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7059 Posts

Posted - Feb 13 2015 :  5:05:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I recently lost my cow Maizy:

She'd swallowed a nail and some nylon cording. When cattle get sick from something metal they've ingested, it's called Hardware Disease,

We're pretty sure the nail we found in Maizy came from our homemade wooden feeder.

Here's what our daily cow-chow line-up looks like at our farm. If the photo load function here would have allowed, we could have hooked the next three photos together horizontally so you could get acquainted with the fertilizer end of the twelve cows in this photo.

Early one morning when my husband showed up to put some hay in their feeder, he found one section of it in shambles. Somehow, the girls had tussled and busted apart several of the 2 x 4s you see here. (Now you know one of the reasons why I don't allow my cows to have horns. They can be rough enough with each other. Horns only make their injuries worse.) None of our cows acted or looked injured but we know now that when the feeder got busted apart, Maizy put one of the nails in her mouth. Hubby did some forensics on the nail we found in her. Because it didn't have pry marks on it and given the angle on the bend, it couldn't have been pried out with a hammer during repair and dropped. The nails we pulled out during our forensics all had a gradual bend in them. But the nail did match the nails in the feed bunk.

The other problem the vet found when she cut Maizy open was plastic rope like you'd see in a black halter, a sort of woven rope. Since we've never had anything like that around here, we assume she came to us with it. The ball on the far right alone weighed 3 pounds! Over the years, her rumen had turned the rope it into three very heavy compact balls.

Here are the magnets the vet gave us to put in our cows/bulls. One by one, as we get them into our squeeze chute, down it goes.

We also came up with a new rule regarding disposal of the twine that holds our bedding straw together. Because we carry fresh bales to their bedding areas before opening them up, we end up with the twine in hand. So we knot it before putting it in our pockets because the knot sinks it deeper into our pockets or so we thought. Yesterday, I found this in one of our shelters--knotted twine that either Miss Daisy or Lacy Lou had already started chewing on. Fortunately, it didn't go down. I know I've seen plastic twine on the ground at other farms. You wouldn't think dropping a piece of twine could be your cow's demise, but it can. X amount of twine in, X amount of twine back out. New rule.

Love this photo of Maizy grooming her most recent calf, Rose Etta. Maizy was a fantastic mom.

I removed the hair from the tip of Maizy's tail before we buried her. Part of my daily routine with my girls is combing their tails and sometimes braiding them. Maizy was a strawberry blonde. Maybe some day I'll do what they did in the Victorian era when a loved one was lost

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~


1667 Posts
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - Feb 13 2015 :  6:12:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Maryjane, I hope that's a cows tail and not your beautiful mane :)

I am taking the metal detector up in the morning to check Dud out. With all the hardware used in stall construction I think a screw or nail is a highly likely possibility. Magnets, yeah...coulda, shoulda, woulda.....

I went over the body in good daylight and could neither feel nor see anything obvious. If we get a hit with the metal detector I will go prospecting with my jack knife.
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1156 Posts

Posted - Feb 13 2015 :  7:39:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
MaryJane, hardware disease is a horrid thing, I might put a magnet in Apple when she's old enough, not sure yet.

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I live on a small farm of seventy acres called Green Forest Farm, with 10 horses, a donkey, 5 beef cows, 2 beef heifers, 3 Hereford heifers, around 60 chickens, 8 dogs, my amazing cow, AppleButter, and her little Jersey calf HoneyButter!
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313 Posts
Shelton WA

Posted - Feb 13 2015 :  7:45:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Vet is coming this month for Annabelle's shots and she is getting a magnet. Also good idea about a metal detector.

A cow is the heart of a farm
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11202 Posts

Posted - Feb 14 2015 :  04:13:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the information MaryJane. Heartbreaking. After Maisy passed I went out into the pasture and walked around picking up anything I thought they may pick up and ingest. Found some shotgun shell casings. We've done a lot of clay target/ target practice here so I found several. So who knows. Found some plastic from large hay bales etc. And when the snow melts I will be making another sweep. Thanks again. The memento item with the hair is beautiful.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown

Edited by - NellieBelle on Feb 14 2015 04:39:22 AM
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4666 Posts
Peever SD

Posted - Feb 14 2015 :  05:29:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Never ever realized cows would eat objects like that but figured it out when Harriet gobbled down the used wipes from milking. Will have to be vigilant about what lies around!

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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338 Posts

Posted - Feb 14 2015 :  08:53:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been cleaning up too. I am famous for looping hay ropes over the fence rails to pick up later. I have seen them chewed on so now I am storing them in a bag in the barn away from the feed and hay and away from the cows run in, just in case...

I have had barn doors left open before and cow plops in the hay room ( stall).
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1413 Posts

Posted - Feb 15 2015 :  12:00:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a horrific way for us to all learn such a valuable lesson. Thank you MaryJane for being willing to teach us because of your loss.
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1667 Posts
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - Feb 15 2015 :  5:15:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, it was a tragic lesson, and a highly 'teachable moment' in my life. My main concern used to be getting the twines wrapped up in the beaters on the turd hearse. Now we are gathering up anything that isn't feed.
There is enough old horse drawn machinery around here for halters to get hung up on. NO halters is a good rule on any ranch/farm.
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