Friday, March 12, 2010

Comings and Goings

We have seriously upended the status quo at Blue Heron Farm. We are moving goats around in ways we never dreamed.

We'll start with Emmylou Hyde. As I blog this, she is on her way to a new home, where she can be some variation of Emmylou Rita Hyde Broadbent.

This is an excellent move for us and for Emmy. The Broadbents are a lovely couple we met and see regularly at our monthly market at Home Sweet Farm. They have been steadily moving towards getting a couple goats and we have had quite a few conversations about goats in the past year or so of markets. Recently they saw Emmy's story on our blog and decided that it was time. They approached us with the offer of re-homing her and we jumped on it. They have a couple old sheep to keep her company and Emmylou will become a mama in April, so will have a built-in friend if she doesn't end up loving the sheep. She will not be a milker, she will just be a loved and spoiled pet and new goat mama. I could not dream of a better home for her.

While I am glad she will be producing her own little friend, we have a second plan for her company. At the end of the milking season, Naomi will go to the Broadbents, too.

This one is more bittersweet.

Naomi has had a tough haul in her three years. She narrowly escaped euthanasia her first year when she got sick and we thought she was just too scrawny to get through it. Nothing particular was wrong, she just seemed to be failing to thrive and gain weight. We thought it might be a worm issue and then accidentally overdosed her on the wormer in a critical calculation error. She didn't die, though. And we didn't put her down that week because my parents were here and it seemed an awful thing to do on their visit. By the time they left, she had turned the corner. And strangely, a year later had gone through the most amazing growth spurt and was actually our largest goat from her age group. Move forward a year.

Last year was her first year to kid and her milk came in early and strong. We now know we could have milked her before she kidded, but at the time we didn't know. And the extreme pressure in her udder led her to a case of mastitis in one half, soon after kidding. We treated it and moved on. Poor girl. She did get better, but within only a few months, she had developed calcium blockages in that side of her udder that made milking difficult. We decided to just let her dry up, treat her in the dry season with a preventative antibiotic and hope for the best in year three. Move forward a year.

This year Naomi kidded with another huge udder. We decided to milk her out a few days before kidding to prevent a repeat of last year. And that was when we found that the previously affected half of her udder was completely blocked. Completely. After consultation with the vet, it was left at us having to let that side dry up while we continued to milk the good half. And it left us with the question, what do you do with a dairy goat who can't milk? It took over a week for that side to go down and it looked painful as all hell, so we knew that Naomi should never be bred again. We simply could not put her through that.

One option was to get her a mastectomy in the dry season to remove the blind half, but really - to us that was never a serious option. It also was not an option to keep her here in the herd and spend the next 10 years being vigilant about her never getting bred again. The logistics are just too hard. Euthanasia was untenable option three. She is the sweetest love of a goat and she is not sick. She is just no longer a functioning dairy doe. Enter the Broadbents. We asked if they could do two goats and they said sure.

Naomi will stay here and milk for the rest of the season as we say our long goodbye. She is milking great from the one side and the other is down to almost nothing again. Though I know she will be going to a great home and they will treat her like a queen, I am having a hard time with letting her go. Naomi was born here and developed her wonderful personality here and it is just way harder to say goodbye. I am glad we have a full season to make the transition.

Our last egress is Liberty. She was one of our original five goats, and after three years here will be going to another dairy at the end of this week. Our friends who are just starting their dairy are in dire need of milkers. Liberty has always annoyed Christian with her slow speed of milking and so he offered her up to "help us both". Libby milked like a cow her first year here but after having a single kid this year is not producing quite as well. She has it in her, but it's just not happening yet this year. Her new family is just happy to have the milk at all and can sell her down the road if her production doesn't pick up. I will miss Libby, too. She's a sweet little weirdo. But again - I know she is going to a good home, so this will not be too difficult of a goodbye.

So that's the traffic flow. I titled this entry Comings and Goings - but it looks like it's really just goings. Sigh. Well, that's a bummer.

But the babies keep coming, so there is that. Oh! And Penny Lane is on deck for kidding and should be a milker in another week or so, if we caught the right breeding. So yeah - comings and goings.

I look forward to updates and photos of Emmylou & Liberty at their new homes. I am sure they will both be very happy.


Martha said...

We love your heart and posted about it here at .

We've also put you in our Google Reader so we can stay up to date on your adventures!

crowjoy said...

Just discovered you and learning lots already. We have our first kidding coming up! Thanks for the stories while we make our own!

Blue Heron Farm said...

Wow - this is the first I have seen of All Things Goat. What a neat site. I will bookmark it -- thanks!