We’re facing a tough dilemma this morning. While out in the barn at about 6:30am, feeding the various animals, I stumbled over a couple of little newborn goat kids. They were still wet, and were barely moving, but were definitely alive. As it was about 25 degrees in the barn (and near zero outside), my first thought was getting these poor things warmed up.
I found a cardboard box, put some loose hay in it, and made the two kids comfortable in front of the fire. They bleated and cried at first, which is a good thing, and then they got quiet and went to sleep.
Once Homeschooled Farm Girl awakened, she went out to the barn and identified the mother goat. It’s a small little runt of a doe, and I believe this is her first delivery. I had HFG move the doe to a separating pen, because that’s the only way we’ll have any hope of putting these kids on her.
My plan is to get the kids warmed up, get some milk into their stomachs, and see if they can stand on their own legs. If not (and one of them is so small, I have serious doubts), they’re going to have to be put down. If we can get them strong enough to stand and walk today, we’ll try to get the doe to take them and bond with them in the separating pen. But if not…
All of this is a super-duper long shot. I don’t expect either of these kids to make it, and maybe I should’ve just put them down when I found them half-frozen in the barn. But here’s the thing: they’re here. They’re alive. They’re our responsibility. And by our way of thinking, we have an obligation to give these two of God’s tiniest creatures a fair shot at survival.
We’ve seen this “movie” a number of times, and know how it ends 99% of the time: the kids don’t get strong enough to stand, or the runt doe doesn’t take them, or we bottle feed them to maturity only to discover they’re so structurally unhealthy that there was a reason the doe rejected them. But I think we owe the Filmmaker enough to at least sit through the opening credits.
It’s not the happiest part about having a farm or raising livestock. But, really, what else could we do?