Kalindi’s Dairy Diary
Kalindi’s Diary of a Dairy Cow
September 14, 2014
I remember feeling squeezed and then my nose felt a new sensation, something that I soon learned was cold. My tongue was hanging out of my mouth and took the brunt of the cold breeze. More squeezing, and suddenly I was in a new environment and it was so cold. I was shivering, but I felt a raspy tongue and when I figured out how to lift my head, there was Mom. She was licking me and making quiet loving noises as she worked at drying me and warming me up. Somehow I knew that I had to figure out how to work my legs to stand and find food. Mom kept working on cleaning me as I struggled to find my balance, but after several attempts, I was up and began nudging all around her to find the food. The food was lower than I initially thought, but once I latched on, I had a desire to suck and suck until my belly was full. By that time, I had dried off and it wasn’t so cold any more, so I crumbled down to the ground and the last thing I remember was the song of the frogs and crickets as I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I could feel the warmth of the sun on my fur and looked around for Mom. There she was, grazing on the lush grass. Other cows were nearby, too, grazing, but all of them were facing my direction and I felt curiosity coming from them about my sudden appearance. I stood up, much more easily, this time and went right for the food. Mom groaned and strained as I sucked, as if she were in pain, but she licked me as I stood against her body. I filled my belly and then tried out my legs to see if I could run. I could! I could even buck! The other cows crowded around me and some of them even touched me with their noses. Then I was tired again and crumbled down to the soft ground.
The next thing I remember is hearing a creaking sound and as I raised my head all of the cows, including Mom turned in the direction of the sound. A strange creature was coming through a gate. It walked on it’s hind legs, it only had fur on the top of its head and had really strange hide—almost like the hide wasn’t attached to its torso and legs. It came towards me and Mom. Mom and the other cows were not exactly afraid of this strange creature, but they all faced it warily as it approached me. I didn’t even have time to think to get up, when this strange creature grabbed a hind leg and rolled me on my back. Then it walked away, all the while on its hind legs.
After the strange creature went away, I sensed an alarming nervousness from Mom as she urged me to stand. I got up and she let me nurse a little then she moved towards a corner of the pasture—as far away from the gate as possible. Very soon I heard a low pitched sound coming from the direction of the gate. Again, the cows all faced the tractor coming into the pasture. Mom put her body between me and the tractor, so I couldn’t see what happened next. There was a lot of confusion, but the end result was that I was thrown into a pile of straw in a trailer behind the tractor. Mom was screaming for me as I was jolted around on the straw. I couldn’t get up because of the bumpy motion, but I cried for Mom to come and rescue me.
I was still crying when the creature picked me up and put me in a small enclosure filled with other babies. I didn’t care about these other babies—all I could think about was how get back to Mom. I could hear her crying and sensed her despair in the distance. I ran to the fence that was closest to where I could hear her and I cried back to let her know where I was. I cried and cried and cried. Mom kept calling for me, but I couldn’t go to her because the fence was in the way.
After a long time of crying for Mom, I began to notice my surroundings. There were about ten calves in the pen with me. They all looked funny because they all had large yellow tags hanging from their ears, just like Mom, but the tags looked too big on them. All the calves were bigger than me, but seemed friendly enough, except for one large mostly white one who butted me with her head. I cried for Mom to come and rescue me.
After a really long time, the tractor returned, this time with Mom inside a trailer. Mom was here! She came out of the trailer and came running towards me crying frantically. She almost reached me when she discovered that there was a fence keeping her about a cow’s body length away from the pen where I was. I stuck my head through the rails of the fence to try to reach her, but I was just too far away to be able to touch her. By that time I was beginning to really want to nurse, not just because I was hungry, but also because I needed to feel Mom protecting me. I cried and struggled to reach Mom. Then I was so tired that I crumbled down into the straw and slept.
I was startled awake by some alarming sounds—creaky sounds of gates opening, hissy sounds of hoses spraying water and low peculiar sounds coming from those hind-leg creatures. Pretty soon Mom’s pen started filling up with many bossy cows. A very bossy, white cow pushed Mom away from the fence where she was standing close to me and that bossy cow called to the other calves in the pen. The big white calf that had butted me reached for the bossy cow and I figured that Bossy was her mom. My Mom kept crying for me and I cried for her, but we couldn’t get so close because of all of the cows in the way.
Then one of those hind-legs got behind Mom and tapped her butt with a stick. Mom moved away from it and then I couldn’t see her for a long time. Once in a while I could hear her calling for me, but it seemed like she was far away. I sensed that she was in a routine that was familiar to her. Then she was back and able to stand near me because most of the other cows went away with just a few remaining who were laying on sawdust, methodically chewing and relaxing. I started to feel very hungry and really, really wanted to be able to get to Mom to nurse.
Suddenly the other calves in the pen with me got excited and crowded around the gate. There was a hind-leg approaching carrying two buckets. It came in the gate and emptied the buckets into a contraption in the middle of the pen. The contraption had nipples coming out from all sides and each of the calves latched onto a nipple and began sucking while their tails wagged contentedly. I wanted Mom. I was hungry. The hind-leg came back with a bottle, pushed me in a corner and straddled me with it’s legs. Then it pushed the nipple on the end of the bottle in my mouth. I struggled to get away: this thing took me from Mom! I’d fight him with everything I had! I twisted my head to get that thing out of my mouth, but wherever I moved it was still in my mouth. I started to feel milk in my mouth and involuntarily swallowed. Then I just started sucking because I was so hungry. Pretty soon the bottle I was sucking from started to make airy sounds and even though I was sucking, there was no more milk. The hind-leg let me go and walked away, out the gate. I was tired and my tummy was full. I crumbled into the straw to sleep.
It was still dark outside, but there were dim lights above me when it started to be noisy in the barn. Cows started coming in with Mom leading the way. She stood near me, mooing until Bossy pushed her away. Clanging, hissing and hind-leg sounds were coming from all sides. One of the hind-legs walked near me and I ran as far from it as I could. It got behind Mom, tapping her as she moved out of sight. After some time she was back, and the cows gradually filed past our pen and then were gone. Again a hind-leg approached our pen carrying buckets. After it emptied them in the contraption with nipples it came towards me and forced me to put my mouth on one of the nipples. I was really hungry so I started sucking right away and the hind-leg left me alone.
I must have been sleeping and when I woke up, it was light and bright. Mom was gone, but two hind-legs came in the pen with a bucket. One of them grabbed me and the other grabbed my ear and OUCH! Then the other ear and OUCH! And again OUCHHHHH! I cried for Mom and felt a pinch on my neck. The hind-legs let me go and walked away. I shook my head and could see yellow tags hanging from my beautiful black ears. I tried and tried to shake the tags off, but they just stayed there. My ears ached, I cried. Then I went back to sleep.
Every day is pretty much the same: the hind-legs come in before it is light out and make a lot of noise. The cows file past our pen and I see Mom, but can’t get to her. I get to suck milk from the contraption and there are other things to eat that I’m starting to enjoy. There is dry grassy stuff and there are chewy grains. The other calves like to play. They buck and butt heads, but usually in a friendly way. The big white I call Minibossy is actually OK. Sometimes she comes over to me and licks me. I lick her, too. There isn’t very much space in our pen, but it is soft, dry and I have friends.
Later in the day when it is still light out, the hind-legs fill the contraption and I get more milk.
Today after early milk, the hind-legs came and took Minibossy and two other of my friends away! They just opened the pen and then scared the three calves into a small trailer. My three friends looked scared and called to us, but they were taken away and we couldn’t see them. But we heard them crying for us for a while and then they stopped calling. Some of the other calves with me in the pen also called out, but after a while, we weren’t answered.
From one end of our pen, way at a distance, I thought I could see Minibossy in a big green area with some other big calves. I think it was her because she is so white, but I couldn’t be sure.
Sometime after early milk, the hind-legs came to our pen and shoved a very reluctant new calf into our pen. This new calf, who was black and white with a big black splotch on her side, was not very friendly and just kept crying and crying and crying. It was kind of annoying and I may have butted her a little bit. Politely. She was making a lot of noise. She didn’t want to play, she just wanted to cry.
A little later a tractor drove up with a big black and white cow in a trailer. Hind-legs unloaded the cow and she came right up to where Mom used to stand with me. She tried to get to the new calf and the new calf was frantic to get to the big black and white, but like me and Mom, they couldn’t reach each other.
The crybaby has become my best friend. When she finally went to sleep the other day I came over and lay next to her and licked her a little. Then we both slept until the afternoon noisiness and feeding. The hind-leg forced her to drink the bottle like me and afterwards I stood next to her to comfort her. I call her Splotch because she has a big black Splotch on her side. I like being with her. She got ear tags today and is really annoyed but she finally settled down. I see Mom going by, but she hardly notices me any more.
After the morning noisiness, one of the cows didn’t go out with the others. She was walking very slow with her head down. The hind-legs put her in a fenced area across from us and left her with food and water. She just laid down and wrapped her head against her side. She looked sick. Splotch stayed as close as the fence would allow her to be near this sick cow and I realized it was Splotch’s Mom. Towards the end of the noisiness, the hind-legs tried to get Splotch’s Mom to stand up. She just stayed almost curled in a ball and tried to ignore them. They got a dog to become aggressive to Splotch’s Mom and she finally stood up, shaking with weakness. Then the hind-legs did something stranger than ever: they forced a really, really long metal tube down Splotch’s Mom’s throat and it seemed like they were pumping something down into her belly. When they left, Splotch’s Mom started eating a little.
When the evening noisiness was winding down, they came and made Splotch’s Mom move to an area that I couldn’t see. When she came back, they put her in the same place, but she was shaking and fell down before she was fully in the pen. The hind-legs came back with some things like hoses and bottles and seemed to be jabbing in the vein that is in front of her udder. Splotch’s Mom was laying on her side and started shuddering and convulsing. Then after several minutes of this, she was still. The hind-legs were making a lot of their hind-leg sounds and one of them came up to Splotch’s Mom’s body and started jerking a machine that suddenly roared to life. Then, to my horror, he used that loud machine to cut Splotch’s Mom into pieces that he threw into a wheelbarrow. The smell was horrific. I’d never smelled anything like it but knew it was the smell of death.
Another hind-leg went away with the wheelbarrow and came back with it empty, only to be filled with more pieces of Splotch’s Mom. It threw a small piece to the dog, wiped it’s front leg ends against it’s body, walked away and turned off the lights. I went over to Splotch and laid down next to her. She was curled in a ball, but I knew she wasn’t sleeping.
Something different happened today. When the cows came in, they didn’t go back out like they usually do. They just stayed in the barn together and it looked like they were crowded. There were even some minor altercations with some of the bigger cows really going at each other with head butting. The hind-legs put something interesting into the long feeder where the cows eat. It had a very pleasant smell, but looked a little soggy. Then they gave us some of it and it did taste quite nice. I prefer the crispy hay, but this silage is tasty! Splotch likes it, too.
The outside is darker than usual and there is a lot of wind. Sometimes when the wind is blowing hard, rain comes into our pen, but we’re mostly dry. The nights are getting really long.
What a scary day! The hind-legs came in the pen and pushed me and Splotch into a little trailer and then took us to a different barn. Then they pushed us into a pen with huge calves in it. Those big calves didn’t look too friendly, so me and Splotch stayed together and tried to get out of their way. The biggest one (I call her Witch) kept following us around and wouldn’t let us just relax. She wanted us to know that she was in charge. All the other calves kept away from her.
This pen was different from the last one. It didn’t have straw on the floor, but just hardness with a lot of poop and pee on it. There was a raised area with softness, but to get on the raised area, you had to go between some metal rails and I didn’t want to get trapped in that area so Splotch and I just kept moving and trying to occasionally get a bite of the silage that was in a feeder along one side of the pen. Finally Witch left us alone and we found a soft place to lay down and chew. Splotch licked me a lot because she knew I was afraid.
When the afternoon noisiness happened, it wasn’t as busy as it was in the other barn. In fact we could hear the cows mooing, but we hardly saw the hind-legs. I was waiting for the milk to come, but when the hind-legs (or in this case one hind-leg) came into our barn, it just loaded up our feeder with silage and a little grain, and then went away. Where’s my milk?!!
The morning noisiness came and went, but no milk? The big calves here didn’t seem to expect it, so I guess that is just how it is.
At one point, a hind leg herded us to one side of our pen and drove a tractor through, then sprayed with a hose. Then he herded us to the other side and did the same thing. It was wet when he left, but not as sludgy.
My feet hurt from walking on the hardness all day. I’m going to lay down as much as I can and try to be next to Splotch. Some of the other big calves seem friendly and Witch is mostly leaving us alone.
Witch is acting abnormally obnoxious. She is friendlier than usual, however. It is just that she is constantly trying to jump up on the back of anyone she encounters. Splotch and I are trying to avoid her, which is no easy thing.
One odd thing happened. When the hind-leg came into our barn to feed us, it watched Witch’s annoying behavior and then came back after evening noisiness and chased Witch into a very tight enclosure that I hadn’t noticed. She couldn’t hardly move once they had her in there with the gate closed. Then it did some odd things to her backside involving a long tube and let her back in with us. She was a little disoriented when she came back in, but soon enough she was jumping on us again. Her attempts were half-hearted, though, compared to what she’d been like in the morning.
It seems like it is dark all of the time and cold. Not cold enough to shiver, but I do enjoy laying as close to Splotch as I can so that we can share each others heat.
I just wanted to mention something that happened today. There are several pens with cows that I can see from the pen we’re in. One of them, which is quite far away so I can barely see it, seems to have little baby calves in it. Occasionally the hind-legs drive up with the trailer that I rode in when I first arrived and deposit a newborn calf in this pen. I can see the hind-legs bring them milk in the morning and the evening. Today there were about six of these calves in that pen and the hind-legs loaded them all in a trailer and then drove away. That was in the morning and it is almost dark and they haven’t come back. I wonder where they went? I tried to sense what happened to them but I didn’t ever have a connection with any of them so I am at a loss about what happened. I kept wondering about them and one of the older calves in our pen indicated that they were physically different, bulls, but I thought they were mostly the same. I wonder where they went?
It really stays dark a long time. It is cold and it keeps raining outside.
There is a pen quite close to ours that has been empty since I’ve been in with these big calves. But this morning the hind-legs moved a big cow into the pen and put down lots of straw. She was restless and looked as big as a hay wagon. Her udder looked like it was about to explode. Every once in a while she’d groan and she kept getting up and then going down again. I sensed that while she was in pain, it was a natural pain. The hind-legs came by occasionally and seemed to have come to look at her.
After it got dark she laid down and seemed to strain. That was about the time of the evening noisiness. As the noisiness was winding down, hind leg came by and went in with the straining cow. She didn’t even try to get away from it, but allowed it to mess around with her hind end. The hind-leg went away and came back with another hind-leg and some other things. I could see a pink bubble protruding from her butt and the hind-leg tore at the bubble using the flexible things at the end of its front legs. Under the bubble there were two small hooves. There was a calf coming out of that cow! Then one the hind-legs put a cord around each hoof and sat down with its legs against the cow and strained at pulling the cords just as the cow was straining. We could see a head coming out, but it didn’t seem to be alive. The tongue was just hanging there and the new calf seemed limp. Another strain and pull and the whole calf came plopping out. The hind-leg stood up and removed the cord. The other hind-leg pulled the calf around to the cow’s head and poured something dark on the new calf’s navel. The hind-legs made some of their hind-leg noises and then left the barn turning out the lights as they left.
Even though it was dark, we could see and smell what was happening. The mom cow started licking her new baby, who had started moving, and we watched as it clumsily tried to stand. Pretty soon he was up and soon after that he had latched on to a teat and was sucking. Then there was a very strong smell and something came plopping out. The mom cow started eating the plop as the new baby crumbled down beside her and went to sleep. I probably went to sleep soon after that.
The hind-legs came in after morning noisiness and put the new calf in a wheelbarrow that was lined with straw. They wheeled him out and his mom followed, crying as she ran after him. Then at a distance I could see them coming to the empty pen were the bulls had been and they lifted him out and left him alone in that pen. Of course he started crying for his mama and in the distance we could hear her calling back to him.
I woke up feeling very restless today. I don’t know why, but I just wanted to be everyone’s friend. After the morning noisiness I started feeling just like I wanted to jump on top of everyone I knew. My friends thought it was good fun and started jumping on me, too. It feels great to be alive, but I really want something. I just don’t know what it is that I want. But I really want it.
What an amazing day! A hind-leg came in after morning noisiness and opened a part of our pen that I hadn’t realized was a gate. Then he went away, leaving it open. One of us, I think it was Licky, stepped through the gate and cautiously took some steps. She was outside! A few more steps and she was standing in grass, like the grass I was born in. Then Witch stepped out and then Miniboss. When they reached the grass they just started leaping and bucking and leaping and bucking. They were outside!
Splotch and I were some of the last ones out because we were smaller and we had to wait. But then we were bucking and leaping, too. But best of all, grass isn’t just for playing and sleeping, it is delicious and fun to eat.
Sadly after a little bit of time enjoying the grass, the hind-leg chased us back in the barn. I did have a touchy tummy that night and by the next morning everyone had the squirts.
Life is wonderful. During the day we eat grass, then go to lay under the trees to chew our cuds. If we’re thirsty there is always a tub of cool water in the barn and if we want we can lounge in one of the soft places of our pen.
During the day I’m annoyed by the flies that seem to always want to get into my eyes. Then there are the bugs that bite my tummy and back. I thawk any bug that lands on my haunches, however. My tail has grown so long that the hairs almost touch the ground.
I still get periodic episodes of wanting to play/jump on my friends. And I do have an insatiable yearning, again, periodically. Some of my friends have had similar experiences and I’ve noticed that my friends who are older than me don’t seem to be jumpy any more.
I while ago they moved Witch and Miniboss into a pasture next to ours with some other cows. They are both really big and don’t look like a calves anymore. I’m sorry that they left because even though they were bossy, they were also my friends. Yes, they were hard on newcomers, but then they could be friendly.
They both have udders like a grown cows.
Witch had a calf last night—she was in the pasture next to ours and had it quite close to the fence.. It was a large, mostly black bull and it seemed like she licked it all night. In the morning we saw her running from the hind-legs and then it almost looked like she attacked the one that tried to take her baby. The hind-leg came back with a stick and boy did she jump when it touched her with the stick. Then she let them take the baby.
They moved her up to the big barn and I could hear her crying all day. I think she has a lot of love for her little baby.
Bummer. We’re locked in the barn again. All they have to do is to open the gate and we could be out on the pasture. But no they just leave the gate shut and we’re locked in.
One good thing is that I’m big now and no one bosses me around. When bossing needs to be done, sometimes I’m the one doing it. We had two little ones come in today and they were so frightened and nervous that we dubbed them “Flinch” and “Flee”. Once they settled a little I did go over and lick them to let them know it was OK. They were so nervous when they saw me coming but they couldn’t run away because they both had crowded into a cubicle. When I licked them it was almost comical to see their reaction. But they did go to sleep soon after I walked away.
There was a lot of extra noise after morning noisiness. I could see a big trailer backing up into the pens with the cows that go through the rotation twice a day. The hind-legs were cutting out cows from the herd and making them go through a chute into the big trailer. I saw them using a stick that looked like it jolted them, when they tried to get back to their friends. Quite a few cows left on that trailer and the other cows are calling for them. Bossy was one of the cows that left.
Throughout the whole pasture season I suffered from periodic “jumpiness” where I felt compelled, for a day, to jump on my friends. Last night it came on me strong and all day long I was jumping and being extra friendly with the other calves. Flinch and Flee sure ran when they saw me coming! Splotch usually jumps on me when I jump on her, but she wasn’t into social interaction this time. It might have something to do with the fact that the hind-legs locked her into the squeeze place and did something to her. She was moody after that.
This evening the hind-leg chased me into the squeeze place and locked me in. Then it messed with my butt for a little bit and let me go. The indignity! As soon as I was out of the squeeze place I kicked a hind foot in its direction to let it know how I felt. I think it put its whole front leg inside my butt! Yuck! I want to kick!
I’ve been feeling melancholy of late. Maybe it is the gloomy, cold weather and being cramped in with a bunch of jumpy, butty calves. I just want to be left alone. If someone comes over and wants to play, I’ll just butt them. I’m big now and I just want to be left alone.
The hind-legs moved me and Splotch into another pen today. It is a little overwhelming, I think we were put in with cows. Maybe we’re not calves any more, either. Some of these cows are huge. They lumber around when they walk and their swollen udders swing back and forth with every step. Some of the cows are almost like me and Splotch. Minibossy is here and she is big, too. I think she’s going to have a baby.
It seems like every eight days or so one of the cows in our pen is put into the large pen that has lots of straw. That is where they have their babies. The babies are so cute and innocent. I want to have one, too.
Unfortunately, each time a cow has a baby, a hind-leg takes it away. The bulls go in one pen and every so often they get loaded into a trailer and go away. None has ever come back. The girls go to the pen where I was first taken. At least they can see their moms. The moms then get cycled through the barn and I’m not sure what happens when they get lined up twice every day and do the cycle. They do seem relaxed when they come back to the rest and eating area, though.
Last night a cow that I don’t know too well dropped her calf in the alley between the cubicles. The mom was in a cubicle, but her butt was sticking out and out came the calf. We all came around to encourage the new mom and to see the calf. Unfortunately the floor where it came out was really mucky and slippery, so the little guy had a very hard time getting up. When he was finally up, he was filthy, but he did manage to nurse a little before the morning noisiness.
The hind-leg that found the new calf came in and made some hind-leg sounds that I recognize as sounds of disappointment. It grabbed the little guy and laid him on some straw outside the pen. Then it hosed him down (I imagine the water was really cold!) and dried him off with a towel. Then it carried him over to the bull calf pen and I don’t know what happened to the little guy after that. When the hind-leg walked by our pen after hosing the new calf, it smelled quite strong of cow pee and poop. It didn’t seem too happy, although I’m not sure if hind-legs have moods. It hazed the new mom into the pen with the cows that do the cycle. She was crying.
We’re out in the pasture again! It is sunny and there is delicious grass. Splotch and I were bouncing with joy! It rained a little later and they made us go in again, but I think we’re going to go outside again tomorrow!
I think I’m going to have a baby. I can feel something kicking and moving around in my tummy and I’ve got an udder. Babies are so cute and I can hardly wait to have one of my own. I think Splotch is going to have one, too. She waddles when she walks and hardly ever bounces any more.
Splotch had a super cute baby girl yesterday evening. Splotch had been restless all day and during the afternoon she kept lying down and then getting up and lying down again. She’d hold her tail out straight behind her like she had to pee. I was there encouraging her and when the little sweetheart finally appeared, she let me help her lick it dry. A hind-leg came over right after the baby came—before she even stood up–and pulled her onto her back, perhaps to see if Sweetheart was a girl or a boy.
Sweetheart has a really cute nose and very expressive soft black ears. We both licked her even after she was mostly dry. The next thing we knew, she was on her feet and nosing around to find a nipple. She even went for my nipples, but it felt strange so I stepped away before she latched on. Amazingly the hind-leg didn’t come back to take Sweetheart away until after the next morning noisiness, so Splotch, Sweetheart and I enjoyed a nice summer night under the stars.
This morning they came with a small trailer and grabbed Sweetheart, throwing her down in the straw. Then they came back and shooed Splotch up through gates to where they cycle the big cows. Splotch wanted to go up to the big barn because she could hear Sweetheart crying for her up there. It broke my heart to see them go. We had been having such a nice time in the pasture.
Last night was the most intense experience of my life. I felt horrible all day. Waves of pain would come at me and then fade away, only to be replaced by another wave of pain a short time later. Gradually the pain reached a crescendo, one wave coming right on top of another. And then I had the urge to lay down and push. I knew I was having a baby, but I didn’t expect it to be so intense. I kept pushing and then resting and then pushing again. Finally a huge push and relief. I rested a few minutes and then stood up to see my baby. It was a slippery, wet little girl who looked surprised and overwhelmed. She had lifted her head and turned it towards me when I quietly called to her. Her eyes were so beautiful with long, black lashes. She was very spotty. I’m mostly black, but my baby was Spotty. I love her so much. I just want to make sure that no one hurts her and that she is warm and safe.
She seemed to have a hard time figuring out how to coordinate her legs to be able to stand, but eventually she was up, although wobbling. Then she took a few unbalanced steps, lost her balance and fell down. But she didn’t give up and soon she had accomplished walking and started to search for nipples. It was difficult for me to stand when she grabbed one of my nipples and it felt strange, but somehow right when she began sucking. I felt a tingling sensation followed by a wave of pain, but I stood there so that Spotty could fill her body. She sucked and sucked and then her legs buckled and she fell into the grass and went to sleep. I felt another wave of pain and then a gushing sensation and a big blob came out. I don’t know why, but I felt an urge to eat the blob. Then I laid down and slept, although at the back of my mind, I was uneasy.
As it began to get light in the pasture, I could see little Spotty curled up in sleep. There was dew on the grass and a couple of birds that slink along the ground for a dozen steps or so and then stop to look around. Then they slink again and stop several times before making a racket and flying off. As the Sun slowly crested the hills, I started to worry that the hind-legs might come to get Spotty. I licked her and she opened her eyes to her first sunrise. She was up and hungry and wasted no time filling her tummy. Some of the other cows, including came over meet the new baby. Spotty put on a show, bucking and running and then coming tumbling into me. I was so proud of her.
As the day began to warm, I started to worry. It was about the time that a hind-leg would show up. I urged Spotty towards some trees at the far end of our pasture. She came along playfully, not understanding my worry. Soon I heard the screech of the gate opening and saw the hind-leg looking at the cows. It spotted me, and I looked away and went further into the trees, Spotty following. I heard the gate screech again and breathed a sigh of relief. I was still getting waves of pain, so I laid down, just to take a quick nap. The screech woke me up and I could hear the sound of a machine coming into the pasture. There was the trailer they used to take babies. Before I knew it, the hind-legs had grabbed Spotty and put her into straw in the little trailer. I followed her, crying, but there was another hind-leg at the gate who amazingly allowed me to follow Spotty. It was a bit of a trip up the hill to the big barn and I was out of breath when they unloaded Spotty into the same pen that I was put in the day I was born. One hind-leg opened the gate to the cow pen and the other hind-leg tried to shoo me into it. I was not going to leave Spotty, hind-leg shooing, or not. Then suddenly the hind-leg touched me with a stick and I felt the most excruciating jolt of pain that I had ever felt. I jumped away and there was the other hind-leg shooing me into the pen. I didn’t have time to react and suddenly I was in the cow pen.
All that day I stood as close to Spotty as I could. The hind-leg put some hay close to me, so I ate occasionally and wished that I could be licking my baby.
As the Sun started to get lower, cows started coming into the barn. I realized that it was time for the afternoon noisiness. A hind-leg came into the pen and directed the cows around the corner where they would be gone for some time and then come back from around the corner and then go back out to the pasture to graze. All of the cows had cycled through when the hind-leg came at me with that horrible stick. I couldn’t leave Spotty, so I stood my ground. Then it touched me with the stick and the jolt made me jump involuntarily. I ran away and around the corner to get away from the hind-leg. I found myself in a corridor, with nowhere to run, except away from the horrible hind-leg. Then suddenly I was at the end and the hind-leg was still coming at me! I was shaking in fear, expecting a jolt when the hind-leg surprisingly noisily shut a gate behind me. I was stuck in a space too small to turn around in, but unhurt. I was shaking with fear. There were hind-legs all around me. There were a couple in a ditch on my right side, but the one behind me had gone. One of the hind-legs in the ditch was spraying water and they were both making their hind-leg sounds.
After a while I started to relax and notice my surroundings. One thing that I noticed was that there was a good smell coming from some grains in front of me. I was pretty hungry, so I reached for the grains and just then there was a clang and something closed around my neck. It was like the thing when they did that stuff to my butt. It didn’t hurt, so after a while I started eating the grain. That’s when things got very strange. A hind-leg came over to me and started washing my udder! It didn’t hurt, though, and reminded me of Spotty nursing. Then it attached some suction things and I actually felt some relief. The truth is that my udder was huge and tight. The suction things took the pressure off and it just felt better. After some time the hind-leg came back and took off the suction things. Then he did something horrible: he cut off my tail! He didn’t take the bone or anything like that, but he did take off the entire switch. I liked my tail. It brushes off bugs and I use it to let my friends know if I’m annoyed. Why would he take off my tail? Every time I move it, it feels funny and too light.
After that indignity a gate came open and I found my way back to where I could get close to Spotty. I’d almost forgotten about her, but she was there behind the fence, waiting for me. The hind-leg left me more hay and after a while I was so tired that I found a soft cubicle to lay down for a while. What a day!
This morning’s noisiness was a repeat of what happened last evening. The hind-leg shooed me down the corridor, locked me in and attached suctions. Again, it was a relief, but as I was going back to the rest area, I started to feel weak and wobbly. I could barely walk as far as where Spotty was. I just stood there with my head hanging and couldn’t even get to the soft place to lay down. I lay down on the hard, sloggy floor, just feeling awful.
When a hind-leg came to leave some hay it actually came up to me, but I didn’t have any energy to get away from it. It actually made some sympathetic-sounding noises, but came back with the same horrible contraption that I remember them using on Splotch’s Mom before she died. And just like with Splotch’s Mom, it forced the long metal tube down my throat, all the way to my stomach. I didn’t have the energy to fight. Then it took out the tube and went away. After some time I was actually feeling better and was able to stand up. But then the hind-leg came back and shooed me into a pen where I was by myself, the same pen where they had put Splotch’s Mom. I did feel better and started to eat some hay.
All the cows that do the udder cycle thing are in the barn for the winter. It is a routine of eating silage most of the time, but they do give us some hay twice a day just after the cycle. I spend my time in a soft cubicle next to Splotch where we rest and chew our cuds. I don’t mind the udder cycle time because they give us some delicious grain that seems to give me strength.
One amazing thing is that Mom is here, too. I hadn’t noticed her when I first became a cycle cow because I was so concerned about Spotty. One day, shortly after I became a cycle cow, Mom came over to where I was standing (close to Spotty) and started licking me. I remembered her smell right away and was so happy that we were finally together. She is a little bossy, like most of the older and bigger cows, so I have to let her get the hay first and then find a place once the super bossy cows have taken their slots.
Spotty is fine. She has friends in her pen and gets her milk twice a day. She wags her tail rhythmically while she is sucking the milk and I can tell that she is content.
I’m concerned about my health. I seem to have episodes where I loose all strength and have even fallen down a few times. The hind-legs always either put the tube in my throat, or do that thing with my udder vein and I feel better, but I seem to spend quite a bit of time in the sick cow stall. I’m getting the feeling that the hind-legs are getting impatient with me and I’m pretty sure that is a bad thing. When I loose strength it seems like there is no joy in life and I don’t even feel like eating. I don’t want anyone near me.
They came and took Mom today! Most of us were relaxing in the soft cubicles when there were beeping sounds as a trailer backed up close to our pen. Then two hind-legs came in with their jolt sticks and started picking out specific cows and herding them into the trailer. They took a big, white, old cow and two other cows. And then they made Mom stand up and tapped her towards the trailer. When she got to the ramp, she tried to turn back, but she suddenly leaped towards the ramp and I think that the hind-leg gave her a jolt with the jolt stick. I got as close as I dared to the trailer and called to Mom and Mom called back, but she couldn’t get to me. There were slamming noises, hind-leg sounds and then the trailer left.
All day I called to Mom, but got no answer. When I reached out to her, sensing her presence, I could sense that she was in an enormous amount of stress. It was as though she was in the midst of a huge herd of frightened cows and was being shooed through many ramps and corridors.
I think Mom is dead. This morning I sensed a level of stress coming from her that was almost unendurable. She was being forced through corridors and there was death at the end of the corridor.
After the evening noisiness, I felt ill. I must have fallen because when I woke up, my leg hurt so much. The hind-legs were there and they’d given me something in my milk vein. I didn’t want to move, but they brought in a dog and it nipped at me aggressively until I stood up and they shooed me into the area where the sick cows go.
You might think the the hind-legs are incapable of thoughts or feelings, but I really sensed malice coming from them
I was feeling a little better and the hind-legs put me through the udder cycle, but then I could hardly walk, so they shooed me into the sick area again. Life has no joy in it any more. We’re crowded together and Mom is gone. I can’t get to Spotty and I feel sick. I’m ready to give up.
November 29, later that evening
Some hind-legs that I’ve never seen came into my stall today. I had no energy to get away when they came up to me so I just curled my head against my side and tried to ignore them. They made sudden loud noises, I think trying to get me to stand up. I ignored that. Then they started tapping my butt with a stick and when I ignored that, they tapped harder. I didn’t feel like getting up, so I wrapped my head close to my sides and closed my eyes.
After a while, one of them just sat down against me and started making ridiculous hind-leg sounds. It sounded like it was poorly imitating a bird. Even though I was really trying to ignore it, I did notice it repeating a hind-leg sound that sounded like “Kalindi.” I don’t know what “Kalindi” means, but I sensed that the hind-leg might have given me a name.
The stranger hind-legs milled around for a while and then it was time for evening noisiness and the usual hind-legs turned up. One of the regular hind-legs came over to me and forced my eye open. I just pulled away and tried to ignore it. Then the hind-leg set the dog on me and I was so surprised that I stood up.
The stranger hind-legs made surprised-sounding noises and kept saying “Kalindi” this and “Kalindi” that as they tried to shoo me towards a trailer.
I didn’t want to go into the trailer, but they had a rope attached to a contraption on my face and kept forcing me to go up the trailer ramp. When I was part of the way in, I fell down with my head partly down a slope to the side of the trailer. I just laid there while the hind-legs kept making their hind-leg sounds.
After a while I was jolted to my feet by the feel of the jolt stick. Once I was up, I don’t know what happened, but I found myself alone in the trailer and next thing I knew I was being bumped around and there were very odd, hissing sounds and rumbling sounds.
Then the bumping stopped and there were more hind-leg sounds and the trailer door opened. I stepped out and found myself in a grassy area where I’d never been before. It was so different. There were dogs that could come right up to me, but they weren’t aggressive. There were noisy birds that weren’t afraid of the hind-legs. Behind a fence was a beautiful, proud large animal that wasn’t a cow. It was a horse, the first I’ve ever seen.
I still had the contraption on my head and the hind-legs tied me to a large post. Then they took the metal tube that I’d had forced down my throat so many times and, of course, forced it down my throat. But these hind-legs were very incompetent and kept putting it in and out so many times that I was beginning to think that they just wanted to torment me. Finally they pumped liquid into my stomach and let me go.
I went as far as I could from these strange hind-legs. I was feeling much better and started to notice my surroundings. Just then, going around a corner, I encountered another cow. But what a different cow! She was very short, very round and colored more like an elk than a cow. But the amazing thing about her was that she had two magnificent horns erupting from the top of her head. They were something like the horns that the deer and elk have, but not so elaborate or long. She shook her horns at me when she saw me and I backed away and tried to look submissive. She started bossing me around, which was alright because there was a lot of space to get away.
I want to stay near Lani Moo (the horned cow), but she won’t let me eat her pile of hay. A hind-leg shooed me towards another pile of hay, but I want to be next to Lani Moo. Oh well, there is some grass and they’re letting me go outside, but it is cold and raining. The barn is completely open, so I can come and go as I please. I think there are some other cows here, too, but I’m too tired to explore.
A hind-leg came and milked Lani Moo in the morning. I watched from a distance and noticed that the hind-leg actually came into contact with Lani Moo and seemed to be squeezing milk from her using it’s front legs. Lani Moo seemed happy and had a big appetite for the grain she got while she was milked. The hind-leg made funny sounds while it milked—like bird sounds, but hind-leggy.
Then another hind-leg came out and the two of them shooed me into a place that had a bucket with grain in it. I was hungry and when I put my head in the manger to get the grain, I was locked in. The hind-leg that had milked Lani Moo then wiped my udder and started milking me. One odd thing was that it seemed a bit frightened. It wasn’t close to me the way it had been with Lani Moo and I wondered why it was frightened. So I stood very still and was alert to figure out what was frightening the hind-leg, but nothing alarming happened. The two hind-legs made hind-leg sounds and then let me go. That’s when things got bad. The milking hind-leg grabbed my nose and squirted some horrible liquid down my throat and then forced a short metal thing in my throat several times and put something down using the metal thing. That hind-leg was a tormentor! It let me go after that.
The hind-legs came in the evening after dark and repeated milking Lani Moo and then me. One of them fed us (I think of it as Feeder) and one of them milked us (I think of it as Tormentor) and then forced things down my throat. Tormentor emptied my milk on the ground after it milked me.
Tormentor tried to touch me several times during the day. I don’t know why. It makes sounds that do sound like it wants to communicate and I am able to sense that it may not be as terrible as it acts. But I’m not going to voluntarily let it touch me.
Lani Moo lets Tormentor touch her and actually seems to enjoy being with Tormentor. There are other cows here and they’re actually mostly grown bulls. They also like it when Tormentor goes in and touches them It is almost like Tormentor is licking them using a brushy thing in its front legs. Some of the bulls actually licked Tormentor. I don’t know what to make of that. I think I’m in an odd place. I miss Spotty and Splotch.
Every day is much the same. There is a soft, dry place to chew my cud, close to Lani Moo. Feeder comes and gives us hay and Tormentor comes and gives us grain, milks us and torments me with squirty liquids and metal instruments.
My leg still hurts, but I am feeling really good. If it weren’t for the dreary, wet weather, I think I could feel some joy in life. Lani Moo is bossy, but she does like me and licks me sometimes. She won’t let me near her hay, but Feeder puts the hay in two places so I can eat, too.
I’m beginning to wonder if these two hind-legs might actually have personalities. I have come to the conclusion that Tormentor is a cow and Feeder is a bull. Tormentor seems to have an udder under those layers and Feeder has a much deeper voice when he makes his hind-leg sounds. When Tormentor is milking me, she makes sounds that are soothing. She isn’t afraid any more and now she gets quite close to me when she’s milking. If she didn’t torment me after milking, I think I could tolerate her better. You might think I’m crazy, but I sense that after she’s milked me and tormented me that she actually thanks me.
The biggest bull here is Torus. Everyone gets out of his way really fast when he comes through. His horns are magnificent and he isn’t shy about jabbing anyone who doesn’t move fast enough. Although I’m a black cow, I do have white legs and a white tummy. Torus is pure, solid black.
When the hind-legs go into the pen with Torus, he seems happy to be with them. They scratch him on top of the shoulders and Torus stretches his neck like he’s enjoying it. I could never enjoy letting a hind-leg touch me. All the cows want to be with Feeder and Tormentor, and not just at feeding time.
I let Tormentor touch me today. Normally if she makes her soothing hind-leg sounds, I just walk away. Today I didn’t feel like going anywhere and so I just stood there while she touched my shoulder with her front legs. She has hands on the end of her front legs and seemed to know just the places that needed to be scratched. So I did let her do it.
Later when I was laying down, trying to peacefully chew my cud, Tormentor came and put her body next to me. I’d never seen hind-legs when they’re not standing up, so it was unusual to have Tormentor against me on the ground. She was making some rhythmical sounds while moving some beads in a bag. I just stayed there, chewing.
She hasn’t been tormenting me as much, only using the metal thing every few milkings. I actually think of her more as “Milker” now.
The sun came out today and I felt great. Milker let me go out into a little pasture with Dee, the horse and I found some clover there. The other cows are still in the barn that opens to an area where they can get some exercise. But it is muddy. I don’t know why they don’t let us out into the big pastures.
Today they opened a gate that let the all the other cows go to a place where I couldn’t see them. I’m all by myself with just a horse for company.
Dee is usually friendly but I know that she is much faster and more aggressive that myself.
Sometimes she just wants to storm around the pasture and the way she moves, it is almost like she’s floating. She makes circles with her head when she passes me, like she wants me to run, too, but Dee is out of my league when it comes to romping. Sometimes we graze side by side.
When Milker came to get me this evening, I tried to play with her. I bounced in her direction with my head lowered, but she just laughed and shooed me towards the milking place.
Milker always brushes me before she milks me and it does feel good. She is able to scratch places that are hard to reach such as my tummy and behind my ears. I like her singing while she milks and I like getting grain to eat.
There is a lot of grass to eat. When they put me in the pasture with Dee there is a lot of clover and alfalfa, too. So I eat and then I go lay down on my bed and chew my cud. Milker comes morning and evening and milks me.
Lani Moo has been out with the other cows for some time now and doesn’t get milked. I miss her and I miss the bulls. Today I feel like I’d like to have other cows and bulls around. I think I’d jump on them if they were here. They did come in the barn this morning to get water and Bala, one of the smallest bulls stayed by the fence and I sensed that he really likes me. But then he got hungry and went out with the other cows and I stayed where I could see them at a distance and called to them.
There are several places where they let me graze. One of the places is hard to figure out because you have to go around a fenced area, but you can see back to the barn.
Today Milker was in the barn and she called my name. I don’t know why, but I did feel like coming to her when she called. I do sense that she likes me and cares about me. She is also good at scratching me under my neck where it feels good.
This morning I was feeling impatient when I was being milked. Milker was singing and I was tired of just standing there so—I can’t believe I did this—I thwacked Milker with my tail. Milker stopped singing and she also stopped milking, but then she started milking again. I can’t believe that I’d thwack a hind-leg. It was just that Milker was being slow and I wanted her to know that I was ready to go.
My tail is long now and I use it to express my feelings. If bugs bite me, I thwack them. If Milker is slow, why shouldn’t I thwack her?
Milker doesn’t like it when I use my tail on her. When I thwack, she slaps me and makes harsh sounds. Most of the time I do just stand quietly to be milked, but sometimes if the flies are bad or if I’m feeling impatient, I’ll let her know.
We had a beautiful evening. As the sun was setting, the clouds which seemed to be arranged in loose rows, lit up with a fiery range of colors. Milker was standing next to me in my pasture which is surrounded by dramatic mountains as we enjoyed the display of nature. As she stroked my withers, I wrapped my neck around her body and gave her a hug.