A Year in Review–Animals: Goats

We began 2009 with no goats.  We had sold 2 dairy goats the previous summer and lost 2 to disease.  We had been through a lot with goats and were not eager to jump into that again.  I knew from my foray into dairying that ran from January-September 2008, that we were no longer interested in a dairy herd. 

However, we all missed the goats.  We loved having them and missed seeing them out in the pasture.  We also missed the great brush control they provide.    We thought we would be interested in one of the miniature breeds, but were not really looking. 

The local zoo, where our daughter does summer camp, has a large farm “petting” herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats.  I knew every year they had plenty of new babies for kids to cuddle so I inquired about where those goats went.  I was put on a waiting list.  Sometime in late August, long after we had forgotten all about it, we got a call.  The last 3 were still available.  After filing an application, we were told we could take all 3 home. 

The first week of September, I put the large dog kennel into the back of the Element and Lily and I went to pick them up.  The transfer went well and they seemed a bit nervous but also excited to be moved into a large pasture with loads and loads of fresh pasture and browse.  Lillian dubbed them all with literary names–Charlie (Willy Wonka), Stella (Stellaluna), and Horton (Dr. Seuss).

All went well for about a month or so until I noticed some signs of anemia in Stella and Charlie.  I blogged the details but many shots, veterinary intervention, and one necropsy later we had lost Charlie to coccidiosis.  The loss was pretty devastating after the rough time we had the previous year with goats.  Of course, Charlie was the most affectionate and we loved him.  Horton and stella have normal blood tests and seem to be doing well.

Stella and Horton seem to be doing fine now.  they have been moved into the barn and have enjoyed exploring some new digs.  After getting shots for 3 different meds, I am slowly winning them back over.  After about a month of shots they would look at me and run.  Horton loves to have his wattles scratched and he seems to trust me most of the time.  Stella, always the most stand-offish, is a much harder sell.  She is warming up slowly. 

Of course, most of the shots were happening at the exact same time that my husband was out of the country.  It was amazing luck that my parents and nephews chose that time to come for a visit.  it got pretty hard to catch 2 goats to administer injections and oral meds.  I could do it in the beginning, but after they learned all my tricks, it was nearly impossible.  I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten it accomplished without their help. 

The sub-zero deep freeze also came while my husband was out of  the country.  I did my best to put up heat lamps and water heaters and my folks helped out.  I am all about doing things for myself, but a one adult farm would be a very tall order.

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