Tricia Was Right!

Only a week ago, the udder of my cow Katika was slack and wrinkled. I was mystified and alarmed; Katika is supposed to calve in early July — was she not pregnant after all? My unmet internet friend Tricia, a farmer in Western New York, reassured me that old cows might not bag up until very shortly before their due date.

Obviously Tricia was reading Katika’s tea leaves. Over the past week Katika’s udder has suddenly swollen to gigantic, almost pneumatic, proportions.

The udder is so wide that it pushes her hocks out. Her hind legs have developed a swaying side-to-side swing to lift them around the unwieldy bag as she walks. I have taped her rear fetlocks with Vetwrap to keep her dew claws from tearing it as she grunts to her feet after lying down.

The enormous, bulgy udder puts me in mind of Mary Poppins’s carpet bag. At any moment, I might pull a hat rack out of it.

The udder is stiff with edema, teats jutting. The teat that was almost severed in an accident a month ago has almost healed, but clearly the pressure is not helping.

I am going to call my vet today to see if I can pick up some Lasix, a diuretic, to reduce the swelling. I will also gather raspberry leaves, a natural remedy. Katika’s due date is July 3. Last year she calved ten days late. I can’t imagine the state of her udder or healing teat if this swelling increases for two more weeks.

Meanwhile my pastures are green but a close inspection shows they are mostly weeds and wildflowers — very pretty but of little nutritive value. Katika had been looking positively sleek for a dairy cow, but in the past week she has dropped weight and her ribs have reappeared. The other stock are looking a little ribby, too. I have put out hay but to my frustration they will not touch it.

I have more grazing but it is not fenced. Both my children head off to summer programs in the next week. Then comes the holiday and house guests. My hope is that by July 8 I will be able to spend some long days pounding fence posts.

And maybe I’ll have a calf by then!

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8 Responses to Tricia Was Right!

  1. Missy says:

    Wow, her udder really is huge (and low)! I sure hope the calf comes quickly so the pressure can be relieved so she doesn’t damage it again. How much milk do you usually milk from her (once the routine gets going)?
    Do you think it would be worth miking that one quarter that had the teat injury to reduce the risk of the wound rupturing or would that cause further issues with potential mastitis in the other 3 quarters?
    Hope it’s a really uneventful calving for you both!
    Missy

  2. tricia says:

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Katika and Molly are related!!!!! Wowza that is an udder on the poor girl. Yeah Molly’s was close to that.
    SO HAPPY SHE IS PREGNANT!!!! Crossing fingers delivery goes well. Are you stocked up for MF and ketosis treatments?????

    Is the torn teat healing okay?

  3. Kristin says:

    Gee, Seldon, you & Tricia are in the same state and have never met in person? Even I’ve met Tricia & I live in Tennessee!

  4. Claire says:

    Selden, I would really, really strongly consider pre-milking her starting now to head off any more serious udder issues, especially with that teat injury still healing and the amount of edema she already has. Do you have a supply of frozen colostrum or a source you could get a few gallons from?

  5. Kirby says:

    Poor girl looks like she could use an udder bra. Since she is so close to her due date maybe you could feed her some foods that may induce labor. I found this on google http://www.home-birth-guide.com/foods-to-induce-labor.html. Raspberry leaves could have a dual purpose with the edema. I think I read somewhere that beets work well. Another good thing in her favor is that the full moon is on the 3rd so hopefully you will have a calf tomorrow night .

  6. Sally McDonnel says:

    I love you Katika! -Sally McD

  7. Missy says:

    How’s she going? Any signs of imminent labour yet?

  8. Missy says:

    Hi Selden, hope you’re going ok and Katika too. If your early July dates weren’t correct she must be very close now. Thinking of you. Missy.

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