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All but one cow hurt in Framingham barn collapse improving, owner says

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  February 20, 2014 12:55 PM

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The owner of Framingham's Eastleigh Farm said three of the cows injured in Wednesday's barn roof collapse are improving, but that one may not survive.

Doug Stephan, owner of the Edmands Road farm, said that of the eight cows rescued Wednesday, four are already back to work as dairy cows. Three that were hurt are showing signs of getting better, he said, but one is on the fence.

"I'm concerned if she'll make it or not," Stephan said Thursday afternoon. "She’ll need another 24 hours. She's battered and bruised, and visibly in pain, so she needs to be more closely monitored."

The barn roof collapsed from the weight of snow between 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, which was when farm employees found the wreck, said Framingham animal control director Katherine MacKenzie. Two cows were found dead amid the rubble.

The four cows that were able to walk out of the barn's ruins Wednesday "are up and were milked today -- they had scratches, cuts and bruises but they're OK," Stephan said.

He said the oldest cow of the group, Diamond -- who was the last cow to be rescued -- "seems to be responding quite well for the older cow that she is."

The other four cows needed to be machine-lifted and pulled to another barn's safety.

"There are three or four others that are showing steady improvement," Stephan said. "They're not out of the woods yet, but they're showing improvement."

Yesterday, the cows showed signs of hypothermia and were treated with anti-inflammatories, sutures and warm IV fluids, according to MacKenzie.

Stephan said Eastleigh employees were tending to the injured cattle, and that he would call bovine veterinarians from Tufts' Woodstock, Conn., location if needed.

Stephan said that by Thursday morning, thousands of people had reached out to him, asking if they could help. The farm, which has seen hard times with the recession, now has a donation link on its official website.

"We're addressing the immediate problem Eastleigh has," he said. "Everyone is calling and asking to donate something to keep the farm alive."

Eastleigh is home to about 60 milking cows, Stephan said, but the farm oversees about 250 cows total between the Framingham location and an extension located in Brookfield.

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