I’ve come to realize in life that I hold many titles. Wife, mom, sister, doctor, friend, lactitioner, horticultrist…these are just a few. Some are real and some are titles I give myself when I see fit.
When my father-in-law asked for some assistance the other day on the farm, there was no way I could deny him my services. He began to tell me that a baby calf was born several days ago and the mama cow was swollen.
I said to him, “Swollen?”
He replied, “Her utters. We need to make sure the baby is getting milk.”
Let me first say this. My father-in-law was almost literally born in a barn. So was my husband. Thus, both are very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of farm life.
Anyways, back to the story.
I immediately began having flashbacks.
I knew that feeling all to well! Being engorged with milk!
I could sympathize with this mama cow. I’ve been in those same hooves before. And those aren’t any hooves you want to be in!
I had to help her!
Then I remembered the baby needed to eat too.
After we got mama cow pinned up in a stall, we got a bucket of warm water and washed, massaged, soaked and even tried to milk her. Poor mama cow, she had the “Clogged Breast Duct of the Century”.
We really didn’t have any luck helping mama cow. At this point, I sadly apologized to her. Thankfully, cows have more than two utters and baby cow was able to nurse off the others.
After we got that all done, I thought my services were done for the day. Apparently, my self-proclaimed “lactitioner” title was so impressive that my father-in-law asked if I wanted to help “band” the other baby calf.
To clarify, banding a cow is a nice, politically correct way of saying neutering.
My father-in-law intrusted me with the handy-dandy banding tool. He showed me how it worked.
First you open.
Insert the band over you know what.
(no picture is really necessary for this).
Then you close.
The band stays on for about a week, then the boy cow’s pride will no longer be there. Allegedly, according to my father- in-law, this does not hurt nor cause harm to the cow. Its imperative that all boy cows on a farm get banded, except for the bull. If not, just like human boys with a lot of testosterone, they will fight. Also, there is only allowed one bull on the farm to hanky panky with the ladies.
Once boy cow was pinned up in the stall, my father-in-law grabbed him by the tail and lifted his hind end off the ground. By lifting a cow up by its tail causes the back legs to briefly exhibit paralysis, therefore not allowing them to kick. Well, this was the line my father-in-law fed me. At that point, I could only hope and pray what he said was true because I’ve never been kicked by a cow and I didn’t want this day to be my first either.
Once boy cow’s rear end was hanging in the air, I slowly made my way towards him. I began to separate the back legs and tried to find his jewels. I kept looking, and looking and looking. After about two minutes of searching around back there, it finally dawned on me that there were no jewels to be found. All I saw were little utters hanging down. He was a she!
(Sorry, there are no pictures of the banding process as I was a little busy and there was no else to take the pictures)
So that day on the farm, I added some new titles to my list.