Saturday, May 9, 2015

Confessions of a Goodwife........The Triple Teat Tale......

So if you've read my blog for long, you know I'm a compulsive confessor.  I just feel as if I don't give ALL the information that I'm somehow being less than honest and I can't stand that feeling.  So in light of's time for another episode of.....

Confessions of a Goodwife...duhn duhn dunnnnnn!!
Remember when I wanted a fool proof way to tell if Tulip was pregnant?

Well what I didn't tell you was.....Ollie has an extra teat!

Whew!  It feels good to get that off my chest, for real!

The first thing I did when I went to look at him, was stand him up and check his teats.  This isn't an uncommon problem in goats, but is quite undesirable in dairy goats. Several years ago, I went to buy a registered Kinder doeling from a really prominent Kinder breeder in IL.  The doeling that I fell in love with, when we checked her over, had an extra teat, so I didn't buy her.   I hesitated for just a bit about buying him, but I really wanted to know if Tulip was bred, and he was so cute that I went ahead.

I needed a buck to "test" Tulip and wasn't planning to keep the kids anyway, so wasn't too worried about it at the time.  Ollie was a healthy buck and sweet and friendly which was my main concern so home with us he came!

Then once I was 95% sure Tulip was bred, the doubts began to creep in.  I began to worry myself silly over that extra teat.  Worry about passing it on, even though i wasn't planing to keep any kids out of him.  Worry over telling people about the extra teat, and worry about Jennifer getting a doeling from Star, out of a buck with extra teats!  So...much....worry!

I mentioned selling him to The Man and The Youngun on several occasions, but they were always thinking, but he's so sweet, and we know he's healthy and he's so CUTE!  All the while in the back of my head, I knew selling him was the right thing for me to do, with full disclosure of course.  If I wasn't afraid he was too old to wether, I'd do that as well and then sell him!

Then, God took the decision out of my hands as He so often does when I dither....

Star got sick, and I felt she wasn't going to be in any shape to be bred this fall.  Tulip is retired, and I don't breed young does until they are around 18 months old.  That means I will be feeding Ollie for 2 years and not using him for ANYTHING.  That just doesn't make good homestead sense.

So Ollie went to his new home Thursday night.  A lovely couple who has around 30 does and 2 bucks was looking for another blue eyed buck to add to their herd.  They don't milk and don't even have purebred goats, they just love goats and breed them for pets and brush eating.  I'm very happy he went to a good home and also very thankful for the time he was here.

I've got until late fall/early winter of 2016 before I have to start thinking about finding a buck for Merida, Erika, and Star.  It's a relief to not have to worry about Ollie getting out and breeding Tulip, and I'm thankful Star will have this time to recover from her illness.  I want her in the best shape possible before she is bred again!

Until next time............

God Bless,

Friday, May 1, 2015

Into the Woods and Out Again - A Sick Goat Tale....

Usually when the kids get to around 3-4 weeks old, I lock them up together at night and then milk the girls in the morning.  Then everybody gets turned back together until evening and the process is repeated.  

I had already begun milking Tulip morning and evening, simply because Erika couldn't use all of her milk, and I wanted to keep her production up.  Weekend before last I started locking the kids up and began milking the girls......well that was my intention anyway.

Star had other plans.

I had been worried about Star for a while now.  She just seemed off.  I checked her eyelids, and spent countless hours watching her.  She was eating, pooping, loved going down to browse, but she just seemed off to me.  She had no interest in grain whatsoever, and I hadn't seen her chewing her cud much.  She was still eating mineral, still eating baking soda, loved it when I brought  her a banana or an apple core, but she just didn't seem like herself to me.

Friday night (5/17) I locked them up and went down that Saturday morning to milk.  I always milk Tulip first because she's boss goat.  She hops right up on the stand and I can milk her out in less than 3 minutes.

 Then it was Star's turn....and she refused to get on the stand.  Flat refused, nope, not going to do it and you can't make me.....

Ha! Well I did make her, but it wasn't easy for either of us.  Once I got her on the stand, she stood quietly like she always has, and I began to milk her, but she wouldn't let down.

You may not know this, but a goat has to "let down" their milk or you just aren't going to get any!  Tulip usually takes about 60-80 squirts before she lets down really well, and you can feel it immediately when she does, her teats just fill up full and then you can milk her out whippety quick!

Star wouldn't let down.  She had been locked apart from her kids all night, and was full as could be and I got less than 1/2 cup of milk from her.  I tried again Sunday morning, and the same thing, I had to wrassle her up on the stand and she wouldn't let down, and she wouldn't eat her grain.

She's never not been interested in grain, and she's never, ever given me trouble about getting on the milk stand.  This was all new behavior for her which is why I was so concerned.

I started her on probiotics and kept watching her, checking her eyelids and general condition.

Wednesday I took Erika and Bear back to the vet as they had a bit of horn growth and I wanted to get them redone.  As I went down to the pasture to collect the kids, Star was kind enough to poop so I scooped it up in a dixie cup, put it in a sandwich baggie and took it with me to have the vet do a fecal.


Actually he said it by the real name of  Haemonchus contortus and I didn't even know what it was until I got home and looked it up.  I did know what Barber Pole was though!

Yuck, and scary so I was faced with a now what?  I've never dealt with it before but I got on the internet machine and started doing tons of research, which can make you feel better or just scare you even more.  The vet recommended I deworm everybody, but I chose to check eyelids and evaluate condition before doing that.  I don't want to treat an issue that isn't there.  Tulip is as healthy as an ox as are the kids.

I didn't think Star was at deaths door or anything, but from what I read, they can go downhill quickly with this.  The vet gave me Panacur for her, and I gave her that and also gave her Morantel Tartrate.  Yes I combo wormed her.  I didn't want to mess around with this.  I didn't want to lose my Star!  I also started her on vitamin B shots as well as continuing the probiotics.

By Thursday evening, she had perked up a little bit, and when The Youngun went out to bend trees over for the kidlets, Star was more than ready to eat some leaves.....which I was excited about, until a couple hours later when she bloated!!

Yup, I went to check on her and she was laying in the barn, moaning like she was in labor again, and her tummy was as tight as a tick.  Now bloat is something that can kill a goat quickly as well, so I was afraid I was going to lose her from that.  I grabbed her around her front end and sat her up on her hindquarters to get her to "burp" and then massaged her rumen.  I went and did that several times throughout the evening, and her stomach began to loosen up.  I know there are several remedies for bloat, including drenching with a weak dish-soap solution, but I was so afraid to cause her any more distress that I finally went to bed hoping and praying for the best.

I really thought she might be gone when I went out Friday morning to do chores, but she was laying in there cuddled up with Bear, (who was feeling a little under the weather due to being a wether, he he, see what I did there), and she got up with a little bit of prodding from me.

By Saturday morning when I went out to milk Tulip, Star was waiting at the gate to her barn, looking at me with bright and shining eyes, ready to be let out!  She was wagging her tail as she browsed, and her poop is finally totally normal and in a nice quantity.  She is painfully thin to my eyes, and I'm thankful she was in such good flesh to begin with, or I can't imagine how thin she'd be.

I continued giving her probiotics daily, and she got the vitamin B shot every for about 5 days, when she felt good enough that I couldn't shoot her by myself, which I thought was an excellent sign.  She is also talking more again and just generally looks like her old self, except for the weight loss, however she still isn't interested in grain.  The only grain she will eat is sunflower seeds or dry beet pulp.  She wants nothing to do with anything else, including alfalfa pellets, although that seems to be changing as the days go on.

Eating sunflower seeds out of my shirt...
I've ordered some copper bolus and will give her that, as my research has shown me that copper oxide wire particles are helpful and effective in controlling barber pole worm.

This is the first time I've had to deal with a sick goat, other than the registered Kinder buck Luke  getting coccidiosis and being wormy at the same time, and I don't like it much!  It's pretty scary, and not fun, but such is all part of owning livestock.  They do get sick and sometimes they die and it's all just part of the circle of life.  I'm thankful that I have the opportunities to spend a lot of time with my girls and that way I can tell when something isn't right with them.  Star never got bottle jaw, never got overly pale membranes (a little pale, but not drastic) never really had any symptoms other than being "off" and having a bit of a rough hair coat which could have been from the time of year.  I just knew she didn't feel good and I'm glad shes feeling better!

I'll continue to monitor her condition and hope that after Bear and Fancy are weaned she will begin to put weight back on.

I'm very thankful she seems to be on the road to recovery at this time!

Till next time...

God Bless,