Monthly Archives: July 2015

Our Goat Zelda Died

Sadly our goat Zelda died a few days after my last blog about her. The hot, wet weather we had in Tennessee this summer only made the situation worse for poor Zelda. We tried everything we could think of to keep her going but in the end she was just not strong enough to make a recovery.

Zelda was born on our farm in 2012. She was a single doe kid out of Trudy and Blaze. Her mother Trudy, was our favorite goat and was the number one doe in our herd for many years. No doubt with time Zelda would have preceded Trudy as the Herd Matriarch. During her short life Zelda blessed us with three doelings. The first one, Beatrice, is just over a year old now. At her death Zelda left us with 8 week old twin does to care for. We call these girls the “Nuts”. One is named Hazel Nut and the other is Honey Nut.

Our Goat Zelda DiedFortunately our new goat Daisy has graciously adopted the Nuts. They graze with her and find comfort in cuddling with her during loafing hours when all the goats lounge around chewing their cud. Daisy is very attentive to the Nuts and keeps an eye out for them most of the time. Our goat Magic also seems to take an interest in the little orphans. She doesn’t feed them like Daisy does but she likes to babysit every now and then.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the herd reacts to the gap Zelda left in the group and to Daisy’s decision to take on her legacy. Who will the next Matriarch be? Where will Daisy fit into the pecking order? Will the Nuts inherit their birth mother’s ranking or will they be left on the fringes? Will Magic’s kindness to Zelda’s kids improve her status in the herd? All this will unfold in the months to come as the herd responds to the loss of a sister, mother, auntie and friend.

Our New Goat Daisy is Helping Out

New GoatOur new goat, Miss Daisy, is being a foster mom to Zelda’s twin baby does. We bought Daisy a couple of weeks ago from our friend Bridget. Daisy is originally from South Dakota but she has been a Tennessee girl since she was just a few months old. We are happy to have her as the newest addition to our little goat farm. Thankfully our new goat, Daisy, is a great milker and we have been able to put Zelda’s babies on her for their morning breakfast ever since Zelda got sick.

Zelda hasn’t improved very much since yesterday’s post. She is still grinding her teeth and turning away from everything we offer her to eat and drink. She did like her nutrient drench with extra iron. We are going to try to build her iron back up because the worms have caused her to become very anemic. We gave her an injection of iron in addition to the drench. She is still enjoying her fan and I keep her water fresh and cool for when she is ready to have a drink. If we do not see her drink on her own we will have to syringe it into her mouth to keep her hydrated. She will not get up by herself either but she is able to stand for a few minutes if we help her get on her feet. It is a very touch and go situation and it is hard on all of us emotionally. It is hard not to get discouraged.

Daisy, the new goat, is a bright spot for us during this difficult time. No matter what the outcome is for Zelda, we know Daisy will take care of Zelda’s baby does. Zelda’s doelings still know and love Zelda as their mother but they are no longer dependent on her for milk. That has given Zelda much needed time and energy to focus on getting healthy again. Miss Daisy couldn’t have joined us at a more critical time. We are grateful for her smiling face and all the nutritious milk she provides.

We Have a Sick Goat

Sick GoatWe’ve been nursing a sick goat for a week now. Poor Zelda has been in the barn, away from her other goat friends and her baby goats, trying to bounce back from a bad case of worms. Despite our routine of checking the herd for early signs of parasites, Zelda seems to be suffering from an overload of what are commonly called barber pole worms. Here in Duck River, Tennessee, July has brought a mixture of humid, rainy, and extremely hot days. This type of weather can be tough on dairy goats in our area because it creates the perfect condition for barber pole worms to proliferate. These tiny beasts get into the guts of their hosts and rob them of nutrients, causing anemia and many other complications. Usually proper goat management can prevent sickness but sometimes problems arise as a result of worm overload. That is the case with Zelda.

We were surprised and concerned when Zelda didn’t go to the feeding bins last Sunday. Instead she stayed in the barn away from the rest of the herd. Zelda is our largest and greediest goat of all so we immediately knew she was a sick goat. She seemed depressed and was grinding her teeth, which is a common symptom of pain. Nate checked the color of her bottom eyelids. If a sick goat has worms, her eyelids will be pale pink or whitish instead of a deep reddish-pink. Sure enough, Zelda had pale eyelids.

We gave her a dose of de-wormer right away. She’s also been having symptoms of acidosis, a condition, that could have been caused by the worm infestation, and which caused the ph of her rumen to become unbalanced. To combat this problem and hopefully prevent further complications, we’ve been giving her regular doses of baking soda, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, probiotics, vitamin b, fluids, and a nutrient drench.

Right now, our biggest battle is to lift her spirits. Attention and pampering are critical to a sick goat. We bought some all natural fly repellant that really seems to keep the flies from bothering her. I also plugged in a small fan so she has a nice breeze. She loves her fan!!! Companionship is also critical to a sick goat. Goats really need the company of their buddies or they will sink into depression. A depressed, sick goat has a much harder time bouncing back. Depression can cause them to give up on eating and they will lose their drive to survive. To lift Zelda’s spirits, I’ve been spending time with her and giving her treats every hour. She’s slowly beginning to eat fresh leaves and will even eat some hay every now and then. She likes her Tums which help calm her belly and taste good. She also likes her baking soda. Lately, I’ve been giving her raw goat milk yogurt too. She really likes it! It has good bacteria in it and lots of protein. She had made a lot of progress as of yesterday but today, she seems sad and doesn’t want to eat much, not even her treats!

Zelda is a sick goat. Please send some good thoughts her way. She needs lost and lots of positive energy and love. We are not giving up on Zelda, even if she’s a greedy pig, hahaha. Her babies need her and the rest of the herd misses her too. Hopefully, with enough TLC we can get her on her feet again.