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Betty--Fatal Disease or Hunger Strike?


Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 21 November 2023…

Hey Y’all!


Good afternoon and happy Tuesday from Air2Ground Farms! We got over an inch of rain yesterday and it is cloudy and cool today. It’s going to continue to cool off and drop below freezing overnight for the next few nights. We’re excited to be spending time with Hannah and Matthew, who are home in the United States from their duty station in England. They arrived yesterday afternoon and will be here until Sunday. The pic is us today going out for a brief farm tour, about as much as we could stand in the chilly air. With the exception of Betty, the farm animals are all doing very well. Update on Betty: the vet arrived Friday afternoon and found nothing obviously wrong. She treated her for parasites just in case we’re dealing with a heavy worm load. She treated her with antibiotics in case we’re dealing with an infection we can’t see. She gave her a tube of minerals and energy—shoved down her throat. She didn’t have a fever, her breathing was fine, her heart was fine, her pregnancy was fine. The vet took blood to send off for a couple of tests—more below. Happy and Stella are both doing well and Happy is trying to pull her weight and Betty’s in the milk department and has been producing just over 2 gallons per day. Unfortunately, that’s not enough for us to provide enough milk for all of our milk customers and we’re having to tell them we’re unable to provide milk as Betty has completely dried up and is no longer producing. The other animals are doing very well.


We’re awaiting results on Betty’s blood tests—should be back by the end of the week. We’re testing for Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) and Johne’s Disease. Both of these are really not good. They are both contagious, fatal, and untreatable. BVD is basically what it sounds like. It is a viral infection that causes diarrhea, which becomes bloody and eventually leads to death. Johne’s Disease is an infection that affects primarily the small intestine of ruminants with symptoms including weight loss and diarrhea with a normal appetite. Several weeks after the onset of diarrhea, a soft swelling may occur under the jaw (bottle jaw) due to the loss of blood. Given this info, we’re obviously hoping that they both come back negative. If either test is positive, we have to immediately test Happy and Stella but the likelihood is that they would also be positive. So, worst case scenario, there is a possibility this is the end of our dairy venture and that no ruminant animals can graze that area of the farm for years. Realistically, I’ve done a bit more research into both diseases and Betty isn’t a real fit for either. BVD presents itself with bloody diarrhea and a very high fever. She has neither. Johne’s Disease causes diarrhea and weight loss—both of which she is experiencing—but with normal appetite, which she doesn’t have. She had no appetite. These facts give us hope that she doesn’t have either issue and will get better. In order to get her to eat we offered: sugar water, molasses water, molasses in a bucket, sweet feed, normal GMO-free feed, sweet feed with molasses, normal GMO-free feed with molasses, normal hay, normal hay with molasses, Timothy hay, Timothy hay with molasses, and finally a banana/apple/grape fruit salad—all of which she rejected. Well, not quite, she licked the molasses water, didn’t drink it but licked it. What is missing from our offering? We finally offered grass. Yep, she ate it up. We have a very limited amount of green grass remaining on the farm, basically the reverse swale (berm) behind the house that we keep the animals off of because we don’t want their thousand pound selves walking on it putting holes in it. But, since she wanted some grass, we made a small paddock for the three of them (since she doesn’t want to be alone) and she has been eating for the past two days. She even started having a bite or two of hay. We hope she continues to get better and this was either a parasite issue or unseen infection--or maybe even a picky cow that didn't like the hay we offered and went on a hunger strike.


Local Farm Report for 17-20 November 2023

Harvest:

43 Chicken eggs

31 Duck eggs

10 Gallons of milk


Cheers!

Psycho & Shelley

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Guest
Nov 21, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So exciting having Matthew and Hannah home!! Very sorry about Betty! Praying it is not serious! 🙏

Kim

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We had an awesome time visiting with them! Thank you for your concern about Betty! It didn't work out like we hoped, but we're ok.

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Guest
Nov 21, 2023

Prayers for you all and your sweet Betty. Put her in the Lord's hands and have faith!

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Thank you for your concern. It didn't work out like we hoped but we're ok.

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Auntie Fiat
Auntie Fiat
Nov 21, 2023

Cautiously optimistic for Betty's recovery.


Welcome to Missouri Hannah and Matthew! Here is hoping the six of you have a great visit.


Thanks so much for your sacrifice and service to us all! 💗

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Thanks Auntie Fiat!! They're loving it so far and say thank you!!

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