Wednesday, February 13, 2013

::baby goats::

Marshmallow Fluff

It has not been the best year in animal husbandry for me.  I was super excited about my three does that were bred.  I had visions of baby goats scampering around, butting heads, and snuggling.  The first doe to go into labor was Betty.  She is a shy first time mama doe.  She delivered her first baby with a little assistance.  A perfect little caramel doe.  The spitting image of her mother.  Then the second baby got stuck.  After trying and trying I took her to my goat vet.  After some serious magic she managed to remove the second.  It had died before it was born and was a little black doe.  I was bummed out but I figured I had my bad animal luck out of the way.  I had accidentally planned a vacation with Josh during the other two does due dates.  In retrospect I should have just induced them early and risked the babies being a little preterm.  Instead I took them to my friend that has a horse farm where she delivers other peoples mares.  I call her a horse midwife.  She does a really good job and I thought she would be able to help out my girls if they got into trouble.  After how bad things went with Betty I had lost my confidence anyway.  I knew that my friend would have a better chance than me if anything went wrong.

And wrong it went.

Emme - my old pro of a doe went into labor while I was at work and my friend was goat sitting.  Her first baby got stuck head out.  She got taken to my vet, who pulled that baby (a black doe).  The baby had died by that time.  I got there in time for the placenta to be delivered while they were waiting for the more experienced vet to arrive to pull the second that was very stuck.  The second baby was stuck as well but was born alive.  It lived for about an hour.  Emme was doing ok so we loaded up to go home.  The vet wasn't sure if the baby would make it.  It was very weak, but Emme kept cleaning it a calling to it.  Then on the way home she stopped calling.  I pulled over and found that the baby had stopped breathing and had no heart rate.  One week latter Emme is still walking around screaming for her baby.

One doe was left.  My favorite.  The one that I coded at birth.  Nelly.  She went into labor  and her baby got stuck.  My vet was not seeing emergencies that night and my friend took her into her vet.  This vet decided to cut the first dead baby into pieces while it was still inside my Nelly to try and pull it out.  They did get the baby out but they ruptured Nelly's uterus while they were at it.  From the bill they did give her some pain meds, but no sedation.  NO SEDATION!  I have not actually talked to the vet but judging by the bill the were able to pull out the second baby - which was dead or died shortly after.  Shortly after that Nelly died.  I called to tell them I was on vacation and I would deal with them when I got home.  When I got home I called to see how much the bill was -$740.  No joke.  My other two goats bill totaled $240 for both.  $740 for one was insane.  I had them read me the itemized bill.  And then I informed them that I did not consent to any of that, nor was I given an estimate.  I never would have approved such expensive procedures, knowing that the chance for success was almost nothing.  At the worst I would have had them euthanize her humanly instead of torturing her to death.  They said they will not let me pick up her body till we pay her bill in full.  I told them if I was picking up her live body I would care a whole lot more.  They are welcome to her poor little dead body.  Back and forth - back and forth.  I don't care if we fight this for a year.  I am willing to pay them for the meds and the needed treatments.  Which is less than half of what they are trying to bill be for, but no matter what - small claims court - whatever - I am never going to pay that vet bill.  No way.

Now what?  Six baby goats - one is alive and thriving, all others died.  Three mamas - two are alive.  What went wrong?  I have no idea!  Was my buck too big?  Did I over feed my does?  Was it just bad luck?  No idea.  And since I have no idea I obviously shouldn't be doing this.  I have had babies here before but I think this is a crystal clear sign telling me that delivery baby goats is not for me.  Too stressful, too risky.  I have been going back and forth about what to do.  I think we have a plan.  I am going to sell my buck.  After fair we will sell Emme and Betty (the two remaining brood does).  We will keep some of the other goats we already have.  This will allow for each girl to show three goats at fair next year.  After that my girls will have to decide if they want to sell one of their goats and get another fall baby, or keep the ones they have.  This keeps our numbers between 6-8 total goats.  Only does and wethers, mostly show stock and maybe a retired old friend or two.  I had this dream of breeding high quality stock for my kids to show.  I have swallowed that pride.  If I wanted a nice horse I wouldn't go out and breed him over four generations.  I would go buy the best baby that I could afford, that had been carefully breed for over the past forty years by more knowledgeable people than me.  I want to just do that with the goats.  Utilize some one elses good genetics and know how.

Yes she is in the house - don't judge


  1. Brooke, I'm so sorry! You are amazing! This breaks my heart, I can't imagine. You are a wonderful mother (to everyone and your animals) and care so much. Your little baby is cute! I can't wait to bring the girls to your house.

  2. I'm sorry for your losses. But man those babies are cute! I wish I could convince my husband we need more critters around here.

  3. what a incredibly sorry the ride ended this way. I understand your anger, and disappointment and new direction. Hope you can let it all go and enjoy what you have. (I love that the baby is in the house...sweet. Lots of folks around here keep the babes inside their homes until they are bigger and stronger)

  4. Boo. Big time. Sorry!

  5. Ohh noooooo! So sorry!!! That little kid will be cherished no doubt. Good luck with the vet bills.



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