Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sadness on the Farm

Right after I had decided to take a blogging break and enjoy a few weeks away from the computer (but before I actually did the post about it) our goat, Chloe, died unexpectedly. One morning she seemed a little 'off' and like her stomach was bothering her some so we treated her for the two most common stomach problems in goats (bloat being one of them which is very serious if not treated.) The treatments are natural, and even if the two things weren't what was wrong, the treatments won't cause any harm.

This photo (and the next five were all taken a few days before Chloe died)

All throughout the day, she didn't really seem any worse and by evening, it seemed that she might be feeling a bit better as she was walking around more and was even butting heads through the fence with her 'neighbors'
(Danny and Chevy.)

Her energetic little buckling, Gunner. He sure is a lot of fun!

The next morning, though, she looked worse and was in definite pain . . . since taking a goat's temperature is one of the first things to do when something is wrong with them, and since our thermometer quit working right when we were going to take hers again, Dad went into town to pick one up (plus, we wanted to have a temp on her before we called the vet which we were planning to do if she didn't make a turn for the better very soon.)

Meanwhile, Leah and I treated her again with higher doses of flavored mineral oil, baking soda boluses, and then also used what is called a drencher to get some warm molasses water into her since she had quit drinking.

During that brief time while Dad was gone, Chloe went downhill really fast and by the time he got home, we all knew we needed to call the vet right away. Something was seriously wrong.

Chloe and Gunner

As mentioned in a previous post when we were having all of the things going on with Sadie, we have found wonderful vets who are very knowledgeable about goats, which was again, a great blessing in this situation with Chloe! Dad called them, and within 30 minutes, they were out at our place thoroughly examining Chloe.

One of his favorite things to play on . . . a big walnut log in the pen

They did not know for sure what was wrong with her, but offered to bring her to the vet clinic and get her started on an IV to rehydrate her and then to do blood work on her to figure out what was going on. So Chloe rode in the front sit of a pick-up on one of the vet's laps to the vet hospital!

While they did their best for her, later that evening, she died. The necropsy that followed showed that her intestine somehow did a 180 degree twist which it appears, led to massive hemorrhaging, blood clotting, and more. Actually knowing what had happened with her was a comfort as then we knew that nothing we could have done would have helped her or saved her. That is one thing that can be hard for me when things like this happen . . . wondering about all of the "what if we had . . ."
Me with Gunner . . . he's such a sweetie!

So, while all of that was going on, we had her little buckling to care for . . .

Holding still long enough for me to get a photo of him standing

The first week with him after Chloe died was hard to say the least. He went through something like a depression for the first day or two and then also refused his bottle for the first 5 to 6 days (usually it takes only a few days before an orphan kid accepts the bottle.) The only way we got any milk into him at all was by me holding him still and Leah forcing the nipple of the bottle into his mouth and holding his mouth closed. We made the hole in the nipple large enough that the milk would slowly drip out into his mouth so even though he wouldn't suck, he would swallow the milk that had dripped in. This way he was getting one to two (and sometimes three) ounces in an hour. That is, until he learned that biting down on the nipple stopped the milk flow. :) That presented new challenges!

Dad holding Gunner . . . we know you're not supposed to make pets of bucklings, but for the first few days after Chloe died, Gunner was really having a hard time. It seemed like we were a 'security blanket' for him so to speak so we held him some during those days.

So each day following Chloe's death found Leah and I spending 7 to 8 hours a day (spread out all around the clock) bottle feeding him. Needless to say, we were getting so tired, and a bit discouraged as well, and about to the point of despairing of ever getting him to drink out of a bottle.

Gunner sleeping on Leah

There were many a time when I held him secure in my lap with a hand holding his head while Leah worked to get him to drink from the bottle, and my eyes would close with tiredness and I would pray to the Lord to please help him suck! Time would go by, and I would feel a swallow . . . then maybe the tiniest of sucks . . . then a swallow again. Every swallow felt like a victory!

Up where he is NOT supposed to be! Goats will be goats . . . even if they are indoors!

Finally six days after we began trying to bottle feed him, he started to actually suck on the nipple. Day by day he did better and better and then about two weeks after the day it all began, he was to the point that he would stand on his own four feet and drink the bottle on his own! It still takes him awhile, but he gets the job done. :) We were thrilled that this 'milestone' was reached and so thankful for it!

In the midst of this came introducing him to the girls, too . . .

Dad built a divider in the stall that Rora and Lacy are in so they kids could get used to each other first before putting them together. It worked well!

They were not very nice to him at first, but eventually came to accept him and now he appears to be the dominate one of the three.

Now Gunner is learning to be a goat again and is starting to play with the girls instead of with us. We're trying to be careful with these bottle babies to keep them from thinking they are 'people' instead of goats!

So that has been our adventure the past two weeks . . .
while the first week was pretty rough, the second was more encouraging and was refreshing as well. We were able to get caught up on sleep during that time, and were beginning to see some blessings and how the Lord was working even this, for good.

And all of the effort put out by everyone was successful . . . our little guy is doing great now and before long, all three of the kids (and Sadie, too!) should be able to be moved out of the barn.
Needless to say, I am glad I took a break from blogging as I wouldn't have had time to blog anyway! :)


  1. So sorry to read about the trials you've had to deal with during your break BUT very glad that the Lord has given you the knowledge and resources to cope.
    Very glad to see you back in the blogging world.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that Chloe died!

    I loved the last picture of all three goats, Gunner, Lacy & Rora! They're so cute! I'm looking forward to see the pictures of kids playing outdoors together soon. Will you show the pictures to us? I sure hope so!

  3. Dear Sarah,

    You're the second blog friend I have that has had a goat die recently. I hope that everyone has been able to catch up on their sleep, and that the other goats will be blessed with wonderful health.

    Animals are just like members of the family, aren't they?



  4. I'm so sorry about Chloe. What an unusual occurrence to have take place. Your animals are so blessed to have such loving and gentle caretakers!

    Gunner is adorable!

  5. Hi Sarah,
    At least you found out that you had done all you could, and the problem was something you couldn't help with. We've had that happen with calves and lambs. It's hard, and so sad when they miss their moms, but they do eventually rally and get on with life. Gunner sure is cute; I like that name too. It suits him. :-)
    Blessings to you,

  6. I am sorry to hear about Chloe. Gunner is a very "handsome" buckling. Was very relieved to read that all is well for him. Glad to see you back though and sorry your time off was not more enjoyable.

  7. Oh I am really sorry to hear that Chloe died! It must have been really difficult, but praise the Lord He gave you the wisdom and strength to take care of little Gunner... all the photos of the goats (both Chloe, and the Gunner and the rest) are lovely. They are beautiful kids!

    God bless,

  8. This is a very moving account, Sarah. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of Chloe. Your goats are blessed indeed; your family is so dedicated to caring for them. What a rough week that must have been, but the Lord saw you all through it. It's heartening to see the photo of Gunner with the girls.

  9. I'm so sad for the loss of Chloe but happy that Gunner seems to have settled down (the picture of him with the girls is just darling).

    I would LOVE to have goats, they're one of my favourite animals, but we simply do not have the room to do so. Your blog always makes me smile when I see photos of yours.

  10. Oh, Sarah, I'm so sorry about Chloe. She was such a sweet goat, and a great mother to Gunner. Isn't it so ironic...she has been so healthy, and her delivery was so smooth compared to Sadie, and yet Sadie who had various health issues seems to be doing much better, while Chloe took a turn for the worse. Life is full of unexpected turns sometimes, isn't it?

    It was good to see how much time your family dedicated to pulling little Gunner through his loss. Animals are not people, but they need their mommies too, and I'm sure they suffer the loss when their mothers are not around. So thanks for being a loving security blanket for this sweet buckling!

    Sarah, it was good to hear that you are seeing how the Lord worked this for good. I would enjoy knowing some specific ways you witnessed that, if you could share.

    ~ Betsy

  11. Dear Sarah,

    I am sorry to hear that Chloe died! :( That must have been difficult for your family; I know how much our animals mean to our family.

    Praise the Lord for little Gunner, though. :) He is so sweet.

    Many blessings,

  12. I'm sorry to hear about your goat. :( This summer I had 3 lambs at my house and 2 of them died. :`(

    Would you like to check out my blog?



  13. Poor little Gunner! That seems so sad for him that his mother died. I'm so glad he's finally eating and growing, and that you're able to get some sleep! :)

  14. Sorry to hear about her passing. :o/ Glad that Gunner has pulled through. He and the girls look so cute all together. I'm glad they have each other :o)

  15. I am saddened to hear of Chloe's unexpected passing. So thankful that you have excellent and experienced vets in your area to be of assistance in medical emergencies. I can only imagine the struggle it was those first few days while sweet Gunner grieved. I must say that while the photos of your family snuggling Gunner warm my heart, the picture of him standing on the couch gave me quite a chuckle. I don't think I could ever have any "farm" animals because I would surely turn them into (spoiled)domesticated house pets, which would not be good.
    Also, if you don't mind, I would love to know a bit more about the sewing machine I see peaking out on the left side of Gunner's couch picture. Is it the full machine or just the cabinet? If the machine is still intact, is it operable and used? I have a bit of a fasinaction with these machines and cabinets, as my grandfather's hobby was collecting these Singer machines that were broken and restoring them for resale. I can't help but to smile whenever I come across one as they are special reminders of him. As well, they are quite special to sow on, though lacking many modern conveniences.

  16. Thank you for your kind comment, Mrs. B! We, too, were thankful for the provision of knowledge and resources to be able to handle everything that took place those weeks. Even in relatively ‘little’ things, the Lord is always faithful!

  17. Thank you, Leah. :) I really like the last photo of all three of them as well! It was so cute . . . and it was exciting to see, too, as it was the first time that they actually got along with one another! And yes, once the kids are moved outdoors, I would be happy to share photos of them. And hopefully that will be before too long!

  18. I am sorry to heart that another of your blogging friends lost a goat, Marqueta! Even though they are livestock, it is still hard to lose one. Especially when they are sweet ones! We have been able to catch up on sleep now thankfully, and as of now, all the goats seem to be doing very well. (Save for Sadie as she started to have secondary complications now.)

    Hopefully soon it will be warm enough to move the kids out of the barn as I know they will love romping around in the outdoor pen!

  19. Thank you for your kind words, Rachel! It was really unusual what happened to Chloe . . . the vet told us that in all of her thirteen years of experience (she works at a veterinary teaching hospital), she has never seen anything like it.

    I know you would just love being able to see Gunner in person . . . he’s even cuter then and so playful!

  20. Yes, that was a comfort, Mrs. Anne. With your having to bottle feed orphan calves and lambs before, I am sure that you can relate to our experience! It is hard, but as you shared, eventually they rally and get on with life.

    Thank you for your comment about Gunner! It took a long time to finally decide on a name, but it does seem to suit him well. :)

  21. Thank you, Monica, for your sweet comment! We, too, were so glad when we got through the ‘crisis’ with him, and to see him now doing so well. He’s so energetic, playful and growing quickly!

  22. Thank you, Joy, for your sympathy . . . yes, it was really hard. Yet, we learned so much through it all, and there were some blessings along the way as well. We, too, were so thankful that the Lord helped us with Gunner! As shared in this post, there were times when we almost despaired of him being able to pull through, but our prayers were answered and he did. He’s doing great now!

  23. Thank you for your kind and encouraging comment, Anonymous. What you shared was appreciated! Yes, it was a rough week, and yes, as you shared, the Lord saw us through it all. The last photo of Gunner with the girls is an encouraging one! That was the first time they actually began to get along with one another . . . and now they act like they've been together all along. :)

  24. Thank you for your kind words, Amanda. Gunner is doing so well, and he and Rora and Lacy seem to be great ‘friends’ now. They get along well anyway! :)

    Goats are a lot of fun to have, and maybe someday, you’ll have the room for them. I know that you would enjoy them! And while you aren’t able to have any right now, I am glad that you can enjoy them through things like the photos on my blog. :)

  25. Thank you, Betsy, for your compassionate words! Chloe was a sweet goat, and she’ll be missed. It did seem a little ironic how it all turned out with her and Sadie. It just goes to show how quickly things can change . . . yes, life is full of unexpected turns. What a blessing, though, that we have One who knows it all and sends us only what is best for us!

    Gunner is doing so well now, and looking at him now, it’s almost hard to believe that we went through all of that with him!

    Some of the blessings . . . many of them were ‘little’ things that someone outside of our family probably wouldn’t understand :), but one of the bigger blessings we see is that while Chloe was sweet to people and her kid, she wasn’t to other goats. In fact, she could be kind of a bully to them (which is how Sadie got in the situation she did.) So we had been wondering how we were going to introduce the other goats to her, etc. . . . but now we don’t have to worry about that. So that is one blessing that came from all of this.

  26. Thank you, Mikailah! Yes, it was difficult . . . even though they are livestock, we always get attached to them. It’s also especially difficult seeing them have to suffer. That was probably the hardest part!

    Yes, we are thanking the Lord for how well Gunner is doing! He is sweet, and such a playful little goat, too.

  27. Thank you for your comment, Godsgirlz1! I am sorry to hear about your lambs . . . that would have been hard. I am glad that one of them survived, though!

    Thank you for the invitation to visit your blog!

  28. I know, Joy! I felt so bad for him. All of that is behind us/him now, and he is doing so well!

  29. Thank you for your kind comment, Nabila! Gunner, Rora and Lacy are getting along well with one another now, and hopefully before long, they will be moved outdoors! I know they will really enjoy that. :)

  30. Thank you, Renee, for your compassionate words! We, too, were thankful that we have such excellent and experienced vets. We had read online in many places about how difficult it is to find a veterinarian that is a good goat vet . . . they might know dogs, cats, cattle, horses, etc., but goats are quite different to care for than those animals. So we are so blessed to have vets who know so much about goats!

    Those first few days (or should I say, week :) were hard, but now Gunner is doing so well for which we are thankful. I am glad that you enjoyed all of the photos! And I know what you mean about you likely having the tendency to turn them into pets . . . I could see myself doing that, too! Only practicality reminds me that it isn’t a good idea. :)

    The cabinet to the left in the one photo you mentioned is a singer treadle sewing machine with both the cabinet and the machine. And yes, it works! I have used it several times (which is so enjoyable!) and have hopes of piecing an antique replica quilt on it someday. How neat that your grandfather would collect the old singers and restore them! And with memories like that, seeing one would be a special reminder for you. Do you have one yourself?


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)