How not to “magnet” your cow

Claire Cow

Wait. Wait. Wait. Back up. Let us start in the shower!


I washed all the mud from myself and my children for the first time in like three days. But the relief of CLEAN! was interrupted by Mommy Sense—a 6th sense of panic that briefly paralyzes your body so you can break from what you’re doing and spring into action … because one of your babies is about to eat poison or stab a hobo or fall off a cliff before her time. It is supernatural.

After a quick headcount, I still felt terrified, so I took a peak out the window and spotted Claire the Cow munching on a pile of charred remains … nails, spikes, metal bits included in the pile. Whoever said cows do not WANT to eat metal must have been mistaken? It was at that point I remembered that I had not been successful at magneting ol’ Claire.

Sidenote: “Magneting” is what I call shoving a marker-sized magnet down your cow’s throat with a bolus gun. The magnet settles in a “safe” place in one of the cow’s four stomachs, and collects all the metal she accidentally ingests out on the pasture. Otherwise, the metal travels along and gets lodged into her stomach lining and I have to borrow Bethany’s trailer to load her up and cry all the way to the butcher because there is nothing you can do for Claire at this point.

She becomes a deep freezer full of hamburger. Not even steaks. Just hamburger. Because that’s all the old cow is good for by now.

I attempted “magneting” once before, with Claire’s head locked in a her milk stanchion. Despite this head restraint, she refused to let me shove the magnet halfway down her throat. I don’t know why someone wouldn’t love this. She was too strong for me and could still thrash her head around a bit so I resolved to wait until Seth was home to help.

Except I forgot to do that.

And there was my precious cow … munching on stomach-piercing snacks out in the field!!!

So the next best thing I could think of at that moment to do was get the magnet in her RIGHT NOW. NOW. NOW. NOW. GET THE GUN. MAGNET GO NOW. ACTIVATE.

I threw on only the most necessary pieces of clothing, secured the children and ran out barefoot (oops) to grab the necessary tools to get the job done. The thought crossed my mind that this could be difficult given that she was in no way … restrained. But I didn’t worry too much because I was still in the throes of Mommy Sense.

Those of you who are more professional may be laughing—but I have no idea whether you are cackling be because I acted too fast, or too slow. I still have no idea the urgency of the situation … whether I’d be too late because the magnet would not beat any nails she may have eaten to her rumen. Whether I had a couple hours to perm my hair … I still have no idea what is going to happen. But I still believe it was best to have the magnet in BEFORE I found clean underwear. Shoes would have been worth the extra seconds. Rookie mistake.

Claire’s opinion of having a plastic tube jammed down her throat had not changed much. Blame it on the adrenaline, but after about three or thirty minutes of riding Claire’s head around cowboy-style (Have you ever tried to put a 900-pound creature in a headlock? Not as easy as it sounds!!) I sort of grabbed the gun with both hands and shoved with all my might. I pushed the plunger and a few gulps and … the magnet did not pop out again!

I think she swallowed it! I was so proud of myself.

Let’s hope it got there in time. Or better yet … let’s pray she was just eating ashes, and that I didn’t really even NEED to run out into my field barefoot and braless to remedy the situation.

#farmlife #learningcurve

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  • Brandy Orndorf

    you are the bomb. now come magnet my cow. ;-)