How’s the cow?

April 21, 2009

Short answer: Pregnant.

Long answer: Read-on…

One of our pregnant cows started showing signs of trouble a week ago. On Monday morning the farm proctors (Beccah and Rosemary) waved me to hurry as I walked down the barn driveway to meet them and the biology students (all bio students do a week of morning chores as part of their course work).

Our cow Granola had a fleshy mass protruding from under her tail and she appeared to be pushing, as if in labor. The mass was about the size of a volleyball and, as Rosemary and Beccah described, it looked like a brain.

Granola had prolapsed her vagina (feel free to stop reading if you don’t want details). For some reason she was pushing, though her cervix was closed tight. The connective tissue of the vagina has broken down, increasing the chance that she’ll prolapse her uterus when the calf is born. A prolapsed uterus increases the possibility of severe infection and bleeding.

When the vet came on Monday morning he had a small audience of Gould students, faculty, and faculty kids as he worked with Granada. We stitched her closed in an attempt to keep the tissues inside. He gave Granola an epidural to discourage the pushing. Over time she appeared more comfortable and the tissue remained inside. I don’t know about you, but I’d never seen a cow get an epidural before…
Since then we’ve been watching and waiting, and waiting and watching. One awesome advantage of farming with a boarding school is the fact that we’re surrounded by people who want to help. Beccah, Rosemary, Ms Austin, Mr. Hedden, Tim Korhonen, the Leff family, Renzo Baker, and others have all helped keep an eye on our cows and our sheep.

Just another day at the academy, right? Gould really isn’t like other schools. We could read about birth or even see a video. But it’s never the same as the real thing. Life doesn’t get any more real than it is on the farm.

Send positive energy to our cow Granola. We’re thinking she’ll need it for this birth. We’re also ready for our cow Granada to give birth soon and our last sheep, Hannaku. We have 2 adorable lambs- a white female named Lolly and a black male named Licorice (it’s an “L” year for lambs).

Until next week,

-Tracey

Thanks to Rosemary for the pictures.

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