Things have been quite nuts here at the farm this past week. The older babies didn’t look quite so big to me until we let Edna’s babies out of the jug with her on Saturday morning, and they popped out into the paddock. What a contrast! The month old kids look like giants next to them!
As it turns out, Edna is a very laid back mother, (as she is a very laid back goat). A few times that day one or both of us had to go looking for one or the other of her kids. I guess this should have given me an inkling. On Sunday morning we went out for chores, and as usual, the first thing we try to do is count heads and make sure everyone is there. Not all the babies sleep with their moms, and we have two greenhouses and two paddocks with an open gate between them. I started to get quite worried because we couldn’t find Edna’s little buck, Godric. Finally we spotted him, all the way over in the next paddock with Jingle the donkey and Fergus the wether (there is no gate into this pen from the girls paddocks), lying in a little hollow by the far fence, wet from the rain we had overnight.
We picked him up and realized his back left leg was broken, or injured in some way. I thought it was a broken femur, but Sam and John thought it was a dislocated hip. We have splinted many a lower leg on both goat kids and lambs with great success, but I have never encountered an injury like this. So we brought him into the house, made him comfy, got him warm and dry, gave him a bottle, and kept him as immobile as possible. He happily got on the bottle, and rested and was fine with being inside. I figured we now had two bottle babies in the house instead of just one, because we could see to his leg and then have him bottle-raised.
We got him over to our local vet as soon as we could, so she could take an X-ray. And we quickly realized that this was not going to get fixed. His femur was snapped in two pieces, and the top piece had swiveled all the way around toward his spine, and the bottom piece was pointing down. Not something many four-legged animals could come back from, even if we had deep enough pockets for surgery. So we had the vet put the little guy down.
We think he was wandering and one of the other moms may have backed him into the green panel that was closing off a small section of the fence between Fergus/Jingle and the girls’ area, giving him a slam as he was trying to get away through the fence. Unfortunately, it happens if babies don’t stay near their mamas. We replaced that section of fence yesterday with a galvanized panel that has smaller openings, but obviously too late to save our Godric (although being slammed into a fence that you can’t escape through would be just as lethal, I suspect).
Life on the farm sometimes seems so unfair, but in the end it is nature. We may have to set up a “nursery” type larger pen for Edna and her new babies next year, so she isn’t stuck in a small jug with them for too long, but in a wider pen in the greenhouse, not just out and about with everyone. I have done that in the past with some of our sheep. But I really wanted to get them out of the greenhouse over the weekend because it had gotten so warm that I was afraid they would get heat stroke. Good intentions, and all that.
And so it goes.