Removing Porcupine Quills from a Cow

By on Jul 19, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The quills were firmly stuck in Zeena’s face as we loaded her into the stock trailer for the trip home. Zeena, a cow, was in one of our remote Barnstead pastures when she was attacked by a porcupine. We had to get her home where we had the tools to remove the over 30 quills plastered on her face. How did she get all those quills? Would a porcupine attack a cow? Not likely. More likely is that Zeena, fascinated by a waddling porcupine, got too close to the beast and it whacked her with its tail. Cattle are curious creatures. Lie flat on the ground in a pasture with cows and within minutes they will be standing around sniffing your head and feet. They won’t hurt you or step on you, they’ll just sniff and wonder what this thing on the ground is. Not to fear, they won’t step on you, they’ll just sniff. That’s the thing, most livestock will go out of...

Piglets Learn from their Mothers

By on Jul 13, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Chipmunk, the sow, jumped to her feet, growled and grabbed Herman tossing him into the corner. Herman, a piglet injured at birth, had been away from his mom while he recovered from a birth injury. The skin on his back had split during birth but after four weeks under the care of a nine-year-old 4H girl, he had only a small scar on his back. He was a fully recovered, very active four-week-old piglet ready to rejoin his litter at Miles Smith Farm, or so we thought. Every farm animal has to learn appropriate etiquette when they are young. Baby calves learn how to approach older cows, chickens learn the “pecking order” and piglets learn not to pester their mothers or chew on her ears which is just what Herman did before he got tossed. Without animal basic training the babies will not survive in a larger herd. Babies that are bottle fed by humans are the biggest offenders. When fed by...

What is a Cow doing on a NASCAR track?

By on Jul 6, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

After two hours in a windowless completely closed 12×12 box on the NASCAR track Clemy, a Miles Smith Farm Highlander cow who was sharing the box with me, was ready to leave. That morning at 7 am Bruce had driven the stock trailer containing Clemy the cow, onto the NH Motor Speedway track. He pulled up to a box and Clemy stepped out, her feet never touching the track, into the box with me. We were both sealed in together. In 2013, instead of a concert, the NH Motor Speedway decided to run a game show during a NASCAR weekend.  Just like “The Price is Right,” contestants would choose a box that could contain a car, a cow or other gifts. Clemy was the cow who had to stay hidden in this box, with me, for hours until the contest started. We got in the box before the track opened to be sure no one knew which box we were in. The track officials had been concerned that the cow would moo while...

Flies can kill livestock

By on Jun 27, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Even though I had washed several times, two maggots were squirming on my smartphone screen as I called my vet, Christina Murdock. A Highlander calf, born five days earlier, had an army of maggots on her back and legs which we were trying to remove. About 7:30 pm that night a farmer who, a few years ago, had purchased some Scottish Highlander cows from me called with one question, “What do you do for ‘fly strike?’” Fly strike happens usually to baby livestock and can kill if not treated immediately. Flies lay their eggs on newborn calves and if the calf is wet and cold, the eggs hatch into larvae also known as maggots. The maggots burrow into the baby’s skin and multiply causing toxic shock so the skin dies. If conditions are right babies, especially sheep or goats, can die in hours.  It had been raining and cold for a few days which is why this calf was so heavily...

Barnstead Police Help Round Up Escaped Cattle

By on Jun 22, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

The dirt road shimmered under my feet in the dark as if walking on stars. Every so often Missy, the Scottish Highlander cow I was leading, swung her horns at one of the six Angus cows following us up the moonlit road. Just two hours earlier I had driven this very same road with those six Angus cows in the stock trailer. We had put them in the trailer but a few miles down the road they weren’t there anymore. Earlier that evening Bruce, my husband, and I had loaded five calves and two cows in the front section and six black yearling cattle in the back section of our stock trailer.  As it grew dark, I drove the rig back to our home farm with Bruce a few minutes behind me in another vehicle. We were bringing these cattle back to our farm, Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, before moving them to another remote pasture.   All seemed well until about halfway home when I got a call from Bruce...

More Piggy Drama

By on Jun 12, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

Pinky was building a nest at the top of the hill. She pawed the ground and piled up sticks and grass on the bare patch of dirt. We had been waiting about two weeks for Pinky, our second pregnant sow, to give birth to her piglets and it seemed like that was the day. I had to get her into the “pig hut” before dark so I could monitor the birth. When born, the piglets would be safer in the farrowing hut (farrow means to give birth to piglets) with its four walls, complete with “escape” routes for the piglets. We designed the stalls so the tiny baby piglets could hide when six hundred pound momma pig decided to lie down. Three weeks ago, Chipmunk, another sow, gave birth to nine piglets.  Of the nine born, nine are still alive but we can lose piglets at birth so I have to be prepared to assist if needed. This day was Pinky’s time to give birth. It was crucial to get her in the hut...

Piggy Drama

By on Jun 7, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

The three black baby pigs fought and squiggled into position until each latched onto a bottle nipple and started sucking. It’s been two weeks since I became a “piggy momma” and I’m still learning what it takes. Two weeks ago Chipmunk, a Miles Smith Farm pregnant sow, gave birth to nine piglets then she contracted mastitis. It took us all (eight piglets, sick Chipmunk and me) to work out a feeding routine.  I had to bottle feed them and after the first few feedings, when they heard me, the piglets would squeal and shriek crowding the door.  Mother Chipmunk grunted as if to say, “Hurray.  Feed these babies.  They are driving me crazy with their squealing.”  When I opened their pen door all eight babies would pile out to suck down the milk I put out.  Chipmunk’s mastitis is healed and she has started producing some milk but I still bottle and pan feed those...

Bottle Feeding Baby Pigs

By on May 29, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 2 comments

One of the piglets scurried back and forth on the floor, another tried to leap twice his height into the box holding the milk while the one I was feeding chomped his razor sharp teeth into my finger. It was piglet chaos. I never planned on being a mother to eight piglets but nature apparently had other ideas. We had been waiting patiently for three months, three weeks and three days for Chipmunk, a sow, to have her piglets. The counting starts after a sow has a date with her boar-friend, in this case, Bucky, an eight hundred pound boar. Chipmunk had two previous litters (or drifts) of piglets without incident and on the morning I opened the pig-shed door and found nine live piglets and a hungry Chipmunk I thought this would be another problem-free delivery. How wrong I was. That evening Chipmunk was not interested in dinner but with a temperature of only 103.5, a pig’s normal...