Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday! Thursday! One Less Goat in the Herdday!


So, today we had our first goat fatality.

I say "first" because I'm realistic. These things happen.

Remember the little comment in yesterday's post about the goat in the utility tub and the tapeworm? Yes, well, that's the one.

It was one of the twin goats that I brought home from Massachusets back in ... I think July.

You know, I never had a good feeling about this goat. She just never seemed to keep up with her sibling and waivered between perky and not-so-perky healthwise. But she'd throw in just enough perk to let you think "Well, I guess she'll do fine."

Ah, she was tricky that way.

So, to make a long story short and mercifully less disgusting, I found some sort of worms in her poop about three weeks ago.

Oh... you're reminding me that I said "Less disgusting"? Right. Well, believe me, that was the pleasant version.

Anyway, I followed the worming routine and she went into one of her perky phases. Now it is generally recommended to do a follow up in about 21 days because that will then take care of eggs left behind and whatnot. So this time I decided to use an herbal wormer, you know, less harsh and good for you ... er, good for goats and all that.

This herbal wormer has a lot of garlic in it. (Makes a great seasoning for spaghetti sauce too!) These wormers act as a bit of a laxative to help flush the system.

Remember, this is pleasant.

So things get a bit more ... aqueous, if you will.

Then, on Monday, I noticed a change in the ...uh, flotsam. It looked like pieces of what could be a tapeworm.

Good. This is good. Because it's coming out. And the goat is still eating and is still perky.

Everybody is happy.

Until ...

this morning.

The goat had become decidedly less perky.

She was getting lethargic and no longer showed interest in eating. Not a good sign. I had to leave for work first so it was left up to my hubby to go get Gatorade and try to get some into her. Which he did with some success. Then he got her set up in a nice little area of her own where she could rest and not be bothered by the other goats. After that he had to leave for work.

When I got home she was even more lethargic and things did not look good. I put a call into the vet's answering service and tried more Gatorade. No interest.

I really knew in my heart that she was not going to make it. So I just kind of sat there with her until she died.

Then the vet called.

Funny how things happen like that.

I told her what happened and she said everything points to tapeworm. And! Here's the kicker. The wormer we initially treated her with will kill just about any internal parasite except tapeworms. That's a fine how do you do.

So she told me a different wormer to get and recommended treating all the other goats just as a precaution.

The one thing I have learned in dealing with goats is that internal parasites are the bane of every goat farmer. There are so many different kinds. And! You just can't worm willy nilly because they build up a tolerance to the medicine and it won't work any more. And! The wormer that says kills internal parasites does not, in fact, kill all internal parasites. And it's a cattle wormer anyway but still used on goats but not technically approved for it in the US and blah, blah, blah enough with the freaking worms already!

The vet also did tell me that we were on the right track with what we were doing but, with the first wormer not even making a dent, it probably just got too bad by the time she was given the herbal wormer. And as long as the goat was active and eating, it would be hard to tell that anything was wrong. That was encouraging - at least our instincts were heading us in the right direction.


I called hubby at work to give him the news that "Guess what? You get to bury a goat in the morning."

So, while it sucks and all that, I have to say that I'm not emotionally devastated or anything. I mean I liked her and all, but having the nagging suspicion that she was a little on the frail side to begin with, I didn't really get too attached to her. But it still sucks.

And along with the we-really-didn't-want-her-to-die-because-we-liked-her kind of sucking, there is the whole part that it also represents a lost investment as well. Not just what we paid for her (she actually was a cheap goat - the yellow CLEARANCE sticker should have served as a warning), but the lost income from fiber and off-spring. While it completely lacks emotion, that part of it sucks as well - especially when you are trying to get a fledgling farm up and running. Not many people get that part of it.

That's the news from the Farmfront.

On the bright side, we did manage to get the leaking roof patched and Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic is back on track. So that's good news.


Now, I think I am actually supposed to post something specific toady. Oh yes - question from my sister. Let me check on that.

Ok, here we go.

Question: If you had to change places with each of your kids for a day, what do you think would be the most fun and most challenging parts of being them?

Hoo boy. This is a tough one. You know, even though I don't feel old (usually) or think of myself as old, it really is hard to remember what it was like at that time of life. Or, picture myself at that time of life in today's world.

Both sonnyboy and daughterchild are kind of on the cusp of a new part of life. Sonnyboy will be finished with his college program in one more year and on the brink of the brave new world. And daughterchild is in her last year of high shcool and currently in the process of trying to choose the next phase of her education.

What exciting - and yet scary - places to be in life. I think that would be the hardest part for me - trying to choose my path. Because, in case you haven't figured it out, I'm a bit of a meanderer. For me, to try to look into the future and think "This is where I am definitely headed" is not easy. It never has been.

I completely admire those people who, in high school, knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives and planned accordingly. Imagine having everything mapped out - knowing exactly where you are headed and what you need to do to get there. How ... organized!

But I also feel a bit sorry for them. I'm not sure why. I guess I have this romantic notion of life as being a perpetual reel of "On the Road" with Charles Kuralt. That is probably a job I could do and love. I am such a sucker for the wonderful thing thats waits just around the next bend. Probably to a fault.

So those points in life where I have to make a "big decision" that will affect things for the foreseeable future always rankle me a bit. And it's not a matter of change, it's a matter of choice. I'm more of a jumper-in type than a let's-sit-down-and-analyze-the-crap-out-of-this-so-we-are-sure-we-are-making-the-right-decision type.

College? Sure! Which one? GAAAAHHHHHH!

One of the other hard things, I think, would be not wanting to bring friends over to our freakishly cold house. That sucks because I'm an adult and I still don't want to bring people into my freakishly cold house. But I have the benefit of being married to my best friend so, he's stuck here with me.

And this is why Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic is so important - so my kids can inch a bit closer to a normal social life. It's not about the warm, baby, it's about the par-tay!

Ok, that's a wrap for today.

Oh, one more item regarding the goat.

We are planning a private service for family only. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made to Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic, a charity near and dear to Lilly's heart. No flowers please. Unless it's bales of timothy or alfalfa.

This Post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.


Jozet at Halushki said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry about your goat!

(Although, thank you for sparing me the details of the tapeworm.)

I must say, and I hope you pardon my bluntness, but that owl was an omen and harbinger of fauna doom. Best pass it along.

Professor J said...

I am sorry about the goat.

I like reading about your fledgling farm--very Barbara Kingsolver.

Pocklock said...

So sorry for your loss. Poor goat!

Blog Antagonist said...

Aw, poor little goat. I would not do well as a farmer because I would be a wreck. My cousins lived on a farm growing up and were very blase about animal life, death and procreation.

D.B. Echo said...

Have you read Parasite Rex? Fascinating and detailed stuff. Nothing specifically about goats, I think, but you learn to think of wild animals (and animals in general, including humans) as just clever mechanisms for transporting parasites through the stages of their life cycles.

steph said...

i am so with you about the meandering...i can never be still.

and i like that!

anne said...

Thank you all for the goat sympathies. It was sad but, ever onward.

sis - I think you are right about the owl. I knew it was a Monkey's Paw.

Prof. - Wow! Barbara Kingsolver! I am very flattered. She's, you know, really good. Well, something to certainly aspire to.

ba - You know, I've read quite a few of your posts and I actually think you would do quite well on a farm. I think you can appreciate all the little things that make up the whole picture.

d.b. - I have not read Parasite Rex but perhaps this is something I should look into. You know, I sometimes think the parasites are waaaay more advanced than we are. I mean, really, a nice simple life at someone else's expense. They've got the system down!

steph - Ah! A fellow wanderer. Here's to many odd journeys!