Current Progressive Dairy digital edition
Advertisement

HERd management: Cows have disappointed me my whole life

Kelli Woodring for Progressive Dairyman Published on 10 June 2016

It was a rough week, to say the least. The battles just seemed to stack up, and I couldn’t win any of them. It was hard to come to the farm every day to find myself in another mess it was going to take me all day to get out of.

One by one, I lost cows, good cows I tried so hard to fix – but I couldn’t. I was frustrated with myself, the situation and the cows. And then it dawned on me: Cows have been disappointing me my whole life.

advertisement

advertisement

Ever since I was a little girl, I learned about disappointment. I have always loved cows, but sometimes they bring more pain than joy. I remember as a kid lying beside sick cows. I would lean my head on their weak bodies and tell them they would be OK.

I truly thought that if I believed in them enough, they would heal themselves. I learned quickly that it didn’t work out that way.

I guarantee at some point you’ve felt the burden of your responsibilities weighing down on you, and for me it was feeling heavier every day. On Wednesday of that week, I snapped. After my third down cow of the day, I had to take a time out.

I stretched out on the bed of my truck and stared up into the sky. I thought, “Why are you doing this to yourself?” I was covered in manure head to toe, drenched in sweat, with tears running down my face. I knew I had to pull it together.

Those cows needed me to be strong. They needed my help. I have devoted 15 years of my life to my cows, and I’m not ready to give up on them yet.

advertisement

Through those years, I’ve felt a lot of pain, but I wouldn’t change it because of what I’ve learned about myself. I’ve learned I’m still going to love cows – even though they break my heart. I’m still going to give them every chance they deserve to fight for their lives.

I’m still going to stay up all night waiting for them to give birth. I’m still going to drag myself out of bed because one fell down in the middle of the night. I’m still going to have faith that she might get back up. I’m still going to cry when a good one loses her battle.

And I’m still going to pray every night for God to protect them and keep them healthy. I’ve learned that this will never be just a job to me; it’s my passion.

It was definitely one of those weeks that tested my strength and my sanity. The farm is constantly buzzing. Everyone is running around trying to get their daily tasks done. Sometimes it is plain chaos.

It’s easy to lose sight of my goals and composure, but I know who I am and what I do best; I care. I care about the food they eat, the people who handle them, the place they sleep; I care about every inch of their bodies. Some people might say I care too much.

Those people will never understand what I do or why I do it. They don’t get the bond between this girl and her cows. It’s a deep-rooted love that, even throughout a lifetime of disappointments, can never be broken.  PD

advertisement

LATEST BLOG

LATEST NEWS