The plan was to just have one goat for milk, plus the flock of sheep. That was the plan last fall when we decided to get a milk goat, and then we ended up with two. It was also the plan when those two didn’t work out and we found a new goat to replace them. But, alas, apparently we are meant to have two goats, not just one.
Our new (planned to be the only) goat, Fern, arrived Wednesday afternoon and was definitely a bit put-off by the sheep. But we figured she would settle in as the previous goats have. But by Friday she had stopped eating completely, was constantly pacing the barnyard crying, and was downright miserable. We took her temp and called the vet and we all determined it was stress and loneliness, not some illness. What to do? What to do? We tried tempting her to eat with all sorts of yummy offerings, but she still wouldn’t eat.
The concern with ruminants (animals who have a rumen-based digestive system, includes cows, goats, sheep, etc) is that if they stop eating the bacteria in their rumen gets out of whack and their rumen stops working. Once it stops working they can’t digest anymore and will die. So ruminants can’t go long without eating, you need to keep the rumen going. The vet said if she didn’t eat by Saturday morning we needed to call him back.
We called the breeder and all decided the answer was that she needed a goat friend. We could send her back, but we really want a milk goat. So, to make a long story short, we bought her 2-year-old daughter and put her with her Friday late afternoon.
It was quite adorable because they were rubbing all over each other like cats and Fern definitely seemed happier. By dinner Friday they both were munching happily on some hay.
The kids named our new goat addition Clover. She is currently milking, so we have even more fresh milk, which is nice.
So, yet again, the plan of one goat turned into two. Two new goats in a couple days time. But two milking goats is better than none, and sometimes our plans don’t go as we expected. Always an adventure!