“Thank you, God, for the world so sweet.
Thank you, God, for the food we eat.
Thank you, God, for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God for everything … Amen.”
So goes the children’s bedtime prayer, repeated by children for generations. A cow’s version might go something like this:
Thank you, God, for my world so sweet,
Thank you, God, for the food I eat.
Thank you, God, for the people who care for me.
They work hard to provide so many important things for me
Thank you for making and buying good quality feed. When you make it yourself, I know you have long days and short nights to get it made right. When you are buying feed, you might have to turn a load down and make extra calls and trips to find the quality that is right. Thank you for testing our feed and having the nutritionist balance a ration to give me a chance to do it right.
Thank you for keeping my bedding clean and dry, for working in a cold barn so I can be healthier in the winter. I know it would be easier for you to close everything up so you could be warmer. Thanks for cutting the walls out of the old barn and not putting siding on the new barn so we can have lots of fresh, cool air.
Thank you for grooving slippery concrete so I won’t fall when that old boss cow gives me a shove.
Thank you for a regular vaccination program for me and my calves. For calling the vet when you can’t figure out what is wrong. Thank you for the extra work it takes to do our footbath three times a week. For making sure our feet are kept trimmed and healthy even when we don’t act like we really want to climb into that big metal thing again.
For help at calving:
Thank you for getting out of your warm bed at 2 in the morning to see how I am doing. I know if you fed me at the right time of day I shouldn’t calve in the middle of the night, but sometimes that calf just won’t wait.
Thanks for getting that extra bale of straw so my calf can hit the ground clean. Thank you for filling and carrying those buckets of warm water so I could drink my fill after the little one finally arrived.
Thanks for that extra flake of hay and bucket of feed to get me started eating right. Thank you for milking me by hand or waiting for the colostrum to thaw so you could feed my calf before you went back to your warm bed.
Thank you for getting the placenta out of my pen so I wouldn’t do a stupid cow trick and try to eat it. Thank you for the vitamin E and selenium shots that helped me be sure to clean in the first place.
Thank you for looking for and getting rid of sharp edges and broken things so we don’t get cut or bruised. We try not to break things, but sometimes we just don’t know our own strength.
Thank you for the fence and ramp guards around the manure pit so we don’t slip and fall in when we get too close. Those heifers will have their shoving matches.
Thank you for milking me at regular times. For doing routine maintenance on the milking system and changing the inflations when they need to be changed. Thanks for paying for and using a good pre- and post-dip. I hate getting mastitis.
Thank you for patiently dealing with my injured teat last summer and understanding when I kicked at you. It really, really hurt. But I am glad that I can still give you milk now, because you cared.
Thank you for turning down the rock and roll on the radio station. We really prefer classical, country or a good news show. Thank you for firing that guy who thought the only way to get us to move was with a big stick and constant yelling. We don’t miss him at at all.
For loving care:
Thank you for taking my calf’s temperature when she didn’t look and act quite right. For giving her medicine early so she didn’t have to fight for her life. Thank you for giving her those little extra pets and rubs that set her tail to wagging. Those are the little things that help her grow into a pleasant cow.
For the little extra things:
Thank you for making and maintaining pastures and barnyards so that we can get out and enjoy a sunny day. Thank you for that tail scratch or chin rub. I know the flighty cows won’t stand still for one, but they don’t know what they are missing! Thank you for the time and care it took to put that healing cream on my chapped teat.
And, Lord, since it is Thanksgiving, thank you for making me a cow and not a turkey. Amen.
(The author is the northeast Ohio district dairy specialist with OSU Extension. Send comments or questions in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)