Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

April 28, 2010

How a Magnet Can Save a Cow's Life

Cow magnets.  Not only are they used in a cow's stomach, I also find them scattered throughout my entire house because the Rugrats love playing with these magnets.

All of our dairy cows have a magnet in one of their four stomachs.  Cows are ruminants.  Most ruminants have four-chambered stomachs for digestion.  When a cow eats her food and swallows, the food first goes into the large rumen where the food is softened.  The rumen can hold up to 25-75 gallons.

Dominic places a magnet down the cow's throat with a bolus gun (used for pills) and the magnet eventually ends up in the stomach called the reticulum (the hardware stomach).  If a cow happens to swallow a piece of metal such as a nail, a small piece of wire, a staple, etc. while eating, it ends up in the reticulum stomach.  Over time the piece of metal can lodge into the honeycombed lining of the reticulum and will threaten the surrounding vital organs causing irritation and inflammation, known as Hardware Disease. It can also work it's way to the heart, killing the cow.  By having a magnet in place in the reticulum, any metal the cow happens to swallow stays in the reticulum attracted to the magnet.





Magnets await insertion........


Dominic inserting a magnet into a heifer using a bolus gun.......







If you would like to WIN a set (2) of the magnets (kids LOVE them!), you must:
  1. Become a Follower of this blog (if you haven't already) - on the column on the right, sign up under 'followers'
  2. Leave a comment under this post telling me how you like to experiment with magnets.
I will randomly select a winner using random.com on Monday morning.  I will post the results on Monday as well!

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