Farm life is such a roller-coaster of ups and downs. Success and failure. Gain and loss. And it can change so quickly, leaving us feeling polar-opposite emotions in a very short span of time.
Yesterday we woke to the cheeping of newly hatched baby chicks. An excellent hatch of 7 out of 9 eggs. Eve had set on 4 of them (3 hatched) and we had 5 in the incubator (4 hatched) which we put under Eve once they were out of their eggs. Eve was happily mothering them and we were all very excited.
By midday that excitement was gone when we found our little one-month-old goat kid, Pearl, very sick in the barnyard. Despite our best efforts and help from the vet, by mid-afternoon Pearl was dead and we were all emotionally crushed. The exact cause is unknown, but with the symptoms, and how quickly she died, the vet thinks it was enterotoxemia. It is basically a shift in gut flora that causes the clostridium bacteria that are always present to turn into an out-of-hand infection. It kills fast and whether you can save them or not is totally hit or miss. We caught it early, but it didn’t save her. The vet said there wasn’t anything we did to cause this specific situation. It is usually caused with changes in feed or overeating, neither of which happened with Pearl. She was fine at 9am, obviously sick at 11am, and dead by 3pm. It was terrible and a very difficult experience. We let Pansy spend some time with her after she was gone so she would know.
Farm life is not for the faint of heart. Watching a baby goat die and not being able to do anything that helped, watching my daughter’s heart break (it was her goat), and then watching the mama goat pace the yard crying out left me crawling into bed feeling raw and defeated. We are pulling together as a family as we process this loss. But in farm life there isn’t much time to stop. Life keeps going. Animals need to be fed, milked, and you still have to get up the next day and tend those cute baby chicks that hatched yesterday. The practical has to be dealt with, which for this situation means transitioning our schedule to milking Pansy twice-a-day and continuing to move forward while we nurse our hurting hearts.
Farming can be quite the dichotomy of experiences and emotions.