Monday, June 30, 2008

Mastitis, Enemas, and General Goat Craziness!

I can finally write about my goats now that we're getting back to a less frantic pace. The weekend I was gone to NCF my 2 mama goats had their babies, turns out I had miscalculated their due dates. Although "the book" assured me that goat births are 95% uncomplicated, I was not sufficiently prepared for post-natal complications. The babies were 3 days old by the time I got home, and I came back to my first time mom, Lisa, rejecting both of her twins and getting a mild mastitis and serious engorgement as a result. We lost one of the twins trying to bottle-feed her that night and the second one is still on the skinny side. I have to put Lisa in the stanchon every morning to let the baby nurse, then after that they seem fine.

My 2nd time mom, Champagne was not cleaning her babies bums the way a good mother should and both her twins were completely bunged up. I thought I was going to loose one cause it was so sad and sick, it's little bum was oozing pus and other disgusting yellow stuff for days but it seems to have pulled through. Both babies got soapy enemas with tea tree as soon as I could get their little bum holes cleared (extremely nasty job) and now they are jumping around and playing like crazy. Don't you love their airplane ears? So precious!

Mr. Billy Bob, the father of these young creatures, has been moved to the neighbours' dog run. I've had endless problems with him trashing fences and eating my other neighbours flowers so we have finally resorted to tieing him up. Not something I like to do to any of my animals, but really, enough is enough. What I need is a 6ft high wooden fenced pen where I can feed him hay year round. I hate to feed hay in the summer, especially since I have more pasture that my animals can graze, but the alternatives for him are the auction or the bbq. Ugh, I've invested in him and it was such a huge pain to find a dairy breed billy at a price we could afford on our small scale farm. We wanted a dairy breed so we could get some more good milkers, but as it turns out, the three kids are all boys! So, I still need billy and I really don't want to have to build ANOTHER pen, and where would I put it anyway? Descisions like this can be so hard but if I meditate on it long enough, the right solution will come to me.

So in the next two days my job is to dehorn the babies with caustic acid and perform the small surgery of taking their nuts out. Mmmmmh mini prairie oysters anyone?

Truth be told, I've been too hard on myself for missing the births of my goats. Here I am training to become a birth attendant doula, and when my own animals needed me, I wasn't available. There were things I could have done to encourage bonding for the mom who rejected her kids, and helping the moms clean the babies off would have prevented alot of mess. I feel like it was a hard lesson especially cause I'm so wrapped up in birth and labour and bonding right now. I have to allow myself this failure and grow into greater awareness, intuition, and precaution.


  1. "Greater awareness and intuition". This truly was hard lesson that every goat herder has gone through, including myself. First piece of advice..throw out the book, do a google search for Fiasco Farms and you will have all the help and support you will ever need.. The website for Fiasco Farms saved my sanity and created a huge bond between my goats and myself. It was very difficult for me to give them up but I had choices to make for my health. I cried for days and after 6 months I still feel torn up about it. I miss those little devils. BOND WITH THE BABIES but don't name what you eat. -Joanne Block

  2. Thanks Joanne, I actually have search the Fiasco Farm site extensively and it is truely a great goat resource! I too have had many internal debates on the benefits vs. drawbacks of having these goats. Life would be easier though emptier without them, and I hate paying $5 at the store for a jug of milk...

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