• Pepper

    Posted on April 10, 2017 by in Animals, Prairie Moon Ranch

    Two years ago, on April 11, 2015, I went to a goat sale to buy a friend for my goat, Jasper, because, as it is said: “An only goat is a lonely goat”, and I didn’t want Jasper to be lonely. Would you want to disappoint this sweet face?

    I came home with two friends for him! Blossom and Pepper:

    And later, we added a third friend, Ginger.

    And all my girls were friends, and Jasper was no longer lonely.

    I knew that Blossom and Ginger would probably be bred and have babies, but I wasn’t sure about Pepper, and I didn’t care. I wanted her as a pet.

    Isn’t she just so cute?

    She’s part pygmy, and I fell in love with her size and her coloring and her hair that is so different from the other goat’s coats. The day we brought her home, she met Chip . . . and fell in love with him:

    They talked over the fence nearly every day, and the one time Pepper escaped from the pen, where did she go? She ran straight to where Chip was! She went to find him.

    The girl has attitude. Always a dainty lady, she would turn up her nose at snacks, but one time last summer, I shucked corn, and even she couldn’t resist — she unashamedly treated herself to some corn shucks.

    Never one to beg for pets, she always parked herself within distance where she could get them anyway, and she knew I’d hand them out. She loved having her back scratched during suppertime.

    In October of 2015, Pepper gave birth to a stillborn baby, and never got pregnant again. We simply assumed that the episode had rendered her barren, and we were good with that. We didn’t want her to have to go through that again.

    Last fall, my sweet boy Jasper passed away, and in order to get the other nannies bred, we rented Billy for a few weeks:

    Billy loved Pepper, and he hounded her — just doin’ his job — and Pepper ended up pregnant.

    By February, it was evident that she would most likely be having twins:

    And after her previous incident, I wondered if it would be troublesome for her, so we watched her really closely. As of April 1, all our other nannies had their babies, and Pepper was the last holdout. On Saturday, the 8th, she decided it was her turn, and she went into labor.

    I was right — it was a long and very difficult and traumatic event for Pepper, but she delivered twins with our help. However, it left her in such an exhausted and weakened state, she couldn’t take care of the babies.

    As time passed, she showed less and less interest in them. We gave her medication to help boost her recovery, and I checked on her about every 30 minutes, and was encouraged to see her out walking around and getting a drink, and laying in the sunshine with the others. But when I went out just before 6:00 last night, she had taken a bad turn and given up. I sat with her, petting her and talking to her, as she passed away, and I promised her I’d take good care of her babies for her. We buried her at the spot where she’s standing here:

    Chip was standing by as we buried her, his little girlfriend gone forever.

    And two teeny tiny motherless kids left behind:

    We put them in the bathtub while we drove into town for bottles, colostrum, and milk replacer, and then My Cowboy made them a temporary pen in our empty living room, which is empty because we’re gutting it to remodel, so it’s working out fine!

    As distraught as I was over losing Pepper, I was just as distraught over trying to get enough colostrum into the babies before it was too late for it to do any good. It’s so difficult to get babies started on a bottle because it’s not like mom’s teat, doesn’t taste like mom’s milk, isn’t in the same position/place as mom. But working together, My Cowboy and I managed to get enough in them to meet the goal of what they should have within the first 24 hours, and then I decided to let them get good and hungry before trying again.

    They slept all night without making a sound, and after nine hours, I tried bottles again, and they finally started sucking on their own — what a relief!

    After this morning’s bottle, they had warm, full bellies, and they curled up together and took a nap. Since then, they’ve each had another bottle, and they’ve been exploring their room and getting their legs under them. I think I’m gonna have my hands full!

    I’m just so thankful they’re twins, so they have each other for comfort, since losing their momma has been enough of a blow for the little tykes.

    I think the boy looks more like a baby miniature donkey than a baby goat, so I’ve named him Donk, and his sister is named Camilla. Camilla takes little tiny shuffling steps like Pepper always did, and she sleeps with her head all curled back on top of her body, just like her mother. Donk has Pepper’s white patch of hair on his forehead, and they both have her ears. Sweet little memories they’ll both carry on of my dear little Pepper . . . RIP Sweetie Pie.

    (And lest you think I’m completely heartless and didn’t do all I could for her, I was in contact with our vet during all this, and when Pepper took her last turn for the worst, it happened so quickly that the vet would not even have had time to put his boots on, let alone drive the 30 minutes out to our farm, only to find that there was nothing else he could have done for her anyway.)

22 Responsesso far.

  1. randy says:

    we had goats. We know. And I am sorry for your loss.

  2. sandi says:

    Thank you for sharing this sweet story. Peppers babies are precious! I’m so sorry you lost Jasper and then Pepper. Hugs,

  3. Barb says:

    Oh Shelly,

    I’m so sorry Pepper’s gone. She was a good companion and a real sweetie. She left you two beautiful little ones to carry on. I hope Chip bonds to them like he did Pepper. I’m sure he’s sad, too.

  4. Angela Short says:

    I am so sorry for your loss but so happy about the twins! Goats are really cool. My family raised them quite a while. Never a dull moment. I’m sure you have so much fun with them!!

  5. So sad. Hope Pepper is kicking up her heel in that big farm in the sky.

  6. Marilyn Holder says:

    Thanks for sharing your goat experience. We have never had goats and don’t know anything about them but your story brought tears to my eyes……the twins look so small and cute! Good luck with the twins….maybe your mothering with help take their mother’s place.

  7. Wendy says:

    Reading this just makes me so sad. I’m so sorry for you and those littles. And poor Chip. Hugs to you.

  8. Hope says:

    So sorry you lost your sweet Pepper! That’s so hard. But enjoy those two little cuties. At least they have each other, and you. Miss you!

  9. Kathy F says:

    It is hard to loose any pet. She was a beautiful goat. She gave you some very pretty babies. And her memory will live on with them. They are adorable.

  10. Carole S says:

    My heart is so sad about your sweet Pepper. I have no doubt at all that you did everything you could. It’s apparent you’ll love those twins just as much as you did her

  11. Kari says:

    You did such a great job of describing Pepper that I felt like I knew her and I think it reflects on how much she meant to you…sorry to hear she had such a rough labour that ended her life….what a blessing that she left you with two little bundles of fun and memories of her. Thanks for sharing,
    Kari

  12. And here I sit in tears about a li’l goat I never met… you are such a good good person… just keep us updated on the twins!

  13. Sandy Null says:

    So sorry for your loss…

  14. Cindy says:

    So sorry to hear about Pepper. I’ve been crying myself since last night. I’m glad you have her babies though and that they are doing well. They are just so adorable. And, if anyone thinks that y’all didn’t do everything possible for Pepper, than they don’t know you!!!!

  15. Rose Marie says:

    Such sweet hearts you and Cowboy have. Donk and Camilla will be such loved and loving pets.

  16. kate says:

    Thanks for sharing your story of Pepper. I will add Donk and Camilla to my prayer list. They may not be sparrows but they are God’s creatures.

  17. KT says:

    So sorry to hear about Pepper, but glad Donk and Camilla are doing well and that Pepper lives on in them.

  18. Beth says:

    Pepper sounds like she was quite a girl! I’m sorry for your loss. The twins are adorable and will do their mamma proud. You’ll think of Pepper every time you see those sweet babies.

  19. Marlene Clausen says:

    So very sorry for your loss of your precious Pepper. Our pets own a special part of our hearts; they are never replaced and forever loved.

  20. Anne says:

    I know you did your best for Pepper, and you will always have such wonderful memories of your times together – and she was so lucky to have had a wonderful life with the two of you and of course her wonderful goat friends. What goat could have asked or more.

  21. What a sweet tribute to your dear Pepper and her darling babies. I’m so glad they are taking the bottle! That’s one of the biggest hurdles. What an ordeal for all of you, I know you did everything humanly possible. Thank you for sharing your story.

  22. Sandra Famuliner says:

    Sorry for your loss.

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