By Richard Gappmayer
Years ago bales of hay were secured with wire. Yes, metal wire. One of my father’s cows became sick and would not eat, so he called the veterinarian. The vet thought that the cow might have been poisoned by fragments of this hay baler wire. The cow was put in a stanchion, and the vet prepared to operate on her. I don’t know if he gave her an anesthetic, but she stood there nonchalantly eating while he operated on her.
He made an incision high on her side and opened up her stomach. A very foul smelling gas came gurgling out. He removed several gallons of semi digested material. Then, with his arm encased in a very long glove, he reached in with a magnet and began running it around the wall of her stomach.
He removed the magnet several times and each time it would be covered with wire fragments. He was very careful to search every square inch of the stomach wall for wire that had possibly penetrated the wall. When he was satisfied that there was no wire left in the cow, he closed the incision with stitches, gave the cow several shots and then declared her cured.
She recovered from both the wire and the surgery and lived several more years. This is why hay bales are now secured with twine.