A family of Loudon County cattle farmers fought the pull one of their cows from a frozen pond.
LOUDON - A Loudon County family of cattle farmers pulled one of their cattle from an icy pond.

One heifer from their herd of almost 40 had wandered out onto a frozen pond either looking for water or perhaps just curious. It happened after snow fell Feb. 20.

The heifer fell through the ice, and sat in there until neighbor Mike Williams spotted something out of the ordinary.

"We received the call from our neighbor, who said he saw something black in the pond. Of course my husband knew exactly what that was," said Chrystal McConkey.

McConkey runs the farm with her husband, Travis. Losing an animal is just one problem posed by the winter weather.

Some farmers also have faced transportation troubles and a hay shortage.

"Spoke to a guy who had to sell all of his cattle because he didn't have enough hay to get them through the rest of the winter," said John Goddard with the University of Tennessee Extension Office's Loudon County office.

When the McConkeys arrived on scene, they brought a tractor to the pond to try and pull the heifer out.

"They lassoed her after a while. I think it probably took an hour to get her out of the pond," said McConkey.

Goddard called the McConkeys while they were rescuing the cow, looking for assistance on his own home front.

"We were out of water just down the road down there just because the power was out, and I called Travis about getting to haul some water for me. Couldn't get a hold of him and I called Chrystal, and she said well, he's got a cow in the pond," said Goddard.

After pulling the heifer from the icy pond, they wrapped her in hay and brought her to a barn. They tried to raise her body temperature. But it was too late.

"We did all we could do but sometimes that's not enough," said Goddard.

Goddard and McConkey believe the heifer died of hypothermia.

The heifer they lost was valued at about $1,500. The animal had a projected value of much more, because it could produce calves.

But it wasn't all economics to McConkey. She just lost one of the herd.

"Anytime you see something like that, you are going to do anything you can do to help them. To give them a chance," said McConkey.

Goddard recalled something similar happened last year in East Tennessee.