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  • Writer's pictureTina

It's All Good

My sweet Boo and her ear horn

As stewards of 40+ goats, we take our job seriously. The health and well-being of our "goatsies" are of the utmost importance for several reasons. First and foremost, we love our girls and naturally want nothing but the best for them. Secondly, we rely on our ladies for our livelihood. They are not just pets but family members who contribute to the well-being and success of our family and lifestyle. Of course, we have one of the doctors from our veterinary group come out when there is an emergency. However, once a year, we schedule a herd health check appointment with our favorite vet, Dr. Isreal Isenberg.

Dr. Isenberg came to the farm last week to complete the general check-up of our girls and boys and view our pastures and barn with a critical eye looking for potential problems. We admire Dr. Isenberg for his expertise in all things goat-related and his gentle, quiet demeanor with the animals. While here, we asked him to address a few issues with a number of our girls. Most concerning is my girl Peanut Buttercup, aka Boo. Boo has developed a horn at the end of her ear. A year or so ago, I noticed a small tick-like lump at the end of her long, floppy ear. It was just a small bump and not concerning. However, in the last few months, this bump has become the size and shape of a small horn. It appears to be made up of the same material as a horn and is a bit disconcerting.

Dr. Isenberg checked over the herd and was pleased with the overall appearance of everyone. He saw no signs of parasites, everyone's body condition looked great, and he gave his stamp of approval on our pasture rotation system. He was pleased to see our pasture fields are filled with long grass and brambles. Short-cropped grass and pastures that are eaten down to the dirt are major contributors to parasite infections. He said he is always impressed with the cleanliness of our barn, water troughs, and feed troughs. Kudos go to The Bibbed Wonder for his diligence in maintaining a clean environment for our herd.

We have a closed herd, meaning we don't bring any other animals to our farm or take our animals off our farm. This has kept us free of major diseases common to goat herds, such as Johne's Disease, Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis, and the feared Caseous Lymphadenitis or CL infection. Once any of these diseases are introduced to a herd, they are devastating and often cannot be rid from the soil or barn. Often, the only cure for any of the above diseases is to cull the herd, let the area rest for several years, and then start over from scratch. The fear of culling any of our lovely ladies is the motivation for diligence and pristine practices.

Eric has been threatening for a few years to replace our billy goat, Abu, with a new billy goat. I, of course, protest selling our friendly, virile baby daddy. Since discussing the idea with Dr. Isenberg, who advised us not to disrupt a good thing, Abu is now safely in place as our baby daddy for life. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Dr. Isenberg suggested artificial insemination if we desired to improve the genetics of our herd. At this point, I am pleased with the job Sir Abu does in siring lovely offspring. He always creates beautiful colors, intelligence, and friendly traits in his babies. I tend to believe if it's not broken, don't fix it.

After thoroughly examining my sweet Baboo and her horn growing ear, Dr. Isenberg is convinced it is a freak anomaly, and nothing is threatening about this growth. He feels her ear suffered a slight trauma and her body's cell reaction was a bit mixed up in its response. He advised us to wait until the fall and band her ear allowing the horn growth to fall off on its own. He feels surgery would do more harm than good and said if she were his goat, banding is what he would do for her. He gave us a bottle of pain reliever and directions for use when the time comes. After the initial banding, he said the ear would become numb, and she will not have any discomfort. The tissue will deaden over time, and the horn will eventually fall off. This came as a relief to me as I worry about her being uncomfortable or in pain. I don't understand the mindset that just because they are farm animals, they are devoid of feeling pain, discomfort, or suffering. We treat our animals as family and will always go above and beyond to ensure they are well cared for and healthy.

Our herd is all good for another year. With hard work, diligence, and a bit of good luck, we will be able to maintain and preserve the good health of our herd. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, do what you can to protect your overall good health, which means continuing to wash your hands.

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