archaic plural of cow
Darkness had fallen on the feedlot and in the barns and on a normal evening we would have been up at the house settling in for the night. Preparation for the morning milking began at 4:30 AM so bedtime was always early.
This night found us in one of the barns with a makeshift light as we attempted to assist one of our cows to give birth. It was a process we rarely interfered with, but she was having difficulty. With the hind legs fully out it was too late for intervention even from a Veterinarian.
She was worn out from pushing and laid down on her side giving over to our care completely. We could see the mixture of fear and trust in her huge eyes as she strained, watching our every move.
As we coaxed and soothed her we waited for the contractions and we’d each carefully, but with as much strength as possible pull on the kicking hind legs of the calf as it struggled for freedom. “Oh, it’s alive! Come on baby, you can do it!”
Finally, one last push and the body slivered out onto the straw. It was a perfect, beautiful bull calf and he was dead.
The new mother immediately rose to her feet and as she cleaned and nudged him in a useless effort to get him on his feet I stood watching as tears streamed down my cheeks. After about twenty minutes John had to remove the calf and she fought him as he slipped through the door with her baby.
Back at the house in the stillness of the night as we laid in our bed exhausted from the day and the emotion of the last few hours I could hear her bawling. Such a mournful cry and it persisted until hoarseness set in. Nothing could be done. Nine months to bring a calf into the world and just one push too late to survive.
(filed under sagegrass because i said that)
An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.
— Martin Buber said that