Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Joy of Almond

At the beginning of January we treated Almond for meningeal worm. She rebounded and seemed to be back on track. Then in Feburary she went down again. This time heavy with pregnancy. We called around to many vets and got all kinds of suggestions, I treated her again for meningeal worm, and also pregnancy toxemia. In my heart I knew she had neither of these, I knew that she was weak from the meningeal worm and that the added weight of the pregnancy was not allowing her to heal.

This is how Almond would move by herself
The thing was that Almond was not due to kid for another month. So my only option was to get her up everyday, get her up and get her moving. At first when I helped her up she could stand a little bit on her own, then as the days went by that became more and more difficult. And she could not walk without my help, with my help she was all over the place. Instead of walking Almond became quite good at dragging herself around, this worried me as her udders were coming into contact with manure and I did not want to have the added worry of treating mastitis. From the straw and hay in the goat pen her belly became scratched. However her spirits were high and she never lost her personality.

The morning that she went into labor, I panicked. We have delivered many babies and all without the help of a vet, but this time I was scared. So we immediately called the vet, it took an hour and then he was at the farm. Let me digress for a moment. With the drought that we experienced having birthing problems was a possible side effect. You see the plant becomes quite nutrient dense trying to send all of it's energy up to the flower, the plants only goal is to reproduce. This makes hay pretty rich, we have spoken with several farmers who have had all sorts of problems this year.

Two doelings (Rose and Violet)
Looking back I struggle with whether we should have called the vet or not. The thing is that we don't farm like others, we like to let the animals go through their own process, I did not make this clear to the vet. He told me he was just going to move a leg that was blocking the kid from being born, but he ended up pulling the kid and before I knew it both kids were pulled, and not given to Almond. You see when a baby is born mom usually smells it and cleans it off. Now I don't know for sure why she ended up rejecting her kids but pulling the kids one after another and not allowing Almond her process sure could be the reason.

Because Almond did not want her kids, they became mine. As much as I love farming, bottle feeding is not what I like best. Oh sure it is cute and fun at first but then the kids follow you around eating your clothes, bumping you to see if you have milk, I would much rather the moms raise their own kids.

However not having kids to raise Almond was able to focus on healing. Within a couple of days Almond was able to stand up on her own, then within a week she was taking steps. Then she was all over the place, in the barn. I was milking her twice and day, in the barn, then giving her milk to her babies. Then Almond stopped pushing herself. She had all she needed and apparently felt no need to venture of of the barn. So I pushed her, I wanted to start milking her in the milk-house just outside of the barn. Now 2 months later she is walking all over the place. She is not fully recovered and she still falls, but she is a long way from where we were in February.

This picture was taken a few days ago.
Almond's next milestone will be going out of pasture with the other goats. She wants to but I am so afraid that she will get caught in the electrical netting that I am not ready to put her out. At the moment we are working on fencing an area with non-electric fencing so that she can go there and I won't have to worry so much.

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