Saturday, March 31, 2018

Sad Day on Good Friday

You may remember our goat Holly.

We drove down to Kentucky to pick her up. She had been bottle fed, and the Bear wondered if the man was going to be able to go through with the adoption. She rode back in his lap. Such things are not uncommon in Zoar.

We are up to 20 goats now. Many are descendants of Holly, her children and grandchildren. She was sweet, but would stand her ground against Fox. She was the leader, the queen and the favorite.

Yesterday, she got into trouble delivering a pair of kids. Red Death is not squeamish and knows how to get in and position a kid in the birth canal. She has handled several difficult deliveries. This time, however, nature had played a cruel trick. The kids were post term and big. The first one didn’t make it, but proved impossible to dislodge. There are gruesome expedients, but there was neither room nor time.

Holly exhausted herself and the necessary .40 caliber decision had to be made.

We’ve been lucky, plus Red Death knows her business. We have lost a few kids, but fought for and saved more. This was really hard on her, though. Not just losing a favorite pet, but it was a desperate fight she lost and had to end herself. Bear can only imagine.

There’s probably a lesson to be drawn. But the Bear would feel like one of Job’s insensitive and foolish friends trying to draw one.

Farm life puts you close to life and death. You pay for the joy of holding a newborn kid or gathering fresh eggs from your familiar hens. The coin is sudden death. Fox is still the ancient foe and death watches unseen not only when we leave this world, but sometimes when we enter.

Yet, we still have kids frolicking in the pasture. Bear likes to just watch them; his personal goatquarium. Goats have a surprising amount of personality. The ones we had to bottle feed because their mothers rejected them are especially fun. A couple days ago, one of our twin sons said a kid “teleported” through the fence to run up to him. Little ones stay where they belong more because they like the company.

Bottle babies, however, prefer humans.

Like Holly.


  1. All good goats go to heaven.
    I love farms, as many people do, but I know for sure I don't have the necessary toughness for those issues. The older I get, the more soft and mushy about creatures, they're just so deserving in so many ways, and they give so much while asking for so little.
    I'm sorry for your pain. Please pass along my condolences to Red Death. In heaven you can hope to get your Holly back. Why not.
    Happy Easter Bear.

  2. Sorry for the loss. Sounds like you have the right attitude for raising animals.

    Happy Easter!

  3. So sorry. Hard to find the words. I feel for Red Death. Tell her I’m sorry for her loss and yours as well.

  4. Having lived on a dairy farm for decades, I can sympathize. Dairy Holsteins always need help; their genetics are just too messed up. So each involved rope and a jack. Trust me, it was not always pretty, and the barn gun was employed occasionally. Of course, they weren't exactly pets, but still. Send my condolences to Red.

  5. So sorry to hear this. Have been away from your blog for a bit. Never had any get stuck, but did have a big alpine doe go lame. While she was down, her tendons drew up. Vet told me after five days, they don't come back. We were able to deliver the three kids she had in her, but she never did get back up, despite moving her and moving her legs every day. Had to put her down too. Part of the sadness that comes with the joy of goats.


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