It looks like this is going to have to be Bailey’s last calf. We hoped the mastitis last year may have been due to some environmental stress, but now it looks like Bailey is especially susceptible. Her bag was misshapen before she calved, but not particularly hard, or feverish.  We waited to see if the symptoms developed, instead of just doing the proactive treatment, mostly because you want to avoid wiping out the calf”s stomach flora. By Friday it was iffy, Saturday we had to start treatment, which is so stomach wrenching, I thought I’d share.

Saturday’s treatment knocked out the infection in two of the  quarters. Only one infected quarter was left this afternoon.

The affected one feels like a football that’s been spun a few minutes in a clothes dryer. You have to try and get as much of the sometimes bloody liquid out of that quarter before you start the treatment:

The lower right hand quarter is infected. Probably staph.

The lower right hand quarter is infected. Probably staph.


With some difficulty, I’m trying to remove the slurry of quasi-milk, blood, and pus from the milk ducts, to improve the chance of the antibiotics having an effect. Bailey has been given a mighty cow analgesic, as well as a big bucket of grass to keep her from kicking the shit out of me. The rope,  visible in the photos, is merely a formality.

I wasn’t able to get much out. It ‘s badly swollen, and what milk did come out is a lumpy particulate. After giving her a subcutaneous injection of Penicillin G in the neck, we move on to the fun part.

the magic bullet

the magic bullet

The object is to slide the skinny bit of this up the udder, inject it into the bag, withdraw it while holding the teat closed,  and shaking the bag to distribute the medication, while avoiding the cow’s attempts to plant her right foot in my nuts.


For some reason, this part always reminds me of David Niven, in The Guns of Navarone.dsc09650

The medicine having been introduced, the teat is held closed, and the bag shaken vigorously.

NEXT UP: In my Tuesday chef’s segment, it’s Pizza Di Napoli with Arugula and buffalo mozzarella!