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!