Friday, May 17, 2013

Does Lightning Strike?

An awful sight struck Roger as he rode his motorbike around the paddock this morning. He was checking the cows that are calving, to make sure they were OK and not having calving problems. What he saw was three dead cows at the foot of a tree.

Three cows - dead under a tree :-(


We are wondering if lightning has struck the cows. Not being experts in that sort of thing we didn't really know what to look for. There were no obvious burn marks on the cows which we thought there might be from a direct strike. But because they were under a tree it could mean that the lightning struck the tree and then travelled through the cows. Maybe I should have looked more closely at the tree...

Two of the cows had not yet calved, which makes the loss twice as bad. The third was very upsetting though, because she was a special cow named Annie.
Annie was born the day before a terrible storm in May 2005. We presume she was a twin because we never found a cow without a calf. She was alone in the paddock when we first saw her, all tiny and newborn. Thinking that her mother would come back for her we left her there, but discovered that she was still alone and frightened and shivering the next morning after the storm had passed. She was brought home and bottle-fed. Sophie was only seven then and she took care of the calf, heading out to feed her before school each morning and again when she came home from school in the evening. The calf grew and at weaning time she was put out in the paddock with the rest of the calves. She had a reprieve from the abattoir when she failed to fall pregnant in her first season. Usually "empty" cows are sent off on a truck, but the children begged their father not to do that to Annie! So she stayed and has produced five calves. Just last week she had a new calf, a huge big silver calf delivered without any trouble. Or so we thought... That evening Matthew found the calf dead in the paddock. The death still remains a mystery, and when Annie died she was still carrying an udder full of milk for her dead calf.

The lightning was very close to the house last night. Roger and I had been out and when we got home we found the children huddled on the sofa together loudly exclaiming how the house shook and the windows rattled and the thunder was so loud!