Tuesday, September 6, 2016


One of our cows died the other day. Guv'nor was out checking on them in the morning and saw one of the younger ones lying on the ground in the sun. The cows often lie on the ground, but rarely in the full sun in the hot summer. So he knew something was wrong. She didn't have any obvious injuries or signs of distress and it didn't look like she had been dead very long.

So what do you do with a 700 lb. dead cow? First off, it's not safe to eat a dead animal that you don't know when or why it died. So we lost the possible meat from it ($$). After that, there are probably three options: bury it, burn it, leave it.

Since it hasn't rained for several weeks, the ground is too hard to dig a hole to bury it. Even with a tractor front loader.

And also, since it hasn't rained for several weeks, our county is under a burn ban. So no cow bonfire.

So that left us, sadly, with the last option. Just leave it to be eaten by the buzzards and coyotes. Guv'nor dragged the carcass away from the main herd and as far as he could to the edge of the woods and just left it.

It began to smell pretty bad by the second day. And by the third day the buzzards and coyotes had found it. They told all their friends in the area and they had a big party. At one point I counted at least 50 buzzards circling overhead, with another 20-30 perched in trees watching. I've also seen coyotes on several occasions.

So, why did she die? We asked our Veterinarian friend, and he offered his opinion, without having seen the carcass. 

He said, there were three reasons a cow dies suddenly:

1. Gun shot
2. Lightning
3. Blackleg

Up until now, we had only heard about blackleg because there is a 7-way vaccine for it which we have not done. We may rethink our no vaccine approach to livestock after this.

Here is more information about blackleg if you're interested. Read it here.

After another week or so, the carcass had been picked completely clean with only bones left. We wondered about the cow hide but it was no where to seen so guessed it got eaten too.


  1. There's an old saying from the movie "The Outlaw Josie Wales" and it goes, "birds gotta eat, same as worms"!

    1. Yes! I'm so glad we could provide so much food for the local bird population. I'm sure even ants got their share.