Monday, June 13, 2011

you wanted a cow story

So late last week I had a cow getting close to calve. I was pretty excited about it as it is one of my favorite cows as far as quality goes, and I had trouble getting her to breed last year. (she was bred, dropped the pregrancy) Thursday night around 11, I walked out in the pasture to go check on her. Everything looked good and I figured she would probably calve overnight. I got up at around 5 the next morning, and walked out to the pasture. She had a very nice little heifer calf dried off and at her side. The calf was healthy and had already nursed. I finished feeding, and went off to work.

After work I got home I needed to go out and weigh and tag the calf. I went out to the pasture and started looking for the calf. I could not find the calf anywhere. I found the cow but no calf. I walked up over a little hill and on the other side of it found this.

What I found was half of a calf carcass. The carcass was seperated right in front of the pelvic bone. Just the rear legs and a tail were there. As you can guess I am all WTF. There was no blood, no guts, nothing other than the bottom half of this calf. My mind was pretty much racing at a million miles an hour. It would take something either extremely strong, or several animals to break a calf at the spine. My mind first turned to the thought of a mountain lion. They aren't supposed to be in Illinois but there are countless rumors of people seeing them in our county (even my neighbor). Then I thought possibly a pack of dogs or coyotes but it would be crazy unusual for either especially with a herd of cows to deal with.

I literally ran back to my house trying to figure out what to do since I have many other calves running around in the pasture. I decided to go back out in the pasture to see if I could find anything else. I came back, this time with a gun and searched all over, but found absolutely nothing. I also learned I am a puss. Even carrying a gun the thought of large cat had me crazy scared walking through a piece of woods on our pasture. It started getting dark so I went back up the house not finding a thing other than the carcass.

Saturday morning I decided I needed to go look again. I looked in some new spots that I hadn't covered the night before and still nothing. I decided to go look towards where the cows were laying in the far corner of the pasture. As I am walking along I stumble across a calf that I don't have tagged. I didn't have anything else close to calving, so again I am all WTF?? The calf is healthy and strong. It gets up and runs over to the cow that calved Thursday night/Friday morning and immediately starts nursing. It was pretty obvious that it was her calf. At this point I am pretty much baffled.

I started taking inventory of all cows/calves and everyone is account for which made me wonder what calf did I find Friday night.

The conclusion I have drawn is that I found a dead calf from someone elses herd. (the closest herd that I know is about 2 miles away) My guess is that they had a dead calf and either shallow buried it or put it somewhere to rot. Coyotes then carried it to my place where the back half of the carcass found its way coincidentally in to my pasture. I stumbled across it when looking for the newborn calf who was probably hiding in the tall grass somewhere. The carcass wasn't what i would call fresh, but it wasn't days old either and I just dismissed it since it was about 97 on Friday. This is my best explanation and would explain the lack of blood and guts and rest of the body.

It was quite the range of emotions between Friday nand Saturday morning. From happy to WTF to scared to baffled to happy once again. I have a call in to the neighboring farm to see if they think it could have came from their place.

Here is a happy cow/calf (not the cow/calf in question) picture to cleanse the palate

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