Bovine Phlebotomist and Free Martinism

| 5/23/2014 2:49:00 PM

April FreemanThis year, I’ve learned more veterinary stuff than I ever dreamed I’d know. One duty I’ve gotten really good at is being the bovine phlebotomist. I’ve taught myself how to take blood samples from cows.

There’s a big vein that runs down the center of a cow’s tail. If you hold the cow’s tail straight up, it’s actually pretty easy to take a blood sample using a really big needle and a syringe.

My Holstein yearling named Valentine has me worried.

We got Valentine from a cattle sale as a young bottle calf. One concern that I had when we got her was just not knowing the circumstances of her birth.

Valentine calf

See, there’s this thing with calves called “free martinism.”

6/19/2014 3:24:18 PM

Rats. Preg check came back negative. Darn it. My dairy project is doomed! Doomed! Okay. Melodrama over. My hubby's considering breeding one of our beefers to a dairy cross to get a cross bred milker for me. It'll be 3 years before I ever can milk her, and that's supposing that I get a heifer the first time around. Sigh. I need a goat.

5/28/2014 7:49:41 AM

April, homestead farming is filled with practical vs. emotional decisions. Having a homestead filled with pets is not a practical thing but making the decision to cull out the non productive animals might be emotional but it's the right thing to do. I grew up around cows but never knew about free martinism. Of course 55 years ago farmers knew about such things but they just didn't know what to call it. Life went on and just as you are thinking the non producing cow went to market or was destined to freezer camp. I guess it really doesn't matter what the syndrome is called. It all boils down to whether the animal adds to the sustainability of the homestead or removes from the sustainability. It's a tough life making homestead decisions. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Valentine is pregnant. Have a great Bovine Phlebotomist day.