Mourning cow - How long does it last?

The place to start if you are new!
Post Reply
MeggieSaunders
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:41 pm
Location: Oregon/California
Has thanked: 8 times

Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by MeggieSaunders » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:53 pm

Hi everyone,

Newbie to CattleToday forum.

The vet helped us put down (and cremated) a calf yesterday because it was sick and blind. Now the mother is wondering around the paddocks mooing and looking for her calf - she started at 2am! She's so determined to find her calf that she's roamed away from the big herd.

When I go out to the pasture the cow will come to me and follow me around. I think she does this because she remembers that I was the one bottle feeding the calf. The cow seems to calm down (lays down and closes her eyes) when I stay with her but as soon as I start walking away begins wandering around and mooing. It's so sad to watch and hear her.

Anyone know how long the mourning period lasts? It's been 16 hours since we took her calf away. I'm stressing out for the cow and I also ask the question because I need my beauty sleep. ;-)

Meggie



Buck Randall
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 558
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:45 pm
Has thanked: 188 times
Been thanked: 313 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by Buck Randall » Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:32 pm

MeggieSaunders wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:53 pm
Hi everyone,

Newbie to CattleToday forum.

The vet helped us put down (and cremated) a calf yesterday because it was sick and blind. Now the mother is wondering around the paddocks mooing and looking for her calf - she started at 2am! She's so determined to find her calf that she's roamed away from the big herd.

When I go out to the pasture the cow will come to me and follow me around. I think she does this because she remembers that I was the one bottle feeding the calf. The cow seems to calm down (lays down and closes her eyes) when I stay with her but as soon as I start walking away begins wandering around and mooing. It's so sad to watch and hear her.

Anyone know how long the mourning period lasts? It's been 16 hours since we took her calf away. I'm stressing out for the cow and I also ask the question because I need my beauty sleep. ;-)

Meggie
Every cow is different, but most usually quiet down after a couple days.

User avatar
Rafter S
GURU
GURU
Posts: 4249
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:13 am
Location: Grimes County, TX
Has thanked: 60 times
Been thanked: 81 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by Rafter S » Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:41 pm

Welcome to the forum. It will likely just taper off over the next few days, so she'll gradually spend less time looking and calling for the calf and more time with usual activities (grazing, resting, etc).
Life is too short to drink cheap beer or dance with ugly women.

cowgal604
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 747
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:22 pm
Has thanked: 166 times
Been thanked: 248 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by cowgal604 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:05 pm

I have had some of my girls cry out for days until they lost their moo. I would be a bit careful where you place her though. My cows do not do well when I separate them from the main herd when they have a loss. Makes it worse and I have had some jump fences over it.

I mean...if this isn't proof right here that the dairy industry is damaging to livestock then I just don't know what is...

Cows are more emotional than most farmers will admit.

User avatar
farmerjan
GURU
GURU
Posts: 2965
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:54 pm
Location: Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
Has thanked: 525 times
Been thanked: 365 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by farmerjan » Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:58 pm

And many dairy cows wouldn't give more than a seconds thought to a calf. Don't put down the dairy industry just because you have beef animals and can allow them to have and raise their own calf. If it weren't for the dairy farmers, you would never have gotten the crossbreds for bottle calves to raise as pets so that they could give you a pretty good start to a herd.

Our red poll cattle will carry on for more than a week after we pull feeders off them, 5-700 lb calves that go off to the weaning pen and barely look back but for the first 24 hours..... they are a very maternal breed.

I have the best of both worlds in many ways, with the dairy animals and using them as nurse cows and milking for the house. We cannot provide for the masses doing it like that.... because there are too many possibilities for diseases also with "sharing the teat".
Yes we have bred out the mothering instinct from most dairy breeds to some extent.... But there are way more that will pay prefunctory attention to a calf, and not get very bent out of shape when it is gone.
I have beef cows that are VERY GLAD for the calf to be gone and never look back after weaning. And many that have had a dead calf that try their da#@est to get that dead calf to get up. That is instinct; natures way to get them to want to accept and protect and raise that calf. They don't think it through. There are cows that could barely give a tinkers d#@n; no different than saying all that all human mothers are meant to be mothers and they will miss their babies.....
It is sad that the cow is mourning the loss....nature is telling her that she needs to find the baby, and she is feeling the pressure from the milk back up. I feel bad for mine that have lost a calf for whatever reason. But I am not going to impart HUMAN FEELINGS on that cow. They will look for and want the calf, they will accept it is gone after a couple of days, and they will go back to doing normal cow activities.
Cows are not so "emotional" as they are instinctional. And people can reason it out, even though they will not be able to control their emotions with reason; compared to a cow that you can't explain it to her and she will understand.

User avatar
Rafter S
GURU
GURU
Posts: 4249
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:13 am
Location: Grimes County, TX
Has thanked: 60 times
Been thanked: 81 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by Rafter S » Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:39 pm

farmerjan wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:58 pm
And many dairy cows wouldn't give more than a seconds thought to a calf. Don't put down the dairy industry just because you have beef animals and can allow them to have and raise their own calf. If it weren't for the dairy farmers, you would never have gotten the crossbreds for bottle calves to raise as pets so that they could give you a pretty good start to a herd.

Our red poll cattle will carry on for more than a week after we pull feeders off them, 5-700 lb calves that go off to the weaning pen and barely look back but for the first 24 hours..... they are a very maternal breed.

I have the best of both worlds in many ways, with the dairy animals and using them as nurse cows and milking for the house. We cannot provide for the masses doing it like that.... because there are too many possibilities for diseases also with "sharing the teat".
Yes we have bred out the mothering instinct from most dairy breeds to some extent.... But there are way more that will pay prefunctory attention to a calf, and not get very bent out of shape when it is gone.
I have beef cows that are VERY GLAD for the calf to be gone and never look back after weaning. And many that have had a dead calf that try their da#@est to get that dead calf to get up. That is instinct; natures way to get them to want to accept and protect and raise that calf. They don't think it through. There are cows that could barely give a tinkers d#@n; no different than saying all that all human mothers are meant to be mothers and they will miss their babies.....
It is sad that the cow is mourning the loss....nature is telling her that she needs to find the baby, and she is feeling the pressure from the milk back up. I feel bad for mine that have lost a calf for whatever reason. But I am not going to impart HUMAN FEELINGS on that cow. They will look for and want the calf, they will accept it is gone after a couple of days, and they will go back to doing normal cow activities.
Cows are not so "emotional" as they are instinctional. And people can reason it out, even though they will not be able to control their emotions with reason; compared to a cow that you can't explain it to her and she will understand.
:clap: :clap: :clap:
Life is too short to drink cheap beer or dance with ugly women.

cowgal604
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 747
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:22 pm
Has thanked: 166 times
Been thanked: 248 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by cowgal604 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:05 pm

farmerjan wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:58 pm
And many dairy cows wouldn't give more than a seconds thought to a calf. Don't put down the dairy industry just because you have beef animals and can allow them to have and raise their own calf. If it weren't for the dairy farmers, you would never have gotten the crossbreds for bottle calves to raise as pets so that they could give you a pretty good start to a herd.

Our red poll cattle will carry on for more than a week after we pull feeders off them, 5-700 lb calves that go off to the weaning pen and barely look back but for the first 24 hours..... they are a very maternal breed.

I have the best of both worlds in many ways, with the dairy animals and using them as nurse cows and milking for the house. We cannot provide for the masses doing it like that.... because there are too many possibilities for diseases also with "sharing the teat".
Yes we have bred out the mothering instinct from most dairy breeds to some extent.... But there are way more that will pay prefunctory attention to a calf, and not get very bent out of shape when it is gone.
I have beef cows that are VERY GLAD for the calf to be gone and never look back after weaning. And many that have had a dead calf that try their da#@est to get that dead calf to get up. That is instinct; natures way to get them to want to accept and protect and raise that calf. They don't think it through. There are cows that could barely give a tinkers d#@n; no different than saying all that all human mothers are meant to be mothers and they will miss their babies.....
It is sad that the cow is mourning the loss....nature is telling her that she needs to find the baby, and she is feeling the pressure from the milk back up. I feel bad for mine that have lost a calf for whatever reason. But I am not going to impart HUMAN FEELINGS on that cow. They will look for and want the calf, they will accept it is gone after a couple of days, and they will go back to doing normal cow activities.
Cows are not so "emotional" as they are instinctional. And people can reason it out, even though they will not be able to control their emotions with reason; compared to a cow that you can't explain it to her and she will understand.
I feel the best farmers are the ones that admit to the weaknesses of the industry. Denying the fact that cows grieve the loss of their calf, whether that death or removal is ridiculous. It’s why so many consumers hate the dairy industry. I understand and respect it’s purpose. But I also respect the facts.

I wish I never peeled my now cows off the dairy floors they came from. Their story isn’t a happy one so please don’t pay thanks to that. I wish they had a better start. Cows are emotional animals. There are better ways to do things.

Butterbean_Farms
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:13 pm
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by Butterbean_Farms » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:55 pm

In my opinion the best farmers are the ones who don’t confuse an animals instinct with human emotion.

User avatar
Dsth
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:33 pm
Location: eastern Iowa
Has thanked: 36 times
Been thanked: 67 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by Dsth » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:31 am

:welcome: Gee Meggie; for a newbie, seems like you "stirred the pot" a little bit with your first post. I was born into the dairy business and milked for over forty years before getting into the beef business. I wish that I could have read those dang cows minds to find out why they would kick me so often. I will share my thoughts since I have worked with both dairy and beef. I know some dairy cows were really protective of their newborns but don't remember any that spent much time searching for the calf once they were separated. My beef cows are very different. I have had calves that the vet said would probably not survive because of various reasons but did because the mommy just kept encouraging the calf to get up or nurse or whatever she thought it needed to do. The ones that didn't make it, the cow would act like yours for about three days probably for an average. Can't verify if it is emotions or instincts but I felt sorry for the cows that lost a calf. Seems like you may feel the same based on your post. Hope all works out well for you and welcome to the Cattle today forum.

76 Bar
GURU
GURU
Posts: 1240
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 1:17 pm
Location: South Western Oregon
Has thanked: 525 times
Been thanked: 385 times

Re: Mourning cow - How long does it last?

Post by 76 Bar » Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:42 am

Thoughtful/insightful & kind hearted post Dsth. Thank you. :nod:

Post Reply