Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Its Not All Sunshine and Roses, Part 1

Among many there is a romanticised view of farming.  I would even put myself in that category. It is a lifestyle that I love dearly. Many of the things that I do from day to day, I would continue to do after winning the lottery (for the record, I don't play the lottery). As a result of my affection for my chosen profession, I probably even portray a somewhat romanticised image of life here on the farm. After all, isn't that what social media is best at. It lets us show the world the portions of our life that we want to put on display. 

Well, today i'm going against the grain. Believe it or not, life here on the farm isn't all sunshine and roses. 

Last friday, the third of three, fourteen hour days delivering our products around Atlanta. I got a call that we had a sick calf.  Not just any calf, this was the baby calf that Atticus got for Christmas. We were shorthanded that day here at the farm already, but the employee that was here took care of the calf all evening.  I called the vet from Atlanta. He and I talked about the calf and came to a preliminary conclusion that it was a magnesium deficiency.  He was busy at the clinic and couldn't come out, but he put together a treatment plan and my brother was kind enough to pick up everything from the clinic and administer the first treatment.  He was also very busy so he couldn't help our only employee move the 300 lb calf into the barn where she could be dry and warm. They did snuggle her into some hay and rig up a tarp covering, protecting her from the light rain that we got Friday.   When I finally got back here at 9:00pm, It was unseasonably cold with a light rain still falling. I just couldn't leave that calf out in the uncomfortable weather, So I got the tractor with the front loader and went to fetch the calf. Understand that the calf hadn't stood all day, so my plan was to get her into the bucket of the tractor and bring her inside the barn. There I could monitor her more closely and take better care of her. As I tried to gently slide her into the bucket, she tried to stand. It was apparent she had trouble with her balance, but as long as she was leaning on me she could stand. I probably stood there 30 min. to see if she would regain her balance and be able to walk. Finally, I was able to  get her onto the tractor and to the barn in her dry warm bed. For the weekend the treatment seemed to be working. She got a little better, but then stabilized still barely able to stand. Monday I called the vet and he was able to come to the farm.   After further analysis and considering our initial treatment, we now think the problem may be a thiamine deficiency. Treatment is currently underway, and we hope to see some progress tomorrow. 
I know this post is a far cry from the sundrenched green pastures you normally see on social media from all farmers. It is a wonderful life out here, but it's not for the faint of heart.