Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reposting From 2010...Please, Find a Trash Can...

I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately.

For some reason I can't get myself motivated to find something new.  Maybe that's because things are pretty routine and I feel like I've posted about all of it before?  Maybe it's because there's been a lot on my mind...thinking about potential college visits...kids schedules...still dealing with chronic back pain and wondering what direction that's going to go?

So...here's a re-post from 2010, soon after I started blogging.  I was reminded of it when I saw several groups of people walking the roads with trash bags the other week.  I don't think people realize the damage that it can do.  It's not just an eyesore...

Please...find a trash can!   

(from October 27, 2010)
I guess finding a trash can is just too much work for some people!
Yesterday as I was planting rye in the soybean field along the road, I noticed a lot of trash lying among the stubble.  This morning, I went back to pick it up.  This is what I found…

Trash like this will very easily be either chopped up with the corn silage or baled up with the hay, finding its’ way in small, sharp pieces, into the cows feed. 
One our best milking cows recently “went off feed”, began running a high fever, and dropped in milk production to almost nothing.  She hunched her back as if she was in pain.  After Jim and the vet checked her out, they determined that she is most likely suffering from “hardware”. 
When a cow ingests a foreign object, it can pierce her stomach and cause pain and infection.  In some cases, she recovers.  In some cases, however, the object can go through the wall of her stomach and pierce her heart, causing irreparable damage. That’s what they think happened to this cow; the object most likely pierced the sack around her heart and may have damaged a valve.
We do what we can to prevent hardware.  Each of our animals swallows a magnet like the one below... 
The magnet remains in her stomach in hopes that it will draw pieces of metal to it, preventing them from going through the cow’s digestive system.  But…in that small pile of trash that I found, there are glass bottles and pieces of hard plastic as well.  And…the magnet is not foolproof.
#264 is slowly beginning to make more milk again.  Her fever is down and her appetite is back, but she will not likely recover fully.  She could have a relapse at any time and will probably have to be slaughtered. 
All that said, throwing trash out the car window is not just ugly…it’s causing real problems for someone, somewhere!  But I know none of you would ever consider it… right?!  

**A note on #264.  Thankfully she made a full recovery and lived for several more years before we had to sell her because of breeding issues. Sometimes the story does have a happy ending.


  1. I used to find amazing things in the hay I fed my horses. This makes me wonder what things I didn't find! We live on a fairly major commuter route and picking up trash in the pasture is maddening.
    I'm glad #264 recovered. How long are cows productive, generally?

    1. Cows can be productive for quite a long time, if they can stay healthy! The oldest cow that we are milking right now, is almost 11 years old, but that's pretty unusual. Eight years is not uncommon...if they can avoid mastitis problems and continue to breed back on a regular basis.

  2. Careless and lazy people cause so many problems for others. Glad your cow survived.

  3. i remember those magnets from when i lived on a small dairy farm in wisconsin.

    our property here has a street turn-off right across from the front field. the 'kids' in the area like to throw their empty beer cans and bottles and empty their cigarette butts out as they make the turn towards 'home'. i pick up a ton of trash from our front ditch.

  4. It may be an old post Alica but it's a good post and it's so true what you said.
    The cows will swallow anything from loose nuts and bolts that falls off equipments and other sharp objects as they eat hay. They don't know any better.

    I'll never understand why people throw garbage around instead of putting them in garbage cans.


  5. Alica, you are not alone. I'm in the same slump, and feel like I can only show just so many pictures of the dogs in the pasture. Not sure where that's going, either. I know about hardware disease... and I spent part of Monday picking up the trash on the road in front of the old place. One thing I will say about this new "neighborhood" (and I use that word lightly, because no one here is really neighbors)... no one speeds through it, and no one litters. Hope you aren't buried in snow this morning!

  6. I like the repost with more added to the story. Sorry for the slump. It happens.

  7. Litter is a huge pet peeve of mine. It disgusts me and I get into a real fit of anger over it sometimes. We live off a major highway and people love to turn off that highway on to ours and do their dumps- beer bottles, fast food remains and packaging, cigarettes, you name it, I have found it. People don't think that it is all that much of a problem anymore, but travel any highway and you will see it is. I've never heard of hardware disease- wow..

  8. Isn't it amazing---people driving through beautiful country, look and say how pretty it is and then they clean out their car(who wants trash in the car) and throw it out, drive on by and never think about what they have done to the landscape or animals. How hard is it to throw trash where it should be? Apparently it takes to much effort.

  9. We had a calf suck up a baling twine...it was a huge mess, but she lived and was a great Mother.

    By the way I agree with Nell and everyone else!



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