Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Goat Song: The Bleating of Goats

It's Sunday and the clock says it's 4:53 p.m. In the distance I hear a sweet sound. The baby monitor echos to the family room that a few goats - Lavender and Cinnamon are calling me to get ready to come with the milking pails so that their evening milk can be milked.

I am thoroughly enjoying the time with them.

I milk Lavender first and it's a joy to watch her go straight to her stantion and gingerly climb on placing her head straight away in the head lock.  She's a gem to milk - no problems and patient with me as my forearms gain strength.

I am concerned though - she's not eating her grain like she should and her milk supply is greatly reduced.  I did, at Kathryn's advice, take her temperature last evening and this morning. It seemed within limits.  I took Cinnamon's too. Nothing like putting a digital thermometer up the rectum of a goat. Interesting for sure.  I took both to compare.

I am learning (relearning) the ways of goat.  They - like us - when stressed out and with changes - get upset stomachs.  When their stomachs get upset and they don't eat it's because their rumen isn't working like it should.  The rumen isn't producing B vitamins necessary for carbohydrate metabolism and normal digestion activity.

I worry. I suppose I shouldn't, but I'm like a new mom or something.  These girls have been in my heart before they even arrived here Wednesday at the farm.

I am seeking advice. I've spoken with Kathryn and will most likely call her again this evening. I've also emailed this vet by the name of Austin Ayars.

In the meantime, I'm spending moments - many with them - sitting and watching and praying and asking Creator for wisdom as to what to do. I'm also researching all I can on the internet.

On a happier note, I took the second gallon of milk produced and made my first batch of Chevre cheese. Today it's just about done and I had to take a sample. Not bad if I say so myself.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a little late on this, but I thought I'd chime in anyway (you probably have everything all settled now!).

    Whenever I transport or otherwise stress goats, I give them a dose of "Probios" paste. It's a probiotic treatment that comes in a tube for dosing and 5 grams will usually boost the flora in the rumen and get their appetites back on track. (Sometimes a little yogurt or kefir will help as well.) It's pretty normal for them to be "off" for a while after coming to a new home, and generally they just need time to settle in.

    Another thing is to always keep some fresh baking soda available for them to take as they need it. They will actually eat it when they need a little pH balancing in their guts.

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