Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Ballad of Emmylou Hyde

Do you remember the song, “The Cat Came Back”? It's been around forever. Generations of kids have delighted in the tale of that stupid, persistent yellow cat. This is the chorus:

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away.

We have a goat like that.

It started two years ago. It was our second kidding year and the first year that we planned to sell every last goat born on our place. We had a pretty good success rate including a rather large sale to a man from our community who found our ad at the feed store.

Mr. X, as he will be known here, came to visit a couple times, brought his wife and kids and eventually picked out a couple goats. As the season wore on, he bought a couple more and by season's end, he was a man with a plan – and five of our good does, plus two goats for cabrito. He was also a man with a payment plan. Five does is a lot of dough, as you know.

Late that summer, the economy started its dive. That, plus family issues out of the country, forced Mr. X to liquidate his small herd. I don't know how he found buyers, what kind of prices he got or where four of the girls went, but
what I do know is that he figured he'd just bring back the doe that was not yet paid for. … and so we found ourselves with “Rita”. A scrawny kid, fed milk from a sale barn doe.

Oh the goat came back the very next day,
The goat came back, we thought she was a goner
But the goat came back; it just couldn't stay away.

We knew better than to take her back. Really we did. But we just were not sure what to do. So we stuck her in the paddock with the buck and our two (at the time) dry does and tried to figure out a decent quarantine option that would not be too hard on her while we tried to figure out if we could even sell her again.

She promptly infected that pen with pink eye (which she carried with no visible signs) which then spread like wildfire to the whole herd a week later. Sigh. The lessons we learn the hard way.

So right around the time we got the stupid pink eye cleaned up, we were arranging the sale of a newly bred June. Since the Hydes had no other goats, we made a deal: Take the runt as a companion goat and we will give her to you for free. We said that in six months we would come out and test her for CAE (a disease transmissible through milk that she may have contracted while being fed milk of unknown origins)and if she got the all clear, they could breed her and count their blessing of an extra doe/milker. If she came back positive, we said they should consider not ever breeding her to avoid the hassle. Deal made. Bye bye Rita's dumb eye!

At her new home, Rita was called Emmylou. We also had a doe named Emmylou, so when we talked about her, we called her Emmylou Hyde. Months passed and we went out to do her blood draw/CAE test as planned. And dang near killed her.

OK- in the end, it was not a near kill, but at the time we freaked. After we removed the sample, we pulled the needle out and a pretty healthy flow of blood dripped out onto her chest and my hand. And there was a small-ish hematoma. We didn't talk about it, but Christian and I locked eyes for a sec and then stretched out our conversation with Justin to be sure she wasn't going to drop dead right there. 10 minutes later, we headed home. Another 10 minutes later, the phone rang. I joked to Christian that it was Justin telling us Emmylou Hyde had died. He looked at his phone. It was Justin.

But it was about something unrelated.

Oh the goat came back the very next day,
The goat came back, we thought she was a goner
But the goat came back; it just couldn't stay away.

Emmy Hyde was fine, but she never really grew at the rate of a normal doe. We think she must have been a little stunted from poor nutrition at her first home. Certainly the Hydes fed her well, but she just never caught up to June. The CAE test was clear, but she just didn't look big enough to breed that year. So she stayed on as June's friend. June's sweet, runty friend.

That brings us to this past fall. As you know from a couple posts ago, we very happily bought June back this year. And so she came back, with little Emmylou in tow.

Oh the goat came back the very next day,
The goat came back, we thought she was a goner
But the goat came back; it just couldn't stay away.

So Emmylou Hyde is back. She's two but is as small as a yearling. She's from a
doe who is, at best, a mediocre milker. She is a total drain of resources. But she is awfully sweet.

And she is ours. Again.

You can talk tough all you like, but in the end, some decisions are made by circumstances. We are breeding her this year and will try to sell her as a family milker after she kids. Possibly along with her mama, Miranda. And hope this time maybe she stays away.

Away, away, yea, yea, yea

1 comment:

Spring Lake Farm said...

LOL! We had a coonhound like that by the name of Savannah! (Ahhh, let me correct myself...We "have" a coonhound like that by the name of Savannah.) After the third return to our home I just decided she was meant to be with us. Sometimes decisions are made outside of logic.