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.)