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.
Sherry P says
C’mon, JB! How could you tease us like that and not tell about the horses?? They look like mustangs. Are you adding them to the 4-legged herd?? Please do tell!!
Sherry P says
Oh gosh – just want to add, I’m so happy that Betsy’s okay!! 😀
Linda C says
In the past, the neighbors’ horses would escape and come over to the sanctuary That is a pretty buckskin, though.
Yes, sorry if that was misleading. They belong to our neighbors and they can meet the cows at the fence line.
Linda C says
You are never too big or too old to have your mother scold you for not washing behind your ears, lol.
We’re so glad to hear Betsy is doing better!! Sorry she had to go through all that.
Arlene and Michael says
So glad that Betsy is better. Thank goodness she and the others are at a place where they are so well taken care of.
Wow, horses for neighbors!
How lucky is that.
I’m so glad Betsy is feeling better, she has such a sweet face 🙂
So glad Betsy is okay! I love that mother and son are close???
How fortunate Anthony noticed Betsy was missing from the group as he was leaving. Whew. Do you check in on the cows before you leave each night to ensure they are together where they should be? I am relived Betsy’s leg injury had a manageable outcome. Leg injuries for cows can sometimes be dire, right? Looks as if all’s well now. Betsy and Nutmeg are adorable together. I think Nutmeg has a crush on the tractor because it’s the only moving thing close to his size! I also think he is magnificent. Gorgeous. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on the cows!
Hi Kathleen – We usually check in on the cows in mid-afternoon during the summer when they are out on pasture. She must have sprained her foot shortly after that. And yes, lameness is very worrisome with all of that weight perched on four skinny little legs.
OMG!! I love your cattle SO much!!! Working at a zoo I can sympathize with the caregivers counting out 49 pills per dose!!! I hope it is a SID, once per day, medication!!! Do you put it in apples or drill holes in a carrot ant stuff the carrot? Or mix the power with something sweet like molasses or apple sauce??? Or cooked yam???
Hi Deanna – Yes, SID for this particular medication. For the cattle, we just get some wet COB (corn, oats, and barley with molasses) and sprinkle the pills in as they eat from a scoop. I imagine that, just like the with the chimps, there are some medications that would be more difficult to administer but in this case it’s the pill-counting that is the biggest hassle!
Elaine Reininger says
JB: You really gave me a good laugh saying you and Diana each picked up an end of Betsy and carried her over the pasture, I am STILL laughing with that mental picture now. Yes, veterinarians are a very special breed of people. I was blessed to have the same man for all my dogs for over 40 years. He’d call at 9 pm to assure me my dog was recovering nicely after a surgery. If you went in for one item like a tiny lump, your dog got a half hour physical. His notes were so thorough and even after you returned home, he’d call you to say something else that he just thought of.
Sandie Allaway says
Whew! So glad Betsy is good! This blog made me smile the entire time I’m reading and looking at these adorable pictures. Once again, thank you!
What a heartening post. The photographs — and the cattle and their equine neighbors — are beautiful! What a great place to live the Sanctuary is.