A Group Effort

Our vet was up at the farm over the weekend and made an alarming observation on Annabelle the cow’s body condition.

To quote the doctor ,”This cow is MORBIDLY OBESE.” 


She was really surprised at how much heavier Annabelle had gotten since she last observed her when the animals were vaccinated in the Fall. We are obviously upset by this report and are putting an action plan in place to help get Annabelle back to good health.

While we’d  noticed she filled out since coming to the farm a couple of years ago, we were naively unaware at just how fat she had gotten.  Since Annabelle was only 18 months old when we got her, we assumed her expanding girth was a normal part of maturing from a calf into a young adolescent cow.

Were we wrong!

As our vet explained, a normal, healthy-sized cow should have a clearly defined ridge along the top of their back. Annabelle’s back, as she pointed out, is as wide and as flat as a kitchen table. Ironically, as she demonstrated this to us, we noticed scraps of vegetables scattered on top of Annabelle’s back which likely landed there after a visitor flung them over the fence to the animals.  And, we weren’t the only ones to have noticed these scraps of food.  “Big” the goat came right along as the vet was lecturing us, stood up on his hind legs and proceeded to gobble up the vegetables right off of Annabelle’s back as if she were, well, a kitchen table!

In all seriousness, we need to address this situation.  Just as with humans, obesity can cause major health complications and a shorter lifespan. Annabelle is only 3 years old. We want her to have a long and healthy life here at the Lewis Oliver Farm.

The fact that Annabelle uses her size and strength to push the other animals out of the way to get to the food and since everyone who visits the farm always wants to feed “the cow”, we have a challenge ahead of us.

Since this is a community farm where visitors are allowed to feed most of the animals we need everyone’s help and cooperation in getting Annabelle back to good health.  In the process, we will also be improving the diets and health of all the other animals.

Starting today, under the advice of our vet,  we will:

  • No longer sell carrots on the farmstand. They are too high in sugar to fed to the animals in unlimited amounts. Instead,  we will replace the carrots with zero calorie treats such as celery and iceberg lettuce.
  • Reinforce our “No Bread and No Fruit” policy by placing better, more permanent  signage around the farm and pasture. Bread and fruit are very bad for the animals, bread especially so. Fruit is safe as an occasional treat but given our situation, there is absolutely no way for us to allow the general public to feed the animals such treats and monitor how much is being given to the animals. Therefore, we will be asking visitors to adhere to the “No Bread. No Fruit” rule.

In addition to adhering to the more strictly enforced feeding rules, we ask that you help spread the word. Be Annabelle’s ambassador of good health! When you’re at the farm next, look around. If you see someone slipping the animals bread, fruit or anything other than zero calorie treats, please inform them of Annabelle’s situation and let them know about our feeding rules..(which again, will really benefit all of the animals). In the case of Annabelle, her  health really depends on it!

Thank you for caring!