So, this past weekend, i got to put my new makeshift barn to use.
Because our calving barn burned down this spring and we lost all of the tools that i use in there, it became necessary to set up new digs, as it were. Because i'm a bit of a procrastinator, it wasn't really ready the other night when i needed to make use of it.
Everything else was the same, i brought the cow having trouble giving birth up the alley to where we would have normally turned left into my cozy, heated barn. There, i had hot water at my disposal and all of my tools were basically at arms reach. I don't have to do this with every cow but when i do, it had become almost second nature to me.
This time, everything was changed up. We turned to the right and headed for my, as of yet, incomplete makeshift barn. I had the pens in place, so that was a major piece. However, i had to wander about the yard and gather up all of the equipment that we had begun to replace and stored in other various sheds until we needed them. Also, i had to pack a pail of hot water over from our shop, because when you are assisting in a birth, hot water is always nice. If you watch movies at all, they always boil water and start tearing up sheets. My water was just comfortably warm and i didn't really need to tear up any sheets. (i think my wife appreciates that.)
I put the cow into the stall, and couldn't find a piece of twine to tie her tail to the side. I do this so when my arm is inside her, checking things out, she isn't whacking me upside the head with her shitty tail. I went without the twine this time. You need to know here, that it's 2:00 A.M. and about 5 degrees below freezing outside when i'm doing this. Because i am lazy, i had yet to get the power installed, i had no lights in my makeshift barn. I had to drive my ATV up and aim the lights in the general direction of the dark end of the cow. Because a cow is the size she is, it's often the case, that you need to have your arm inside of her beyond your elbow. I some cases, you can be right up to your shoulder and wish you has 6 more inches of arm. This time, just past my elbow was enough. The calf had a front leg back and i needed to bring it up into place so she could proceed with the birth.
Bringing a front leg up into place is relatively easy if she hasn't been pushing too long and pushed the calf too far into the birth canal. All was going along smoothly, despite not having everything that i need, in it's familiar spot. I know it doesn't sound like repositioning a calf requires too much effort but it does, your arm gets tired in there. So, i remove it from the cow to take a break and rest it on the metal rail of the calving pen.......where it promptly sticks. Because of course, when you put something wet and warm onto metal that is 5 degrees below freezing, that tends to happen. (like your tongue on a metal flag pole.) It wasn't terrible. I just pulled it off and put it into the pail of warm water i had brought and warmed it up. Then back into the cow. I think she appreciated that as well.
In the end, she delivered a nice healthy calf and all was well. Over the weekend, i finally got the power installed so at least i have lights now. It's still cold at night, and my shed only has three walls, so i'm waiting for the spring to hurry along. I know it's on it's way, it hasn't, not arrived yet.
............if you get a minute, check out workingdan. He has a pretty entertaining blog i've been checking out lately. We talked about smoking a brisket the other day. As soon as the snow melts off my deck again, i plan to do some major grilling. But it's still going to be some time before i can put the cushions back on the deck furniture.