Heartbreak as 100 dairy cattle die within days on Jersey farm

Investigations are under way at a dairy farm in Jersey where more than 100 cows fell ill and died within a four-day period.

The deaths at the Le Boutillier family’s Woodlands Farm near St Helier were all in the unit’s  “A group” of 120 high-yielding cows. Animals began to show signs of illness on Thursday 15 December.

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Officers from the Jersey government, vets, local farmers and staff from the Jersey Dairy co-operative all tried to help over the weekend. But almost all of the high-yielding group died.

Surviving high-yielders are still being treated by vets while cattle in a separate part of the herd have been unaffected.

Veterinary officials have so far focused on a specific batch of feed as a potential cause, and samples have been sent to the UK for analysis. Test results are not expected until the end of this week.

Devastating loss

Jersey’s deputy minister for the environment, Jonathan Renouf, said: “We don’t yet know, for sure, what has caused this devastating loss of so many of this dairy herd.

“But isolating the cause quickly will be incredibly important.”

He confirmed that although officials said the cattle deaths were an isolated incident, as a precaution Jersey Dairy would dispose of more than 33,000 litres of milk collected from the island’s farms last Friday.

“My thoughts are with all those at the farm having to come to terms with what’s happened,” Mr Renouf added. 


Jersey Dairy managing director Eamon Fenlon said the situation was heart-breaking and added his support for the Le Boutillier family.

“Everyone at Jersey Dairy is totally devastated by what has happened at Woodlands Farm and our thoughts are with the family and all their team at this very tragic time,” Mr Fenlon said in a statement.

“Words cannot express the heartache we feel for them, and we cannot begin to understand the shock that they must be feeling.”

He also offered thanks to those who had rallied round to support the farm over the weekend and said it was heartening to see the community spirit.

Mr Fenlon said Jersey Dairy had been working with the Public Health office to ensure there was no risk to consumers, adding that none of the company’s products contained milk from the affected farm.