“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 30, 2011

Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.
                                                                                                     …Anatole France

A week ago, Snoopy lost her right side horn. A goats horn is not an antler that sheds, but a bone that is part of its skull covered with keratin. So when this outer shell of keratin came off, it exposed a 3” bone. It started to bleed. Bad.

I am not sure why this happened. I was holding her by her horns at the time, which I do every once in a while to get her under control when she gets stubborn and swipes at me or tries to butt me.

You might ask why I would want an animal that would swipe at me with its horns or try to butt me? I don’t really think of it that way. Dogs nip, cats scratch, bees sting, horses kick, roosters spur, and people do atrocious things to other people….goats butt - its the way it is. I can accept animals for what they are…people are a whole other story that I won’t go into here. But animals do what they do – we call it instinct, but more times than not, I call it their “personality”. To me, a head butt is no different than a bee sting or a cat scratch. It goes with sharing space.

Anyway, I had a grip on both horns – one in each hand - and she shook her head in revolt. The next thing I remember was that I was holding a horn but not Snoopy. Snoopy was running off to her little “dog converted to goat” house. I just stared.

I can’t even begin to describe my shock. Still can’t. Snoops was bleeding and I was left holding an unattached horn in my hand.

I got to my phone and texted Dr. Beth, the vet, right away. Within the hour, she and the other two vets in the practice got back to us confirming to do basic first aid, and that this type of accident was rare, but happens. Basic first aid was smearing an anti-biotic gel called furistan over the bone and wrapping it – it sounds easy, but trying to subdue a goat on a good day is hard enough, but one in some pain was almost impossible. By the time the struggle was over, I was bruised and bleeding in places. But the bottom line was that at Snoops bleeding was  stopped and her bone was wrapped.

The following evening we checked with the vet again because Snoop seemed to be in a lot of pain. She was glassy eyed and seemed removed. Dr. Beth prescribed a drug called banamine that would relieve the pain and inflammation. Dr. Beth asked us to check the bone to see if any infection had begun, and if it had, she would give us an antibiotic.

Snoop was very uncooperative, but we were able to get her wrapping off and check it out – no infection. Re wrapping the bone was another exhausting wrestling match for all of us, and it took a lot of patience and attempts to finish. It was after 8pm before we started for the vet. It would be a two hour round trip ride to pick up three syringes of banamine from the vet’s porch.

We got home pretty late. But that night, while I held the flashlight, Kath crawled halfway into the goat house and pinched Snoops skin and gave her the first shot. The next day Snoop was not as glass eyed and lethargic. She began eating a bit – we fed her grain and raisins (and gum drops) and gave her blue Gatorade to drink. After three days of banamine, she seemed to be a lot better, but still not herself –alert to us, but not very feisty.

Its now been a week and a half since the injury and Snoop continues to do better. Her bone is healing, and she is getting a bit of energy back. She’d still rather stay in her house because, I think, its instinct for an injured animal to hide. I take her out by leash every evening whether she wants to go or not, to get her back into our routine of being in the fields and around the stable. And she gets a lot of garden treats to eat when she’s out with me – chard, tomatoes, leek and onion leaves, and her new favorite, French cut beans.

She’s still far from being “normal”. It seems as soon as she begins to get active, its time to check her injury and the unwrapping and wrapping gets her unnerved, so its almost back to square one of her staying in her box. Soon I think the healing will be enough to leave the bone unwrapped, which should make her more comfortable.

I think about it all – last year Lou cut his eye, Zip foundered, Patrick needed dental work; this year Lou had the allergic reaction and now Snoop and her horn. It’s the way it goes. I just thank God for the bond between us all that keeps the trust and love going through every experience – good or bad. Don’t know what I would do without any of these guys. I just keep praying that soon everyone will be alright….

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15, 2011

Sam peeking out from the eggplant.
Quiet has come to the farm….without Bj crowing every two minutes the tension that comes with this noise has dissipated. The hens are more friendly; Sam waddles around me again as I garden, scratching for worms, or “wait looking” at me for a tomato handout. The other gals just relax under the brambles in hollowed out dirt beds they make by scratching out a dish-like space. And there is one girl who has found out a passage though the garden fence and like a loyal sentry, every evening walks up and down each vegetable row searching out bugs.

Its nice too, that I don’t have to keep a watch over my shoulder, ever anticipating the ruffle of feathers and the pain of being spurred; or being concerned that he might go after any of the farms helpers or visitors.

But this is all temporary.

In our new flock of partridge rocks, one chicken stands out from the others – it has a big red comb and long yellow legs. It is a bit taller than the others, and its feathers are darker and don’t show the tipped penciling trait. It’s just a matter of time now before this guy’s voice will betray him. Yet still, I have no plan…

My stubbornness drives a hope that this time the rooster will be a quiet one, friendly, and just blend into the background of quiet hens. 

Hopes like these are called “wishful thinkin’”. 

The next Roo

Lou couldn't care less about any of this....