A Bumper Crop Of Love
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.
Whatever you’re feeling right now, it is valid. You deserve space and time to process and grieve. Take care of yourselves. Spread love whenever you can. This world feels terrible, but it’s made better by having you in it. — Jett
Here’s What’s Happening At Good Spirits Farm
Remember how I thought Benni would have her baby early? Literally minutes after I hit send last Friday, Benni went into labor! She delivered a healthy baby boy a full three weeks early without needing any assistance from me. Baby did need a bit of help finding Benni’s teats. Because Benni carries the gene for dwarfism and her legs are so short, when her udder is totally full, her teats practically drag. (Some of you may remember that she “degloved” a teat last year when she stepped on it.) Poor Jett couldn’t figure out why his attempts to suckle at nose height were not getting him anywhere!
I have made the hard decision that this will be Benni’s final baby. She has been showing signs of arthritis for the past couple of months, and her udder is a problem. But the decision was truly made when, after Jett was born, hours and hours went by without her passing the placenta.
Last year, it took her several hours, so at first, I didn’t worry. Cattle are not like horses and humans, where a retained placenta is a medical emergency. In fact, in cows, it’s not even considered a “retained placenta” until 12 hours after birth. But 12 hours came and went and the placenta was still hanging, and I could see Benni pushing, trying to move it out.
On Saturday, I called our vet. She assured me that I was still within the window of things being okay, but, of course, the longer this went on, the higher Benni’s chance for infection. She suggested an old farmer’s trick: Tying a wet towel to the afterbirth. This adds just a bit of weight to it, but in a steady, constant manner (you never want to pull the placenta out).
So, I marched out with a towel and did as I was told. (Do not ask how many times I had to wash my hands to get the stink of two-day-old afterbirth off my hands. Wear gloves, kids!)
Sunday morning, the afterbirth was still hanging (though the towel had worked itself loose) and I was officially panicking. Even worse, Benni had basically stopped pushing. It was hot, there were flies all over it, and it just seemed like a disaster was about to unfold. I got another clean towel (and gloves this time!), knotted it extra tight, and told Benni I needed her to help me help her.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, I walked out to find the vet’s trick had worked. The placenta was on the ground and Benni was munching grass with Jett by her side. I have been watching her like a hawk all week, looking for any signs she might have an infection. So far so good. Jett, meanwhile, is doing great—and has absolutely figured out how to get the milk machine to work.
Here’s What I Loved This Week:
Healthy babies on the ground with mamas doing well. That’s all you can ask for, really. Do I wish we’d had girls, not boys? Absolutely. Especially with this being Benni’s last baby. Benni is such a special cow. (And she will stay on our farm until her arthritis becomes a quality of life issue.) But healthy, happy cows is all I really want, and that’s exactly what I have.