The Dichotomy of Farm Life

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.

6 thoughts on “The Dichotomy of Farm Life

  1. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your goat kid but I am glad you wrote this article. We had a 5 week old kid die last year over night and were flabbergasted as to what could have happened.L He was fine when he went into the stall at night and dead in the morning. There were no abrupt diet changes and no behavior to indicate he was sick. Your informative post gave me an insight into what could have happened. So thank you for the post and I’m sorry you lost a cute addition to your farm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad it could help. The vet told us that with enterotoxemia most people just find a dead kid or lamb because it goes so fast. So it definitely seems possible that it is what killed yours.

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  2. We lost a goat the same way several years ago. In our case, friend’s children overfed it, having no idea what they were doing. It was very devastating to all of us. You are right, farm life (in our case rural living minus the farming part) is not for the faint of heart. Sorry you lost such a sweetie.

    Liked by 1 person

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