A farmer has described the heartbreaking moment she watched a mother cow mourn the death of a calf following a mysterious accident.
Despite growing up around cattle, Autumn Weppner said she never knew cows could cry and was taken aback by witnessing what she described as a “cow funeral”.
The farmer, from Idaho in the northwest of the United States, posted the haunting story alongside a photo of the mother cow on Facebook, recounting the moment when she was led to the dead calf.
“After I fed everyone this morning, Ava wouldn't eat with the rest of the herd. When I walked out to check on her, she began to lead me out to the very far corner of the pasture. She walked quietly with a purpose, pausing only to look back to see that I was still following,” she wrote.
Ava was leading Ms Weppner to a creek, where she discovered the reason behind the solemn behaviour.
“He was lying in the creek...and he had been there too long. I'm not sure when or how it happened. While it looked to be just a freak accident, that didn't make it any easier,” she explained.
“Ava's quiet demeanor quickly changed. I have never seen a cow cry before - but it's a real thing. She wailed and pawed and gasped for air as I pulled her frozen calf out of the creek.”
According to Ms Weppner, as she tended to the dead animal, the distressed cow looked at her “as if pleading me to bring him back”.
She’s not sure what was behind the death of the young animal but watched on in amazement as the herd appeared to grieve the incident.
“As I gave her time to process that her baby was gone, I heard more cries bellow out behind us. The rest of the herd had left their fresh feed and followed us,” she wrote.
“They circled Ava's calf, continuing to cry out as each of them took a turn checking the calf. I had never seen a cow funeral either, but that also seems to be a thing.”
The post was shared to an Australian farming group on Facebook and has gone viral after being posted last week.
After being shared more than 33,000 times, Ms Weppner said she has been inundated with comments and well wishers.
In an update to her post, she said she was blown away by the response and told supporters that after days of grieving, Ava the cow appeared to be back to normal and was feeding properly again.
“While life isn't always pretty, it does go on. I believe the tough times like these give us a greater appreciation for the better times,” she said.
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