The City Girl Farmer

Good-Bye Lilly
February 24, 2010, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Cows | Tags: , , ,

Lilly the day after we got her

We had to put Lilly down a little over a week ago.  I have been too sad to blog about it.  Now I think I might feel better if I tell her  story.  She went down early Sunday morning during a VERY cold snap.   I knew from when she had gone down before that we had 24 hours to get her up.  So we tried with no luck and decided to just set her up with food and water nearby and try again when we got home from church.  We couldn’t get her up that evening either and decided we would call the vet in the morning if she wasn’t up by herself.  She must have tried about a dozen times, each time too weak to make it all the way.

Lilly after milking a week before she died

The vet came out and told us she needed to be euthanized.  Right up to the end she hadn’t seemed that sick.  She was alert, eating and drinking and so we continued to hope.  It took Jon and I both a couple of hours to come to grips with what we needed to do.  The doctor took blood and stool samples to run three different tests.   After he left we called another farmer to make sure we knew how to put her down so that she wouldn’t suffer.  We talked about who should shoot her, both of us trying to protect the other from the inevitable psychic trauma of putting down a pet.  Jon did the deed, and well I might add.  She stopped breathing in a couple of seconds.  He said there was hardly any mess.

This morning I got a call from the vet.  She died from Johne’s disease.  It’s official name is Mycobacterium paratuberculosis.  It infects the intestines and the animal catches it as a baby.  It is latent until the animal is 2 or 3 years old.  Eventually they develop the symptoms Lilly had:  diarrhea, healthy appetite, no fever but wasting.  It does not respond to antibiotics and is always fatal. 😦

So now we know.  There was nothing I could have done that would have saved her and I suppose I am somewhat relieved that it wasn’t some gross failure of mine that caused her death.  I thought this news would make me feel better but actually I feel like a scab was torn off and I find I am quite depressed.  I have great admiration for the tough old farmers who undoubtedly took things like this in stride.  I, on the other hand, am a city girl and need time to learn to take these things in stride.  I wonder if I have enough years left.

Coming away after a good, long drink at the trough a week before she died

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi have become a moderator on a brilliant chicken forum we’d love you to come and visit us.
Full of friendly and helpful people who also love chooks

sorry for the advert

Comment by beingmaisie

Hi…I can sure feel your pain in making that final decision. I am sorry for the loss of your little girl lily.I have had the fortune or misfortune to have only had to make that choice 3 times, and each time it breaks your heart.I hope you get another jersey in the future as they are the best little moo cows. I have a small herd of 16 and they are predominantly Jersey girls.Take care and from one former city girl gone country to another, have a good day.


Comment by Sandra Atherton

Thank you, Sandra. We’re in the market for one now. Unfortunately, they seem to be difficult to come by in CO. Mostly beef cattle out here. I envy the size of your herd. 🙂

Comment by citygirlfarmer

I guess I will be more appreciative of the opportunity I have to increase my herd now. I live in QLD, Australia and we have cattle sales 4 days a week. I mostly go to my local sales to buy my girls, so many have had a hard life before they come home or are older cows that just need a bit of TLC. I currently milk my girls to feed rearer calves, mainly friesian heifers for a local farmer this quarter. I do rear beef calves for myself to sell at a later date. I still find my jerseys alot smarter …..take care and heres hoping you get a jersey soon.

Comment by Sandra Atherton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: