Saturday, April 13, 2013

A New Herdmate

     On valentines day this year I had to put 2 of my goats to sleep. My old mama Zecilly and her son One. Zecilly had slowly developed arthritis over the years, and last winter it got to where she could no longer stand. I helped her around for about a month, carrying her front end in a sling so she could get outside or inside. I put off the inevitable for months, nursing her along as long as she was happy and eating.

     Meanwhile One had developed bone cancer, most noticeably in his lower jaw. He had trouble eating, so I switched him to a soft alfalfa hay and pellets. After awhile he could no longer eat those, and became noticeably uncomfortable. So I called and made him an appointment with my vet, and almost immediately Zecilly stopped eating.

     It crushed me to take them in. But I couldn't let them suffer either. So on Valentines day Two became an only goat.

     He seemed to handle it quite well, he hung out with the alpacas like they were family and was mostly Ok. It didn't seem odd until you'd see him laying out in the rain (which goats hate like it's hell's own acid that falling from the sky) to be with his alpacas. I'd go out and he'd be soaked, shivering, and miserable; but they refused to go in the barn and so he stayed with them. So I began locking everyone in the barn in bad weather, which mostly served to piss the alpacas off more then anything.

     Two is older, and has arthritis in his hind legs. It doesn't usually bother him much, he gimps a bit in cold wet weather but that's about all. But after awhile he started coming up lame more and more often, rather then napping in the sun he was spending the day chasing after the alpacas. Way too much movement and running for old goat joints. Alpacas are not very considerate friends.

     I don't want more goats. I love my goats- too much frankly. The thought of more goats who are not Zecilly and One makes me cry every time I think about it. I couldn't handle looking for another goat, but it was becoming obvious Two couldn't handle alpaca friends. So I tried to have him befriend the horses. In his younger years Two loved the horses. When Cody was new and sickly, the goats slept with him and cared for him. Two used to bully him out of his feed bowl and play chase games with him in the pasture. Cody could be Two's new friend again.

     But Cody wasn't a good friend for the same reasons as the alpacas. He runs too much, he plays too hard. He didn't want to nap in the sun all day. And poor Two started showing more signs for wearing out and not being able to keep up with the others.

     So I was stuck needing a friend. I put out word I was looking for a crippled old goat for a friend to my crippled old goat, because he really didn't need a young goat full of piss and vinegar to try to handle! I got plenty of offers for young goats, but nothing that would just like to nap in the sun and accompany Two in retirement.

     Sunday my alpacas were leaving to be pasture boarded at a friends house so they could be fat and sassy on grass for the summer, which they will love all to bits. And poor Two. He was going to loose the closest things to friends he had, crappy friends though they were.

     So I started hunting the internet for goats or sheep for sale. Surely somewhere! I called a few people, and everyone was happy to sell me baby goats or baby sheep! But it seems most had gotten rid of their older stock because the hay shortage, nobody had old anything.

     David suggested Craigslist. I poshed at him, I never find anything on craigslist! I had a few more places to try before I gave up and bought a baby goat, I planned to call them the next day. Awhile later he called me over to the computer, someone had a polled mini ewe for sale, 3 years old.

     I wrote the gal for information, and we went to see her the next day.

     This tiny sheep was a nurse/friend for the womans baby goats! She used her as a pasture buddy for babies, but had moved her goats and now this little sheep was by herself with no job. She was super calm, sweet, tiny, and loved goats!

     Needless to say, I had found a friend! We loaded her in the back seat of the car, and came home (with a stop at Smiths for a bag of sweet feed so she'd make friends with me too).

     So now little Miss No-Name Sheep is hanging out in the barn with Mr. Two, becoming friends. I explained to her that her only job was to be sweet to him and she'd have all the food she wanted and a warm place to live for all her days. Plus, I will get wool next year! The benefits abound!

     The tag in her ear must go, it's making me twitchy, but I'll wait until she is settled in and happy here. I don't know her breed, she's tiny compared to most the sheep I've dealt with, and especially tiny next to Two.

     They will have their own small pasture and stall, so nobody can bug them or pick on Two. They can eat and sunbathe all day and rest arthritic joints in cushy retirement. I couldn't be happier with finding her, and I pray she and Two fall madly in love and are the best of friends. And double awesome points to David for digging about on craigslist until he found a perfect Two-companion candidate. My heart wasn't handling it, and he found a real tiny sweet sheep gem for my giant sweet old goat. :)

1 comment:

  1. Great Story. You saved both of them. David you are a Hero too. Love to read your post. hugs