Last week, as he was leaving work for the day, Anthony noticed that Betsy was no longer with her group. It’s unusual for anyone in this herd to be alone, but even more so for Betsy. Diana and I joined Anthony to check on her and all three of us could see that she was favoring her front right leg. Her family had gone on their last trip of the day for water and she was unable to follow them.
So we each grabbed an end and carried her across the pasture to the stock tank. Just kidding.
Caring for chimpanzees is incredibly difficult, but cattle present some of their own challenges as well. In this case, we had to move the water to her, along with some hay and a mineral block, so that she didn’t have to try to walk. Dr. Erin immediately came out to evaluate her. I sometimes wonder if in the history of the profession a veterinarian has ever eaten an entire dinner with their family.
While I’m sure Betsy was grateful for the dinner service, Nutmeg was the real winner. That guy loves the tractor.
Dr. Erin decided that it was likely a minor sprain and that with rest and some pain meds she should recover soon. Did you know that cows can take one of the same pain medications we give the chimps? Except Betsy’s dose is 49 pills. Imagine what it would be for Nutmeg.
For a few days, Betsy and her family stayed in the south pasture. While she was up and grazing, she hadn’t walked more than a dozen yards or so from where Anthony had spotted her that first evening. But on the fourth morning, the cows were nowhere to be found. Not in the south pasture, not at the stock tank. If Betsy were feeling better, I knew exactly where she would go: To the stream that runs through the middle of the sanctuary.
Who wants to drink water from a tank when you can drink water fresh from a mountain spring?
We’ve been pretty fortunate so far when it comes to the cows’ health. Our biggest challenges have been keeping weight on Betsy while keeping weight off of her son. Thankfully this was nothing more than a brief scare and the cattle are now back to their normal routine.
Mostly normal routine, I should say. Because Betsy and the gang have some new neighbors. I’ve been meaning to meet them so I went out this morning to say hello.
Apparently Nutmeg has taken an interest in them, but when I walked out to the south pasture this morning the cows were keeping their distance. Betsy and Nutmeg were alternating between grooming and play fighting. They knocked their heads together, butting and bunting for dominance.
But Nutmeg isn’t interested in dominance. He just wants to groom his mom. As does every 2,000-lb Jersey steer, I would assume.
Before long, Betsy turned her attention toward me.
If you are going to visit the cows, be prepared to stay a while…and get thoroughly cleaned.