Our goats are much more to us than just farm animals. My Sweet Baboo gave birth to a set of twins several years ago. Just like human children, Boo’s twins could not be more different. We named the twin's Flora and Fauna. Flora is a delight. She has a sweet disposition, loves human interaction, has a well-balanced udder, and is a dream on the milk stand. On the other hand, Fauna is shy and stand-offish, has a small udder, and can be a bit picky when on the milk stand. Flora is by far our favorite of the two. Eric often says that if he could clone Flora, he would have a barn full of her clones.
Sadly, a few years ago, Flora contracted listeria. It was a frightening time for her and us. We doctored her diligently and gave her care around the clock. We were fortunate that she pulled through. Although she was able to beat the listeria, she has not recovered 100%. She continues to be susceptible to respiratory infections, suffers from allergies, and is prone to illness in general. I have dubbed her “my little sick goat.”
My little sick goat has had a bad summer. Miss Flora has had issues with loose stool, a runny nose, and a lack of energy. Our veterinarian put her on a high dose of antibiotics for ten days, gave her an iron boost, and treated her for coccidia. Eric gave her a heavy dose of wormer, a nutrient drench daily, and we have added a high-calorie energy-boosting supplement to her daily routine. She is a bit high maintenance, but she is worth the effort. Our trusted friend, Jenna, who is going to school for animal science, advised us to cull her from the herd. I balked at the idea, and even The Bibbed Wonder, who often is more farmer-like than pet-oriented, disagreed. At this point, we have put so much time, energy, and care into her she is part of our farm family. We care for her, and her contributions to our farm outweigh any detriment.
We will continue to nurture and nurse our little sick goat for as long as she requires the care. If we thought for a moment she had a poor quality of life or were suffering in any way; we would make a humane choice. However, with just a few days of antibiotics and care, she is back to head-butting the other goats and fighting for her spot on the milk stand. She is also putting on weight and is bouncing back nicely. I love that Eric never gives up on our girls and works so hard to keep them safe and healthy. We have had two girls who have gotten seriously ill. In both cases, the vet gave them a 50/50 chance of surviving. In both cases, it has been the care and diligence of constant maintenance that saved them both.
Sometimes, it is hard to be a farmer. There are scenarios where we put our comfort and rest aside to care for our animals. Seeing a sick animal improve and survive and eventually thrive is worth every ounce of effort and lost sleep. My little sick goat is well worth every ounce of effort. She will have a home here for the rest of her life. Rest assured, we will do everything we can to help her and keep her healthy. For us, the goats are not just animals or a commodity. They are family, and we care for our family.