Island Farm holds birthday party for resident cow Roxie

Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Island Farm staff welcomed guests to their grounds on Thursday morning, August 17 to wish their resident cow, Roxanna (Roxie), a happy 15th birthday. Roxie has been at Island Farm since she was just a year old, and is greatly cherished by staff and visitors alike.

Michelle Clower, the farm’s site manager, shared that Roxie is a Jersey-Guernsey cross breed dairy cow. Prior to its opening in 2010, Island Farm sought to find animals that would bring the story of the Etheridge family farm to life, and help their guests better understand what life was like during the 19th century.

“We know from census records that in 1860, the family owned two dairy cows, and two work oxen,” Clower explained. “Our board members heard from a friend about a farmer who lived in Nashville, North Carolina, who was looking to find a home for an almost one-year-old Jersey-Guernsey cross. Because Guernsey cows are considered a heritage breed and were brought to North America in the 1830s, Roxie was a perfect fit!”

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Roxie made her way to Island Farm in June of 2009 and has “captured the hearts of visitors ever since.” Although Roxie is a dairy cow, she does not produce milk, as she has never been bred. Instead, she greets guests, grazes within her pasture, socializes with the farm’s two ponies and showcases history by her breed and the Etheridge storyline.

Clower said Roxie weighs most likely over 1,000 lbs. The farm has held a celebration for her birthday the past three years, and this year was extra special. Newspaper hats were provided for party guests, along with some timothy hay that everyone was welcomed to feed to Roxie. After the crowd sang “Happy Birthday,” Roxie enjoyed her handmade cake, made from oats and molasses, finished off with apples on top.

For those wishing to visit Roxie and her farm animal companions, Island Farm is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, March through December.