I realize to the average Joe or Jane Public, this will sound excessive, but to me it is something that, as I am now a full fledged senior citizen,( not in spirit,though) and headed closer to my end of life challenges, I would like to explain in terms that they would understand.
Mama Says was her name. She was 9 years old. A mother and Grandmother like me. Even has stepped up and taken care of another’s baby when necessary by licking off a newborn and providing her milk to one who’s own mom didn’t give quite enough for that first feeding or two. So in her lifetime she has made her mark and left an imprint on our hearts.
Mama Says was part of a group of Brown Swiss animals born here on Bejosh Farm and named after characters and inanimate objects in the Forrest Gump movie; Ed has watched that movie so many times he could probably recite most of the dialogue in it. This breed can be slow at everything, from standing up in that first few minutes of life (sometimes it takes hours), to figuring out how to suckle a bottle with help from one of us. Does that give you an indication of the Gump connection? They seem to be very intelligent once they get beyond that initial ‘start up’ of living, but do seem to lean to the slower side of ambition.
Now please understand that this is not a put down or opinion of our view of certain people by any means, just that these particular animals remind us of that movie. We have had animals named Forrest, Jenny, Box-o-Cocolet, Sadie, Ms Laweze and Mama Says, Lt. Daan, Miss Suzy and Bubba Gump to name a few from memory. See the fun in this?
I can remember the grand kids and a neighbor girl (cousin) teaching Mama to lead so she could go the the county fair and show in 4-H and in the open classes for Bejosh. It is usually a tad hilarious to watch the younger kids coaxing that small calf to walk with them on a lead or halter, as the calf is just as stubborn and anxious to quit as they are. But in the end they prove to be good at it and do the kids and our family proud.
The past couple of years Mama Says has suffered with abscesses in her hooves as did one of her sisters a few years older than her. We tried our best to give her a chance to get better this last time; Ed was able to trim and treat her for this problem, but this time is came right back and she was suffering with a swollen hoof that when treated, would not get any better. So the tough decision was made…
Yesterday our son and daughter-in-law came with they cattle trailer and picked her up for the trip to the auction barn. They took her for us so she didn’t get knocked around by other animals in the bigger trailer that our normal trucker has. She had the trailer all to herself and hopefully enjoyed the trip.
Now I am not going to say that this is the way I feel after all animals leave the farm and head to auction. It is not. However, sometimes you just get attached to certain ones and it is like a death in our little ‘farm’family. These animals have personalities all their own; some are cute but laid-back, some are full of the devil from the time they are born, some can get aggressive (Megan comes to mind for me), and as with everything, some are just here doing their job and have no real outstanding qualities. But they are all a part of us; we see them every day!!
So as I took this photo of Mama in the trailer just before she left, I was a bit sad and mad at the same time. If we were making a decent price for our milk, we probably would have afforded to take a chance once more on her healing; treated her and put her on pasture for the summer ( better for feet). Treatment isn’t cheap and losing a milk cow from the herd, even one, makes a difference in production which in turn means smaller check. Mama couldn’t survive on concrete in the freestall barn as it did more harm than good. So many things figured into this decision and in the end we did what we thought was fair and the best thing for the animal. No more suffering. Still isn’t right in my mind! RIP Mama Says; Forrest, Jenny and Lt. Daan await your arrival…….