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Saying Goodbye to our Beloved Maizy

By Tom Spaulding, Executive Director

I am deeply saddened to report to you that Maizy the cow, the matriarch of the Learning Center's herd of Scottish Highland cattle, passed away this morning at 9 am. 

The cause of death is still unknown.  The vet took blood samples on Friday night and we will see if they reveal any information this coming week.  This all happened very suddenly.  Wednesday last week, she seemed normal.  Then, on Thursday, she had difficulty walking and little appetite, so I called the vet.  He discovered she had a prolapsed uterus and asked if we had found an aborted calf.  (We found the stillborn or aborted calf on Friday buried under the hay in her paddock.  She must have gone into labor over night on Wednesday when we were all gone and then buried the dead calf under the hay).  The vet theorized that she was hit by some as of yet unknown virus that led to her terminating her pregnancy early and the other complications: the prolapsed uterus, extreme fatigue, depressed immune system, runny nose, and loss of appetite. 

Thursday night after the vet left, Maizy sat down and never stood up again.  She spent all day Friday and Saturday on the ground.  She drank small portions of warm water when offered it, but she would not eat. She rested, sometimes moaned and complained, and attempted to shift her weight. She tried to stand several times but could not.  Her back legs would not support her.  The vet returned Friday night and filled her with electrolytes and amino acids.  We gave her injections of B vitamins, iron and other supplements.  All to no avail.  This morning, losing ever more energy, she went from sitting to lying down completely.  Shortly thereafter, she passed away with her heifer calf, Babe (the draft horse), and Bertha by her side.

Maizy had personality.  She was the most social, the most bossy, and the most talkative of all our cows. I already miss Maizy's call and response songs with me.  I would bellow out her name and she would bellow back!  (I will not miss trying to get her unstuck from our hay feeder!  She had the longest horns of the herd and she could find her way into the feeder but often couldn't figure her way out.) She was the first to give birth on this farm in decades.  It was a difficult birth with a vet pulling the calf (with chains around the hooves of the calf).  Her mother Buttercup helped Maizy clean the calf (see photo below) and then claimed it as her own.  We had to separate Maizy and her calf to keep grandma at bay!   She calved again in 2011, a second bull calf.  Then last year, Maizy gave the world a female calf, a little Maizy, born in August 2013 (photo below).  

Please join me in saying goodbye to a most lovely cow -- Maizy. 

Here is Buttercup and her calf Maizy exploring the pasture a few minutes after they arrived at the farm for the first time in June 2007

Maizy has her first birth in 2009 and Buttercup (mom) helps clean up the calf

Maizy gives birth to a little Maizy in August 2013