Friday I had gone to another local farm to help paint a sign for their farmer's market stand. I was gone maybe five hours. As always before I leave to go anywhere I checked on all the animals and made sure everyone was accounted for, fed and had fresh, full water buckets. Whenever I return home from somewhere I also peak my head in the barn and do the same thing.
So when I left at 10ish that morning everyone was fine. When I came back at 3ish on Friday, Aisling was laying on the ground and didn't get up to greet me (which she always does). I bent down to pet her and noticed a strange blob behind her. Now I won't go into details, but it wasn't pretty. It was clearly a very premature goat.
Let me also say that we have only had Aisling two months. We bought her from a breeder and she had just freshened 4 months before we bought her and she was still in milk. The breeder said to Micah that she may have been exposed to an Angora buck, but she didn't seem certain of it and didn't give us a date when Aisling was exposed. So we made a mental note, but we had no way of knowing when and if her due date would come. We would have to wait and see if she ever 'looked' pregnant and prepare from there.
So when I came home and saw a tiny dead goat (and she had never looked any bigger to us and there were no signs of pregnancy) I was very upset and saddened to say the least. I carefully moved Aisling into a stall by herself and gave her a full bucket of water and some grain. She wouldn't eat nor was she getting up. I kept checking on her throughout the afternoon and she unfortunately gave birth to another kid later in the day while I was inside tending to my kiddies. Micah eventually got home from work later that evening and we called a neighbor who raises sheep and he said that she may have aborted her babies early if another goat butted her. All our goats have horns, so it's highly probable. None of them are remotely aggressive so they may have been playing??? I need to research this a bit more, but needless to say, it was a sad afternoon. I feel like we failed our sweet goat. I know that even if I was home the kids were too early, there was no way that they would have survived, but I still feel awful about this situation.
The only remotely positive part of the story is that aborting her kids caused her to go into milk again. I gave her Saturday to rest after Micah gave her lots of Gatorade to replenish her fluids. She was up and eating Sunday morning and I milked her this evening. She seems to be back to her old self, but I'll keep an eye on her over the next couple of days.
Most days farming is great, it's rewarding, it's good for the soul. But some days, some days it's just plain depressing.