happy new year, a farewell and the bulls get moved

Yesterday brought another 3-4 inches of snow. And yesterday brought a farewell to another of our original herd that we purchased in 2015. Alice Ulga was bred at the time we brought her, another bred older cow named Sara, two yearling heifers Betty and Bonnie, and a yearling bull named 2B Big Ben to our property. Within a few weeks she calved a heifer we named Charlie Alice.

But yesterday Alice made her final trip in the trailer to the abattoir early morning but not because she was an old cow. She was 12 years old and still capable of popping out a healthy calf like it was a greased piglet. She never skipped a beat. We have been considering letting her go and felt that this year would possibly be her last year here. She was our largest cow and the biggest consumer of feed. We would like a smaller line and her calves were being bred to a smaller size. But she started to act ‘off’ and then suddenly went off feed which was unlike her. She loved food and she was the ‘garden cow’ when anyone weeded the garden. If the cows were in the paddock next to the garden and someone would go out to weed or water it, she’d sneak up to the fenceline and quietly let a ‘moo’ out to get your attention in case you had some unwanted ol’ weed or tasty plant you wanted to dispose of. She would oblige in assisting you with that task.

But it all began a few weeks ago when she suddenly showed up at feeding time one morning with what appeared to be an eye injury. Weepy, puffy eye and then it went away for a while. It happens. Then the condition reappeared and then the other day while inspecting her it seemed like she had suffered a stroke since she could not move her head smoothly to look at you. A quick vet visit was set up and at the vet it was determined she had cancer and it was spreading very quickly. So the decision was made to send her off to the abattoir to be processed. A hard decision because she most likely was bred by Big Ben, our late herd sire, who also was sent to the abattoir (not due to cancer) late July about 2 weeks into breeding season. And who knows how far along the cancer was inside her body.

Big Ben gets a few last cubes, and a long goodbye, before the last ride in the stocktrailer

2020 was a challenging year in many ways. I’ll reflect on that later in another post … maybe…. not really sure I want to reflect on it…. I’m grateful to move away from it and get onto a fresh new year.

So let’s look at what today was. It was ‘move the bulls’ day. They were quite pleased about it, too. Silly bulls. Skipping about, sniffing and snorting, and acting undignified. Not all of them, but the usual characters were involved.

Enjoy the unedited footage (don’t listen to my croaky voice…. nag, nag, nag…. lol!)

Happy New Year and until next time
~Karen

ps… if you like our youtube channel click on the bell to stay up to date on the videos! Thanks! We’re (meaning ‘me’) will work on being more proactive on videos! (I just have to get over the hurdle of the way my voice sounds…. yeah, I know…. just get over it! lol!)

4 thoughts on “happy new year, a farewell and the bulls get moved

  1. Dear Karen , So sorry you lost Alice. I enjoy your blog as I have no experience like a ranch or farm. Your life is so interesting and busy I’m sure. And the weather is unlike CA for sure! Happy new year to you and your family.

    Cristal is staying with me a lot helping shop and cooks and cleans for me . I have been using a walker since June due to arthritis and getting a little better with P.T.
    Love and hugs, Bev Wilson

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. Well, hello! I’m a little slow and it took me a bit to figure out who you were – I’m so sorry!!! 🙂

      Yes, the weather is very different but every now & then reminds me of Mammoth, especially when we had 87-inches of snow one year! lol! I’m glad to hear you are doing well with PT and that Cristal is helping you out. And a Happy New Year to you both!

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  2. It has been, overall, not a great year. Thanks for the video – I always love it when cattle suddenly realize they are supposed to moving!

    Lack of knowledge question: for a cow like Alice given her condition, is the meat usable?

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    1. Sometimes cattle know what’s going on and one smarty pants will inchworm their way past you… in slow motion. The calves are all sure you’re going to do something evil to them and get skippy.

      As in the case of Alice she most likely was rendered per the abattoir personnel… meaning salvaged. We told them that she had some form of cancer whether malignant or benign, either of which we did not know. She was starting to suffer at that point and it was only humane to let her go. If her cancer has progressed into lymph nodes or tissues then she would not have been used for human consumption. But there is the hide, hooves, bones, etc… the whole animal will end up somewhere in the process. Just not for human meals.

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