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I Saw It on YouTube

As a farmer, you learn things in odd ways. Sometimes you learn them by reading books, and other times you learn them by experience or by taking a class. Last week, I had the chance to use some information I came by in a more unconventional way.

Last Thursday, I was checking on my other Jersey cow, Blossom. She looked … odd. I put out the feed, and she sniffed it, but didn’t eat. Even weirder. She usually cleans up the trough.

I thought about that for awhile, while I stretched out the hose to fill the horse’s trough. I glanced over, and she’d laid down next to the fence. Hmmm….

At next glance, she was stretched out on her side. Just like Lady, the cow that I lost three days earlier.

I flew up to the house and mixed up some Epsom salts to inject her with magnesium for grass tetany.

I rounded up my two oldest daughters, because I knew I’d need help.

When I got outside and begin looking closer, as I was injecting Epsom salts, I started thinking that she was presenting differently from Lady. After going over it in my mind (high milk producer, sudden weakness, turning the head back at times, cool ears), I thought it was more like milk fever.

I sent my oldest daughter back to the house for the IV setup, needle, and calcium gluconate solution.

Once I got that set up, I plunged the needle into her milk vein, giving her the whole bottle of calcium.

Three minutes after I pulled the needle from her belly, Blossom started trying to get up. We let her try a minute more, then my daughter and I helped her. She was on her feet, but a little shaky. This whole ordeal lasted for less than 20 minutes.

And, boy, was it a frightening 20 minutes!

How did I know to do that?

When Lady was sick, I scoured the Internet to find anything that might help her. I found a YouTube video that demonstrated a milk fever case and what to do. Because of this, I did what needed to be done.

I was terrified. But I knew she’d die if I didn’t try SOMETHING!

I really feel like a redneck …

“Hey, I saw this video on YouTube, and …”

I’ve never done such a thing in my life, but when Blossom went down, I was desperate. Desperation helps you do a lot of things. 

Thankfully, Blossom is just fine now. Still fat and sassy, nursing three calves. Thank God for YouTube!

Published on Mar 19, 2014

Grit Magazine

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