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RIP Molly Moo

I don't have a proper post to write today.   At the moment we are just a bit stunned.  Pete found Molly dead on Monday when he heard her calf bawling.  We don't know what happened to her.  She had starting losing condition due to feeding her calf (we haven't been milking) and we had just put out hay to make sure that everyone was getting enough to eat.   We don't know if there was an underlying condition, or that something else affected her while she was already weak, but she didn't seem deathly ill to me when I chatted to her on Sunday afternoon.  I googled it and there are over 200 causes of sudden death in cattle, so we will probably never know for sure.

Her absence is still sinking in.  I've stopped looking for the cow with horns when I do the herd check.  Her calf is, fortunately for us, about 3 months old, so can be weaned as long as he gets enough hay.  He is wild and there is no way to catch him at the moment without making everyone walk through the yards again, he's with the rest of the herd and seems ok.

 Molly came to our property in 2011 as a six week old calf with her mum Bella.  She grew up to be the best milker, always happy to stand patiently while I put on the milking machine, and she made plenty of milk for us and her calves.  Molly was MY cow, I spent the hours sitting in the yard with her to keep her tame for milking and she would always come to me for a scratch (and I learnt to avoid her horns when she was excited).

I'm actually not as upset as I would have expected, I think a sudden death is easier in some ways because I didn't have to watch her suffer or try to nurse her or decide to euthinise or not, the decision was made and she is gone and we have to get on with things.

Thanks everyone who left lovely messages on my Instagram and Facebook post.  A house cow is very close to a dog in status, very nearly more a pet than livestock, and I thought she would be around for longer than six years.  I really appreciate the kind thoughts.

Here's what I've written about deadstock in the past....  Anytime you have livestock you have deadstock and it sucks, but most days are better than this.  

I'll write another installment of "the story of our house cows" next week.... we still have Bella and the babies (Rosey and Charlotte), so this is not the end!

Me and Molly

Bella with Molly the calf when they first arrived in 2011

Molly and Bella

Molly with her most recent calf

Molly with her second calf

Molly licking my shoe


  1. I'm so sorry to read this about beautiful Molly. Our animals become members of our family and it is horrible when they die. Like you, I am grateful that she didn't suffer, but it doesn't stop the sadness. Sending you my love.

  2. Your stories always remind me of Sally's on Jembella Farm too, Liz. It is a fact of life that you will lose animals but it is also so sad as well as they become so much a part of your daily life. Big hugs.

  3. so sorry for your loss, awful losing a friend no matter how they go
    Molly was a lovely looking cow, loved those rings around her eyes.

  4. So sorry for the lost of Molly. I do still peek in once in a while. I'm just getting to old.
    Granny 🇺🇸

  5. Although we've communicated all there was to say on Insta, dear Liz, I still feel a big lump in my throat and a tear in my eye reading this again. Lovely photos and good memories of a beautiful cow. XX


  6. Im so sorry to hear about Molly, It must have been such an awful shock. I can tell how important your animals are to you from all you write, and how much effort you put into caring for them.


  7. as you mention - there are so many things that can cause death in animals -- but here's just one thought you might like to look in to --- a loss of condition (especially after calving) AND a rather rapid decline (ending in death) may indicate theileria orientalis --- its worth looking into whether or not this is the case as it has some lasting implications for the other animals on your property (or future animals you may introduce to your farm) --- your DPI should have info - but here's a link to a PDF that's simple and easy reading ( -- ps do not take the areas of endemic distribution as gospel.... this bugger turns up in previously non-prone areas and there's even some debate about the known vectors....

    1. Thanks Ronnie, that one is new to me and we certainly have bush ticks here, so I'll look out for it in future. I'm pretty sure that Molly still had appetite (she was first to find the new hay bale and looked like she was enjoying it), but I guess not all symptoms are relevant in every case. Appreciate you sharing the information.

  8. Losing livestock is just gut-wrenching. Dear me - I'm so sorry.

  9. Having other cows to tend, would make it easier adjusting to her sudden absence. It's when you have nothing to continue, as you did every day with her, that the grief becomes more pronounced. Because we miss how they made us feel, and how we structured our days around them. But still, not easy to say goodbye. Hugs.


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