Daisy was poorly yesterday

I heard a meteoroligist on the radio yesterday saying that we have another 15 days of this cold weather. Well, I thought. I am not sure I can wait THAT long. So yesterday I started spring without her. paisley-daisy-018

Opened the barn doors wide even though it was only just above freezing.











It was great to feel the air blowing right through.


Then I took the lambies for a walk, which made Mama really mad and she growled at them and rounded them up and took them back into the barn. Blue Murphy is at my elbow as usual and not in the shot.


We brought compost in from the back for the raised beds. And spread more dirty straw in the salad-bar paddock.


And all along I was back and forth visiting Daisy, then was something not right about her, a lethargy. She has still been having the occassional bout of mastitis, and has recently had antibiotics straight into the udder to clear it up but yesterday she would not eat. Did you see her in the back of that shot with the lambs.  She lay there like that all day.

Then at her dinner time she would not come in to eat. I took her feed out to her but still she would not eat. I  made her stand up by pushing her up with my knees but still nothing. I gave her a carrot and she let it fall out of her mouth. She was burping and raising her back feet up and down, up and down. There must be a pain somewhere I thought.

I put a halter on her (which she let me do .. so unlike her) and with John’s help we were able to cajole her back to the barn and into her corner pen. She just stood there with her head down. There was no outward reason for this.  I felt her all over, nothing stood out, her nose was cool her udder full.  So, at a loss,  I started to brush her. Up and down, up and down, along and along her belly and down around her back, across her flanks and down her neck. Her belly was hard, which is not unusual but I focussed on the roundness. Just like I do when my belly is poorly. She just stood and began to dribble. Her head low.

I brushed her entire body again and again until my arm ached, then I changed hands and brushed some more.  I brushed her and talked to her for a very long time, as she stood and rocked back and forth, her head down. Then without warning she stretched her neck right out and coughed and choked and coughed again. She stood still. I held my breath – the brush in the air. She coughed again wheezing out the last of the breath. Slowly her head came up and she turned it all the way around to me on her necks pivot and looked back at the still brush,  then she looked across  and saw John shaking the  good hay in her feeder and slowly like an old lady she walked across to the hay and began to eat.   Later she walked herself into the milking parlour and slowly ate all her vegetable treats and beet shreds in there, (but not too much) then slowly walked back to her pen.

I just don’t know enough. To learn by trial and error with such a large and dependent animal is dreadful. It is possible that she picked something up in the field, cows can easily ingest foreign objects. Tomorrow I shall discuss putting a magnet down her throat in case there is something there that needs collecting.

But in all honesty I have no idea what happened. Or whether it will happen again.

So far she is OK. I checked her a couple of times in the night and she was resting normally and had resumed chewing her cud.

I will keep you posted.

Have a lovely day.


71 Comments on “Daisy was poorly yesterday

  1. Good morning, c. How do your put a magnet down her throat? And then how do you get it back out again?

    • Evidently the magnet goes down on a tube and after some time she will poo it and anything it has caught out. It all sounds pretty dicey to me however it is a common enough practise I guess.

      • Keep her away from the metal fencing! She might be stuck to the fence, and milking tins, and hair clips …. matchbox cars,… poor darling, Daisy. 😦

  2. I have my fingers crossed- I hope she shakes what’s ailing her. I am always so moved and inspired by how you care for your Farmy folk. Thank you for sharing these ups and downs with us.

  3. She may have not understood all of it but I’m sure Daisy was trying to work with you to figure out why she was feeling funny… Hope she is bette today!

  4. Good morning Celi , how very dreadful and scary lost one cow to grass fever not pleasant keep a tendful eye on her if a cow don’t eat some thing is really wrong blessings on you and daisy

    • she is normally so bad tempered, and still RUNS when she hears the bell, it is most unsettling when she is lethargic and slow.

  5. Oh, Honey…it’s so awful to feel helpless, whether we’re talking about animals or children. I’ll be thinking about you and the Big Cow all day, and hoping for the best.

  6. Oh poor Daisy! And poor you, Miss C, not knowing how to help. It sounds like you did just the right thing though, and took very good care of her. Look forward to hearing that she’s up and at ’em again.

  7. Poor daisy. I hate it when an animal is unwell and we’re just guessing, I always feel somehow inadequate – and we don’t have anyhthing as big as a cow! It’s the same with babies and toddlers when they can’t speak to let us know where it hurts. Awful.

  8. Had a cow do something similar was at a total loss,, the vet was called and he informed me the cow had eaten a plant that causes a bloating.. which makes them uncomfortable and feel full… he poured a bottle of vinegar, water and olive oil mix down her throat… she farted like a trooper and belched like a bar maid and was further fine… it had apparently come in the lucerne that I had purchased to supplement the winter feed…

    • Ah, this may be the problem, she was not so bloated that I was concerned but she was looking hard and round, and as you know I have been buying hay IN. Well, she seems to be over it now, I might look up that mixture for any other problem like this.. good info.. thank you.. c

  9. I agree with Bulldog – this also sounds similar to colic in horses. Except in horses you have to walk them all the time until the vet arrives with a long hose pipe and some hot soapy water (best case), or a very expensive operation (worst case). Usually caused by a plant eaten by animal that causes bloat, may not be be a physical blockage. Hope Daisy keeps improving. Laura

    • She is her normal self this morning, all operations normal, so whatever it was – it was mild… lucky.. she is often hard and round anyway as she is a big water drinker.. she walked all the way into the barn, next time i will keep her walking, thank you laura.. c

  10. The cows that I remember as having suspected hardware disease often had shallow, rapid breathing, would stand around with their back hunched and became very thin. They didn’t like to lie down as I think the process of going down and back up hurt. Have you tried using sodium bicabonate to sprinkle on her food? Dairy cows can have very sensitive rumens, for some any change in ration can upset the digestive track. Basically she might need a Tums. Another thing to be careful of is plastic, like grocery sacks and trash bags, and hard plastic too. Some cows will try to eat anything. We always tried to keep those and stray metal cleaned up as people seemed to think nothing of dropping their trash off in our pastures and hay fields. I still automatically pick up stay metal pieces and plastic even though it has been 15 years since I last had a cow.

    • Morning Jeanne, well it is not hardware disease then. She is not thin or hunched. There has been no change in her feed though this is hay i have had to buy from strangers. i am fastidious about rubbish on the fields, and am constantly prowling them .. hundreds of years of rubbish is buried out there and tin and glass and old baling wire gets heaved up in the freeze and thaw, as though from the moment it is buried it begins the process of unearthing itself. I will go back out and do her field again with the magnet, I know what you mean about picking up wire, ancient bolts and plastic as you go, my pockets look like a little boys sometimes.. c

      • Bloat didn’t occur to me at first as that was always such a visual diagnosis (when you have the puffed up cow in front of you it is easy to tell). Daisy may have been just unlucky enough to get that piece of hay that had the tummy upsetting plant in it. It could also be a product of the drought last summer as forage quality can be affected. If you feed her grain, did you recently get another load as it could also be affected by the drought. We have had luck before in treating mild bloat by having the animal stand with the front end elevated and having another person massage/push on her sides until gas escapes either end. We had a deep ditch bank that we could use. Any thing that gets the front end higher. Sometimes walking them up and down the bank would work. It seems like once the process is started again the cow can often overcome it on her own. We always limited feed until all signs were gone. We had it happen more often in heifers than mature cows. Usually if a heifer was prone to bloating frequently, she was sold for beef. I can remember running a hose down their throat too to relieve the gas when one would get extremely bloated, bad enough that they were having trouble breathing and no vet available for a few hours. That is unforgettable aroma when you are successful and the smell doesn’t wash off your hands well either.
        Well hopefully Daisy has a better day, food in – poop out. Do watch and make sure she is pooping normally. Lack of poop can be a sign of other gut problems that could require immediate treatment.

        • Thank you, that is good stuff. I waited with her last night until she did poop, as she had obviously gone hours without, and she has been fine all day, with only little bits of hay at a time throughout the day but she is not pleased with the limited menu and is noisy and belligerent again which is such a relief. Thank you very much for your help, the bank is a good idea, we do have one too. c

  11. I was thinking colic, too. You did exactly the right thing with the brushing – firmly, almost massaging – we had a pony who was very subject to colic and the walking them round is to stop them rolling and kicking their stomachs. Daisy didn’t seem to be doing that. I hope she’s better today.
    Kupa is posted, rolled up round a bit of curtain pole and stuffed into a larger tube. I hope the customs people don’t mess around with him. He’ll probably take a couple of weeks, as I didn’t pay the extra for Colissimo!

    • I have always remembered your pony story and i said to John whatever we do i am not letting her lie down, she was lifting her back legs up and down though. But she is better today. Like a hundred times better, I should have walked her more though. I will if this happens again. Colic really never came to mind as she was outside all day with nothing but mississippi grass hay. She only has alfalfa in flakeswhen she is milked. I really am thinking now that it may have been a bad plant that was in that bale. No more mississippi hay for Daisy. No-one else seemed bothered though. Thank you for sending Kupa -whenever he arrives it will be just wonderful. I look forward to hanging him.. c

      • Did you never suffer from trapped wind? Same sort of pain with colic. It doesn’t have to be poison – anything can cause if.

    • She is great. i bother that poor woman all the time. But i think that the general consensus is colic. However i am wondering whether she should not have a magnet anyway. i am always picking stuff up out of the fields! morning carrie .. c

  12. Oh Daisy!!! So glad you were able to get her some relief with your brushing and tending to her. Hopefully this is all in the past and she will be fine!!!!

  13. I know that many people have said this before but I am going to say it again…You are a wonderful person…I love the way that you care about your farmy animals with all your heart.
    I did wonder if maybe Daisy caught a chill as it has been so cold where you live. With horses they put blankets on them …could you do the same with Daisy? Tummy ache maybe.
    Daisy is so very special so please give her a hug and a kiss from me (((()))) XXXXX

  14. Glad to hear, Celi, that Daisy is doing better today. You must have been quite worried about her yesterday.What a relief, huh? Woke up to a very light dusting of snow this morning and a very heavy scent of skunk. It sprayed somewhere on or around my back porch, maybe even the 2nd floor landing — it’s that strong. Gonna have to keep an eye on Max at night.
    Looks like our day is going to be cold and damp, even wet. I hope yours is better with maybe a little sunshine. Hope Daisy continues to improve, too.

  15. As I am reading the posts I kept saying to myself “sounds like colic” and saw quite a few others thought the same. I am a pet sitter in a very rural area, so it’s not just cats and dogs I look after – pigs, cows, horses, goats – oh and I had to walk a pot belly pig once that bit me LOL. But back to daisy, I had a horse I was looking after that displayed exactly the same symptoms and it turned out to be colic. I just walked the hell out of her waiting for the vet, worry myself sick as the owners were in Florida for the week! Can be a worrying job, but my love for all the animals makes up for it! Glad Daisy is feeling better today – might want to get plenty of Tums in store for future LOL

    • A pot belly pig who bit you! that is so funny! maybe not at the time though. You must have a great job and I bet you have accumulated a pretty awesome collection of knowledge too.. we were very lucky it was only mild though.. c

  16. I am thinking it is bloat…Celi! She seems to have had all the symptoms (from what I remember) The old time treatment was horrible and harsh….stick a knife in the rounded part of her stomach to let the bad gas out. When we had cows we used a tube…worked lots easier on the cow, but not a thing I really like having to do.

    She must have eaten something that caused the gas….I have known of too rich of alfalfa hay doing so, (too rich is usually first cutting of a brand new field and has lots and lots of little leaves on the stem….) but there are lots of plants that will do that to a cow, you could probably use the new hay but you will need to gradually mix it in with the other hay, also I would check, check and check some more that the new hay does not have ‘extra’ plants in there. A free ranging cow would naturally avoid the .plants that make them bloat.

    Well, I just repeated what everyone else is saying…the massage/brushing probably helped more than anything…your instincts were/are correct!


    • Thank you Linda and thank goodness it was only mild, I will keep tearing it apart as i feed it, i usually do as it is a big square bale that falls off in really thin flakes.. something got past me though! c

  17. I hope you all have a better day with Daisy on the mend. After last years’ early spring now winter doesn’t want to leave. More snow and ice in the forecast here for tonight. Stay warm there in Ill.

  18. Daisy’s behavior was so dramatic and so scary. Amazing how your motherly instincts kicked in and you did exactly the right thing by brushing brushing brushing her. Get “IT” moving on out .
    You have such wonderful followers, so knowledgeable I love reading every word. I learn so much. I feel like I’m in an ongoing life course in animal husbandry. (I’m a city gal.)

    • we are all lucky to have this community of knowledge around us, all of us learning and sharing knowledge and what i love the most is that everyone feels confident enough to pop in their two pence worth .. everyone is so good with each other.. there is no fear of being knocked back for me, even if i get something a bit wrong there is someone out there who will gently tug me out of the mire! We are so lucky.. c

  19. oh poor daisy. it does sound like a temporary upset stomach or something. so glad she is feeling better today. i hate it when i don’t know what is wrong with a pet. we are having an ice storm today and i heard the same thing about this weather lasting another couple weeks.

  20. I found I was holding my breath – reading your post, then reading the comments. Surely, I thought, someone will has encountered this before with their animals. What a dreadful helpless feeling for you, Celi. V.

  21. Oh Cinders, what a scare with Daisy that must have been…poor both of you but so glad she is feeling better today and so thoughtful and caring of you, even not knowing what was wrong to stay with her so long brushing and giving her some comfort, which I’m sure did a world of good. Daisy is so lucky to have such a loving, compassionate mama……

  22. Glad Daisy is better today! It’s time like these one do wish animals can talk. But being so in tune with them helps as you see quickly when they are not quite right.

    Love Leanne

  23. I would say it would be smart to give her a magnet in-case of hardware disease. It couldn’t hurt, and it is cheap enough to do. If she keeps acting strange, you may want to call your vet to make sure it is nothing else. I noticed you have sheep. I don’t know how many you have, but sheep can transfer a parasite/ and or liver flukes to cattle if they share common pasture. Even if they don’t it’s easy enough to unintentionally track in feces. I know vets tend to not worry too much about this issue if you have a small flock, but it might be worth inquiring about, you never know.
    Good luck and I hope you figure out what’s ailing your cow.

    • thank you annie, I almost always run sheep and cattle together, and we are small so the pastures are common for sure. She is back to normal today and happy as a lark, so fingers crossed it does not recur.. c

  24. Oh sorry I forgot to mention that magnets don’t pass through. They stay inside the cow permanently. I saw one of your responses and you seemed concerned about the cow passing it. You could also purchase “bloat ease” too if she has been showing symptoms. Bloat is also known as “foundering” and some symptoms are abdominal swelling and belching. If you are unsure if your cow has bloat, look to see if that little triangle/indentation that is located at the end of their ribs and beginning of their hip bone disappears, especially on the right side, it could be a good indication.
    This is a good resource to read:

    Try backing off on any newly introduced feed and or treats too, it may help. It is all covered in the above URL.
    Sorry for the lengthy comment.

    • No, no thank YOU for the lengthy comment.. it is most definitely appreciated.. i am on a steep learning curve and it is wonderful to get input! I shall find this bloat ease and store it for next time.. I will go now and read this info.. thank you.. c

  25. I am so GLAD that Daisy is doing better. That sounds so frightening, but clearly the brushing helped and how smart of you to know to do that, in my totally cow uneducated opinion.

    So I have a question about something you said about Mama…can and do sheep really growl???

    • she opens her mouth and mAAAA’s really loudly, but with a slightly or sound, her tongue right out all purple and angry and in a most unattractive fashion, she really really does growl.. and runs to and fro gathering them all up.. I was surprised that they were still not allowed out – so bowed to her superior knowledge and obediently closed the gate. oops i said.. she showed me her bottom.. c

  26. This city gal can but read and hope as far as Daisy is concerned . . . but cannot believe how the lambies have grown and how handsome they look! Blue Murphy seems to be kind’of special, which will make the future just a tad sadder . . . life . . .

    • I know.. sucks doesn’t it, but to be sustainable we cannot overload the land by keeping every animal .. just cannot work that way.. still sucks tho.. life.. c

  27. The furry and feathered ones are such a worry when they’re feeling off colour. They place so much trust in their human carers (although it seems Mama pulled rank on Miss C!) but I believe your intuition would be correct, and Daisy responded – relaxing her and those muscles was a wise response 🙂

  28. I’m about ready to have spring whether it arrives or not. I think I shall follow your example! Glad to see from the comments that Daisy seems to be doing better.

  29. What a saga, first the story, then the comments, the advice, the anxiety, the relief, the best wishes. Well, you and Daisy have all mine too… hope all is well the next time you post

  30. Poor Daisy, but your instincts were spot on! Such loving, persistent brushing. I guess that’s a cow’s version of having a massage, and it seems to have done the trick, as my dad would say. I’ve been away, and then so busy, and this is what happens when I’m not looking!

  31. Celi, I am sorry I am always late to the party, but I have to comment today.
    I grew up on a dairy farm. When the cows got into the alfalfa, they were herded up to the barn and drenched with mineral oil to break down the bloat. (I believe you call alfalfa lucerne. People have been referring to Daisy’s tummy troubles as colic, but we called it bloat.) We used an empty wine bottle and about an ounce or two of mineral oil. If you run the neck of the bottle between their cheek and their molars, you can get the oil far enough on their tounge that they have to swallow it. I remember that one grabbed the nose between the nostrils to get the cow’s head high up and their mouth open. It would be nice to find that a less harsh oil would work.

    Anyhow, most times the cows got put in the stanchon barn and drenched with mineral oil, which burst the bubbles. The cows would put their front feet up on the cement divider between their manger and their stanchon so they could burp more easily. I understand that if you have something that you can lay in her pasture that will take her weight (like a railway tie), she would stand up on her own to relieve her minor troubles.

    People are very right to be concerned. I saw a cow die with bloat. The gas bubbles are formed of sticky stuff which they cannot belch up and it crushed her lungs. My understanding is that the alfalfa is dangerous when it is actively growning. I had not heard of bloat with alfalfa hay.

    Sorry for this being so long and for any spelling errors. (spelling is not my forte)

    • Thank you though Leah, I am very strict with the alfalfa, she only gets a flake at a time, no-onne has access to a whole bale, it is stored in the loft and their free feed is very boring grass hay. the idea of the railway tie in her pen is a good one, on occassion I have seen her stand on a brick and peer around a corner.. she is delicate wee thing, thank you for the advice.. i am always grateful.. c

Welcome to the Lounge of Comments

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: