We were very excited around here last night. We got our first actual farm animal.
but the story gets very sad from there.
I responded to an ad for a bottle feed billy goat on kijiji. My thoughts on this were, if an animal is bottle fed, it views you as it's mother and would be much easier to handle.
Now I'm not going to deny that honestly- all the signs were there...if we'd been paying attention and not in such a rush to "get our first farm animal". If I'd thought through all the reading I've done about even other animals I would have caught theses signs and never taken this little goat home.
-he had cloudy eyes (which is never a good sign in any animal)
- he was the only goat in the barn that wasn't wearing an ear tag (Chris noticed this, I didn't look close enough at the other babies to notice)
- he was having watery poops in the car even on the ride home- and excessively here when he got out and all night
- his owner wasn't keen on writing a bill of sale or even giving us his parents names, saying that the pid numbers only applied to sheep so far (umm no)
- there was 2 other kids butting us, and chewing on our pants the entire time we stood in the barn, who I assumed were at least a week older than "or little guy", but apparently the owner referred to them as his sibling as one point (thus he was the runt of the litter and way more lethargic and not as alert as these two -hmmm...another indication there was probably something seriously wrong?but like I said I didn't hear the comment and assumed he must be much younger than the other 2)
Anyways It was a very hard day on us, First our little buddy didn't take very much milk this morning and I was really worried about him getting enough. As I said he was pooping a yellow runny fluid, and was covered in it this morning. So I ended up giving him a wet and soapy rub down this morning with a towel, hoping to get some of it off...but he seemed to have less energy than even the night before and didn't protest to much.
Slowly throughout the day his energy decreased and decreased to the point he laid down on the barn floor and couldn't get up under his own strength.
We force fed him a bottle trying to get anything into him, trying desperately to get his strength back.
In the end we, and our little buddy lost the battle.
I threw the stupid goat bottle across the yard I was so mad.
I felt guilty (still do) that maybe I had not taken good enough care of him...but after hours of discussion with Chris about all the "signs" I really truly think we have "greenhorn suckers" stamped on our foreheads. and pretty much got taken by a farmer who came across as really "nice" and helpful, and just didn't want to have an extra chore of bottle feeding. When in fact, I really think he knew that this little goat was never going to make it, and if he could get some sucker cash out of someone for it, better than nothing.
maybe we did some things wrong- I by no means claim to be experienced, but I honestly don't know what more we could have done...and I think, thinking back, he was already showing a lot of signs of being sickly. I think we may have been fighting a losing battle before we even knew we were in a fight.
Regardless of how or why. It was sad. It was a baby animal, and it was hard on both of us to watch.
I'm sad that it happened, but I also think it will make us a little better, and cautious in buying any other livestock from now on. The excitement of getting a cute animal is overwhelming...you just want to take it home, but in this case the heartbreak just isn't worth it. I still don't know that we will be able to pick out all signs of a sick animal, but I think we'll be much more aware and looking for anything that doesn't seem right. So even though it was a very sad and heart wrenching experience, and it was horrible that it happened with our first animal. In some ways, I think it may have been a lesson better learned right away...not that it's okay to lose the animal, but I think we may have quit and moved back to the city if we had lost an entire flock of sheep and lost them all or something.
And I guess if your going to live on a farm you have to get used to life and death...still not easy, but not everything is going to make it. no matter how much you'd like every story to have a happy ending