did flinch however. which meant she was alive. He did manage to get her tongue loose as it was trapped under the calf’s chin inside. The vet’s office was in the process of doing an inventory on their trucks and had all of their contents strewn over the parking lot. Thankfully when Dr. Linn www.ozarkveterinaryclinic.com heard that the calf was still alive he literally threw what he needed into his truck and headed right here.
These photos pretty much speak for them selves. It was quite a job and when the vet’s attempts to deliver the calf normally failed he was forced to do an episiotomy (yes, just like on humans) and pull the calf. It being winter and rather cold outside it was pretty much a community project to clean and warm the calf and care for Sallie. Thankfully, after some time mom and baby have bonded and all is well.
The next step was to name the baby. One of the helpers said that the sun came out as soon as the baby hit the ground so Sunshine went into contention. Another suggestion was some thing along the lines of Pain in the Ass or Butthead, both for obvious reasons. Jim won the day though when he claimed naming rights since he found her first. He says that she took a wrong turn even before she was born so she became Liars Lake Maleficent. Here four months later Sallie is still a pain and just as friendly and the calf wants nothing to do with any of us, so much for gratitude.