• Update on the Twins

    Posted on April 12, 2017 by in Animals, Prairie Moon Ranch

    Some would say, “It’s just a goat!”

    But My Cowboy and I both firmly believe that if you own livestock, or animals of any kind, then you have an important responsibility to take care of them the best that you can, no matter what — no matter the weather, no matter the problem, no matter how you’re feeling.

    The animals depend on us to take care of them. You can’t just not show up. You can’t just ignore what they need. You have to pay attention — to how they look, to how they’re acting, to if they’re trying to tell you something.

    We check each and every one of our animals at least twice a day. We do morning and evening chores at set times — because animals can tell time, and they know if you’re late!

    If someone is limping, if someone doesn’t show up to eat or refuses to eat, if someone has a sore spot, a cut, a runny nose, a swollen leg, a missing shoe, if someone is about to go into labor, if someone is having trouble with said labor — all those things need to be noticed.

    And we worry, and we do research, and we try everything we possibly can to make it right again. To keep them comfortable and happy. Happy, comfortable animals perform better, and on a ranch, a lot of the animals have a job.

    (And then there’s Molly, seen here begging for pizza, whose job it is to lay in the floor and emit noxious gas after scavenging outside for things she’s not supposed to eat!)

    I’m in possession of a lot of pets, because I’m too softhearted and I just love them all and get way too attached. My Cowboy calls me Ellie Mae!

    My goats are mostly pets. So losing Pepper was a crushing blow.

    As of Monday, the twins were doing pretty well, but then Camilla decided to stop eating. All day yesterday, she refused to suck a bottle.

    So I took her to the vet, and he gave her a couple shots — one to boost her energy and appetite, and some antibiotics. Goats are very susceptible to stress, and while birth is a big stress on them in and of itself, they lost their mother, and were being forced to take bottles, causing even more stress. Poor little babies!

    I tried so many various concoctions of dairy products. My refrigerator looks like the dairy aisle at the local grocery store! Whole milk, half and half, evaporated milk, goats milk, condensed milk, buttermilk, milk replacer, colostrum, heavy cream. Donk took right to the milk replacer, and has been doing just fine. Camilla wanted none of it. I had to dribble little bits into her mouth every 30 minutes just to get anything down her at all. The vet said I had way more patience than he would — I saw it as not having any other choice than to do whatever it took to save her. Even if it meant staying up all night with them.

    She sat with My Cowboy while he researched online more things to try, and more recipes we could offer her:

    Finally, at 2 o’clock this morning, she decided to drink an entire bottle! I was so relieved, and thought maybe we were headed in the right direction.

    But when I got up at 6:00 to feed her again, she was back to wanting none of it, even the mixture she had just taken a few hours earlier. I tried some other recipes. No luck.

    By 8:00, she was completely refusing to even swallow any of it, so I couldn’t even get the dribbles down her any longer. And she was obviously getting weaker, as one would if no nutrition was being had. I put her on a heat pad under the heat lamp to keep her warm, and left her be for a little bit. Stormy decided to keep an eye on her for me:

    Within a few minutes, she cried out, so I went and got her, wrapped her in a little blanket, and got in my comfy chair with her, and just held her against me to keep her warm and comforted. She quieted right down being held, but she was obviously not doing well, and as we sat there, she simply slipped away, and died in my arms. I have cried myself sick over it. Blamed myself.

    I feel so sorry for Donk, now a complete orphan without even his sister for comfort.

    After I fed him early this afternoon, I took him out to the goat pen, so he could play around and see the other babies and get to know the big goats. He needs to become integrated so that he can live in the pen with them and not get beat up on, and be able to play with the other kids and be a normal happy little goat. I’ll give him some play time with them every day, until they get used to him and start to expect him to be around all the time. When he’s old enough, he can go back to the goat pen to live permanently.

    That’s IF he doesn’t take a turn for the worse from being so stressed from all of the events of his little short life so far. We’re keeping a very close eye on him.

    We buried Camilla with her momma out in the goat pasture, where they can be together forever.

    I’m exhausted and drained from this entire ordeal. I’m ready to get back to quilting, and test out that theory that it’s good therapy!

    In between, I’ll still be fixing bottles for little Donk, and babying all my goats out in the pen.

    Some would say, “It’s just a goat!” I beg to differ. It’s a life, and we have a responsibility.

    I’ll be back soon with more quilting stuff. Thanks for putting up with me through my rough patch!

38 Responsesso far.

  1. I feel your pain. I have had pets all my life, growing up on a farm and nursing all the orphan calves. I was heartbroken when some died. One of my horses, who I raised from a 6 month old filky, was killed by hunters who were told not to go on our land. I was so sad for a really long time. It is a deep grief when you lose them, and they are etched on your heart forever.

  2. KT says:

    I’m so sorry. It sounds like you did everything you could. Hope Donk continues to do well and makes friends with the other goats. He looks like a real cutie! I’ll be keeping you and Donk in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. BJ says:

    Poor little Donk – babies just shouldn’t have to endure so many losses! He’s so lucky he has you and the Cowboy to care for him and try to integrate him into the herd. Best of luck to you all, especially Donk.

  4. sandi says:

    I’m so sorry your sweet girl didn’t make it. You did everything you could. Big hugs,

  5. Wendy says:

    Hugs to you, Shelly. Give handsome little Donk a hug for me too. A little quilting therapy will probably do you good!

  6. Karen F. says:

    I absolutely agree that if you take an animal in, you are making a commitment to care for it and domesticated animals can not care for themselves. I’m very sorry for the loss of your Pepper and now the little one. It sounds like Donk might have a sturdier constitution. I’m rooting for you all.

  7. Sue dennert says:

    I have been reading your blog for over a year and I love animals. they are just like our children and all hold a very special place in our hearts. I am so sorry for the loss of your two fur babies. they are and will always be special. Thoughts and prayers to help with the acking little one as well.

  8. Rose Marie says:

    I don’t blame you at all for crying your eyes out. Humans are supposed to take care of living things. Camilla is out of pain and stress. Now for Donk to make it happily to adult goathood.

  9. Kathy F says:

    I am so sorry for you both. I was raised on a 5,000 acre homestead. The Shakers. I know how hard it is to loose an animal. And if it is a baby it is very hard. We get so attached to our animals that when we loose one it tears at our heart.
    You did all that you humanly possible. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Yes she was just an animal, but it was also loved by you and that makes it a very special goat. I know you will miss her and so will Donk. But he will be okay once he is in the pen area with the others. Take heart time is a friend and it does heal. I know.

  10. Chris says:

    Bless you for loving your goats and for the loving care you give them. Many of us have joined in shedding tears for your loss. Thank you for sharing these difficult moments. Hugs to you all.

  11. Deanna says:

    I am so sorry…I have been through it with horses, cows, cats, dogs and chickens. Even with small tomato plants, in their own way. It doesn’t ever get any easier. Get some rest and be kind to yourself and to each other.

  12. T Johnaon says:

    Adding my love and comfort to you–we lost our old friend the Alpaca who was our Guardian of the Sheep this week-end. He was aloof and would not let us near him, except for eating grain and in the last hours. It is so hard to see them slip away!! And may your surviving Donk live well and prosper!! I miss having a few goats in the Pen of Eight. (we are small in the world of livestock/pets!)

  13. Judy says:

    So sorry about the loss of Pepper and her baby.

  14. Beth says:

    My goodness, you all have been through a lot. Like you say, it isn’t “just a goat!” I don’t even know your sweet goats, but I’m crying as I type this. I’m SO sorry for your loss. It sure sounds like you did ALL you can for Pepper and her babies. Bless you all.

  15. Hope says:

    Oh, Shelly, I am so sorry.

  16. Sandy Null says:

    So sorry to hear of another loss… Hope Donk continues to make progress.
    Bless you and yours!

  17. Melody A. says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of Pepper and Camilla. You did all that was humanly possible to take care of them that is obvious. It is so heartbreaking losing her and now little Camilla but they were loved so much. I think animals know who the wonderful caregivers are and feel blessed to have YOU. do try to get some rest dear. Guilt is fine if it is deserved but that is not the case here. So please don’t blame yourself. You have done your best. Take care and you are in my prayers. From Iowa

  18. Praying for Donk, Cowboy and you, Shelly.

  19. Beth Strand says:

    So very sorry.

  20. Mary says:

    These were such touching stories. Animals which are pets are not like wild animals, pets are family and we grieve for them. It’s natural. They give us so much love and attention that they deserve the tears. Keep on going.

  21. Susie Q says:

    You have had a rough week. I too feel your pain. I know it was extra painful to write it out. You have a plan for Donk and it is a good one. Carry On

  22. Anne says:

    I have tears here just knowing about what has happened to Pepper and Camilla and what you must be going through. People that don’t have pets never seem to have any empathy regarding the stress and upset such things cause. I do hope Donk makes it and integrates well with the rest of the group. I’m sure you will do your very best to make that happen. Thinking of you.xx

  23. Angela Short says:

    Y’all have gave it your all plus some. God must have big plans for Donk!! You’re in my thoughts and prayers!

  24. randy says:

    oooh ohhhh ohhh I am SO SO SORRY. Oh my it is so hard to lose such a small and prefect thing.

  25. Meloney says:

    Shelly, I feel you pain and know you did all you could do. It is so sad. Hugs for all of you.

  26. Paula says:

    So sorry to hear this, Shelly. I do hope Donk is getting stronger.

  27. I’m so very sorry for all of you…words are not enough. Please don’t blame yourself, you did all you could do. {Hugs}

  28. Barb says:

    Oh, Shelly, I’m sorry. Sweet little Camilla. I’m glad you were able to hold her and love on her to the end. That’s what she needed most.

    Thanks for sharing your stories during this sad time. It’s as if we are there with you on the farm. Maybe you’ll take pictures of Donk on his playdate with the others? I’m curious how Chip and Donk will get along. Hopefully Chip will take to Donk like he did with Pepper. Maybe you can train Donk to ride on Chip’s back–now wouldn’t that be a sight?

    I feel two new quilts in the making. One queen-sized for Pepper and a smaller, coordinating baby-quilt size for Camilla. Maybe that would help you work through your grief and help you smile again.

    Hugs and prayers to you, Scott, and the rest of the farm family!

  29. Jackie Gross says:

    I am so sorry for you and for Donk. You and my sister have a lot in common. They have a ranch and she has taken in a baby deer who lost it’s mother a few times. Keep up the loving care.

  30. Marilyn Holder says:

    I know that is life and is meant to be but it does not lessen the pain of losing a sweet baby goat. Just know it is not your fault, it is nature taking care of things beyond our control. Nature knows much more than we humans and we must accept that lesson. Living with many animals, you have witnessed much life and death. It does not get easier; you learn to move on. After all, another sweet baby goat needs your attention. We all feel your pain.

  31. Kathi Benchley says:

    So sorry to hear about your goats. My husband is a farmer (had dairy cattle for many years, now we have beef cattle), so I know what you mean when you can’t neglect them. They are very dependent on us humans.

  32. Sherry V. says:

    My sympathies for both your recent losses.

    Animals are like children, that was the way I was brought up, that was the way I explained things when I managed an adoption center for a local rescue, that is the way I live my life.

    My dogs get better, and more frequent, medical treatment than either my husband or I do because that is the way it is in our house.

    I completely understand. . . and understand your sorrow, albeit it with dogs and not goats.

    Be kind to yourself.

  33. Linda says:

    Pets give us unconditional love. The least we can do is be the best caretakers possibly for them. They are never just a goat, dog, cat, etc. They are so honest with there feelings.

    Hugs

  34. Becky C says:

    You are a very caring and compassionate person. You put your whole heart in to everything you do. You have a gift for writing. It’s an honor to know you.

  35. Darlene says:

    My heart is aching for you going through such a difficult time. Know in your heart you did your very best. I sat crying for Pepper and now her babe thank you for sharing such a part of your life, I to am an avid animal lover know the loss. Hugs and prayers for you and your cowboy

  36. janequiltsslowly says:

    My heart goes out to you and your cowboy. You are a great example of caring owners. So sorry for the loss of Pepper & Camilla. Hoping little Donk stays healthy and can join the herd with no problems.

    Doing what you love should be a great help.

  37. pam hansen says:

    So happy these precious creatures were loved and cared for so tenderly during their struggles. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you and those you love.

  38. Sandra Famuliner says:

    Sorry this has happened at your farm and in your life.

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