Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Death on the Farm

Goats have been a part of our farm almost from the beginning. We had laying hens we shared with the neighbor and then we got Star our dog. We were hoping to one day get goats. I really wanted Nubians. They were so cute with their long ears that hang down. We had good friends who raised goats. They had a son named Joshua. Our Joshua made arrangements with their Joshua about getting a goat. They came to us and asked if Joshua's goat had a baby girl, could our Joshua buy her. We said yes, if he had the money. Ellie was born and came to live with us. She was an Alpine, so we decided to stick with that breed. My son will not be too thrilled that I am putting this picture up. =) Here he is with Ellie.

We saw that it was going to take a lot of goats milk to feed this little doeling for 8 weeks. We did not want to use milk replacer, plus goats are a herd animal and do better in groups of 2 or more. So, we bought Minx who was already in milk. Even though she was my goat, Joshua was "HER" boy.

The two goats we currently have are descendants of Minx. Honeysuckle is her daughter and Magnolia is her granddaughter. Here is a recent picture of Honeysuckle. We would not know if this was a picture of Minx or Honeysuckle if it was not labeled. They are identical. Honeysuckle has given us quite a few babies. The second picture is Honeysuckle as a baby.

Honeysuckle was due last Friday. Normally, a few days before she delivers, she gets a huge udder that looks like it is going to burst. That did not happen this year. One year her mother got big and huge like she was pregnant and did not have a baby. The vet said it was a false pregnancy. We thought maybe that is what was happening to Honeysuckle. She was eating well, she was frisky, she was jumping fences up through Monday. The fence jumping just started a little while ago. They don't want to stay in their pen. We kept checking her out just in case she had a baby in there. We checked her Monday night and all looked normal. When Michael went out at 6AM on Tuesday to open the chicken coop, there was a dead baby on the ground in the goat pen. It was a beautiful doeling that looked just like her mother did. Honeysuckle was still pretty big, so we watched and waited to see if anything was going to happen. It ends up the one girl was all she was carrying. We have milked her 3 times now, but it does not appear to be colostrum at all. We have no idea what happened. Normally by this time of year, I have a kid pen full of kids like below.

We have really been praying about our farm for awhile now. We are not sure what is going to be happening. We thought maybe the Lord was going to move us, but nothing has come of that so far. I have always been the one that was so attached to the goats. I love to go and pet them and hug them. I think the Lord has been weaning me away from that. About 4 months ago, we were sitting down talking about each aspect of the farm. Besides the chickens, the goats are the only other farm animal that we buy feed for. The cows and sheep are all grass fed. We do not use the goats milk except to feed other animals or to make soap. I have not been making much soap lately. After this happening, we think we are going to sell our goats. I know when they leave, I will cry hard, but I think it is the right thing to do. We are going to try and find a good family for them to go to. That makes it a little easier.

Tina mentioned trying to get pictures of the birth if we could. Obviously we totally missed this birth (that is the first one we missed). I do have pictures of another of our goats giving birth. They are really graphic, but if there is enough interest, I will post them on here. Let me know in the comments if you would like to see them.

Here are some other pictures from around the farm. The first one is of one of the tulips trying to bloom where it was planted despite the freeze it endured.

I caught all of the cows (including the one calf that belongs to the neighbor) and the sheep in one picture.

I loved the lighting of this picture. The shadows were already on our property, but you could see the sun shining on the farmer's field behind us.

When I went out to milk this morning, I saw there was a waiting line at the nest box out there. It is not really a nest box, but they have been laying eggs in it for several years.

The same morning that Michael discovered the dead baby goat, he found a brand new batch of kittens. This is one of the Mommas we tried to get rid of. Sigh....


Teresa said...

Marci, I'm so sorry to hear about the baby goat. And I truly feel for your decision that perhaps you should sell the rest. But I'm sure that with all the lovely neighbors you seem to have, you will find someone to take them that will please you. And do keep us updated on things because it certainly does should like He is moving in your lives toward something new.

Lovely pictures you've been posting. Take care and here's a long-distance hug...XXXXXX
Teresa in KY

Teresa said...

I have no idea why I typed "should" instead of "sound". Sorry!

Peggy said...

Marci, my heart is breaking for the loss of your little doe. Ms. Diva is due May 23 and I already have a baby monitor to put out in her stall as I am afraid something will go wrong and I won't know. This will be Diva's third delivery but my first with a goat. I would love to see the photos if you post them. Think it would be a big help for me. I also understand your deciding to sell them. I did the same when we had a dairy farm. After my husband died and I sold the cow and calves I cried like a baby but there was no way I could milk 150 cows twice a day and take care of 3 small daughters. Sending you lots of hugs and prayers!

Kelli said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your little goat, Marci. I will keep your family in my prayers regarding the decisions you will need to make.
Hugs to you,

LadySnow said...

I am very sorry Marci. I know it will be hard for you, but...maybe God is telling you that you need more cats! ;)

Anonymous said...


I believe that lady_msnow may be on to something.... hmmmm. :-D

Mrs. M.

Marci said...

My dear friends, Lady Snow and Mrs. G. M. If my cats are not able to be caught to be fixed or gotten rid of, expect litters of kitties on your porches!!! =) I KNOW where you live.

Unknown said...

Oh, that's so sad Marci:-( I'm sorry about your little goat baby:-(

ChickenMama said...

I'm so sorry about your loss. It's extra hard when it's a baby one. I feel for you as you contemplate giving them up. We have just gotten ours and are enjoying them a lot.

Your pictures are beautiful.

Some time I'l like to hear about how you managed the milking of your goats. My husband is certain we would be forever tied down if I ever milk them. I told him I feel certain that just because I want to milk them for a season to make cheese and such, that we won't be locked into a never-leave-home situation. It sounds like you only milked "part-time." I'd like to know more about it if you feel up to a posting about it.

Enjoying the blog, as always.

(I finally remembered my Blogger password!)

Tina Leigh said...

Marci I cant beleive the baby died. My Grandma had goats FOREVER & she became so attached to them also. I have wanted to get a few myself but Danny would kill me! He knows I would have a zoo here if he would leave me alone. I'm glad yall found the kitties...some life for the death even tho it wasn't expected. I would still love to see the past pictures of the births if everyone is OK with it. Birth is is amazing & GOD created it. WOW! I am sorry Marci...I hope yall find answers to your questions about moving, selling....all of it you know. Wish I could meet you for tea & chocolate!