An Unexpected Down In The Ups And Downs Of Farm Life
Things happen on a farm that are unexpected. Along with all the wondrous things that can happen when you keep animals of different species, some things happen which are not so pleasant and completely unexpected. This is one of those things.
Yesterday was not a three-ring circus in the enclosure. The boys were made their way to their own little enclosure, then the baby girls joined the adults and all ran out of the stable together into the large enclosure. To our surprise, the boys were happy and quite preoccupied by their new little world. The only one putting up a fuss was Flynn. Remember, he is our little castrated buck who is always with his mother and sister. We decided he needed some male influence in his life so the “bachelor ” pad came to be.
Even the baby girls decided to enjoy themselves and not be so concerned about the boys. It was a good day all around. The weather held up and there was no rain even though you could feel it in the air.
All was well with the goats, as far as we could tell. Then around 9:30 it began to rain. Even though there is a shelter for both enclosures, goats do not like rain. The first drop and they start to cry to be brought in. Another contributing factor to the loud voices we were hearing, was that the older ladies would not allow the baby girls into the shelter. It take time for complete acceptance so the baby girls had to stand out in the rain. Their cries always work, we came running. The boys went in with my husband, then the older ladies and baby girls all ran to the stable following Pumpkin’s lead. They were brought in way ahead of my goat box maintenance was able to take place. So now they were in, it was time to put in new grain, fresh straw and hay and check and refresh water buckets. As I made my way down to the “bachelor” pad, I heard a cry that was not a good cry. It was all too familiar, a cry of pain and discomfort. I went into the box and waited for another cry as I looked at my babies. I knew immediately, it was Baby Boy. He was not himself at all. I had their bucket of evening goodies, carrots and apples and celery and he wanted none of it. This was not Baby Boy.
Something was not right and I was not going to let the night pass without some assistance from the vet. We called and explained his symptoms and were told to give him a deciliter of oil. The easiest way to administer medications or oils, is with a syringe(no needle). We were told to give him the oil and then keep him moving. It was explained to us that it was the fresh grass that was too strong and was causing gases to be built up in his rumen. Gases are normal, but sometimes if a goat eats to fast or too much, like Baby Boy had, too much fresh grass too fast, the goat can not belch up the gases and becomes bloated. Baby boy was unable to belch and unable to bring up his food to be chewed again. He was very uncomfortable.
We administered the oil which of course he did not like, and we ran in the corridor of the stable. The vet told my husband for us to call her back in an hour if he was worse. I called just to thank her for he suggestion and to say that he seemed better and not so uncomfortable. We were told to get a special kind of yeast found at farm supply stores and mix it with water and get as much down as possible. All of this was to settle the environment in the rumen and bring things back to normal.
It was not a comfortable night for us, as you can well imagine. When someone is not right in this household, I am not right and can not sleep peacefully.
The morning was an anxious one. Had he made it through the night ? He had. Thank God and the vet. We didn’t have that yeast here at Gullringstorp so my husband went to the supply store early this morning. We gave him the yeast, which of course he did not like and we walked him for a bit, to move it around and get everything in that little rumen back into its proper balance.
All day today we check in on him, one of us or both of us together. He seems much better. He is not quite out of the woods yet, but his is on his way out!
On one occasion, we were standing there and saw each little boy bring up something from the rumen and begin to chew. First it was Balder, then Little Flynn and as if on cue, Baby Boy, in his basket, began to chew. That was the sign we were waiting for. This means that his rumen is getting into balance and the gasses are being released as they should. His bloating is also not so pronounced. I will keep a close eye on him for the next couple of days. I will also be keeping a close eye on the baby girls, who so far seem alright. This situation comes on so very suddenly, without any warning signs.
The vet told us that this was happening all over this area and many adult sheep were affected. This was because of what she termed, the “strong” grass. I can only imagine that it is referred to as “strong”because with our very short spring and summer, the grass like everything else that grows is like a super grass. It grows fast and very potent. The adults can handle this because they have eaten several spring/summer grasses and they can handle it. This was not only the first time for the babies to eat fresh grass, but their first spring/summer grass.
Baby Boy is off grain and grass for a few days. He is to only have hay, straw and water. His room mates are not so happy about this , but they really have no choice.
Here is our Baby Boy today, feeling a bit better with his buddies.
Every time I check on Baby Boy, I check in on the baby girls. they seem to be fine with no problems. Believe me, I don’t take anything for granted. Things can happen in a blink of an eye.
I hope that this evening will a comfortable one for Baby Boy and that in the morning, he will be much better than today.
Life on a farm, with its unexpected ups and downs.
PS. As I close out this post, my husband just came in and said that Baby Boy is laying down and CHEWING!!! Great news!!!