Stretching Hay

We’re getting to that time of year when everything is shutting down. The pasture is basically gone, so we’re no longer bothering to take the goats out during the day to graze. That means they’re confined to a fenced area near their part of the barn, with access to the barn itself if they prefer to be inside. With the weather getting increasingly gray and cold, I don’t blame them for wanting to stay in.

However, they still need to eat. The milkers get a good ration of grain twice a day, and we feed some hay to the whole herd at the beginning and end of the day (at the same times we bring hay down for the sheep). The middle of the day is the problem. Our hay supply is limited, especially so this year because we didn’t get more than one cutting (a confluence of a couple of problems, including weather and being overdue for more fertilizer). We did buy quite a few bales from other farmers, so if we’re vigilant we should have enough to make it through the winter. There just isn’t a lot of extra.

Although the hay didn’t get long enough for an additional cutting, there is some good growth out there. I’d love to be able to turn the animals loose to graze it, but the hay field isn’t fenced. They’d be in our neighbor’s yard (and then all over the county) in the blink of an eye. And yet I hate to see all that nice grass go to waste. If we leave it, it’ll just die back over the winter and be lost.

Our solution: since we can’t take the goats to the hay field … we’ll take the hay field to the goats! Our push mower has a detachable grass catcher, which is the primary tool we need. (I wish we had one of those giant bagger attachments we could attach to our lawn tractor, but we don’t. So, it’s the push mower or nothing.) Some of the older kids and I take turns running it up and down the hay field, stopping every so often to empty the grass catcher into a wheelbarrow. Once the wheelbarrow is full, we leave the mower out in the field and run the wheelbarrow over to the fence of the goat area.

What’s funny is that we’ve been doing this for so many days now, the goats have learned that when the mower fires up … they get fed! They tend to hang out inside the barn most of the time. Then, once I get the mower running, they come stampeding out. By the time I fill the wheelbarrow and reach their feeder, they’re impatiently wondering what’s been taking me so long. As soon as I begin stuffing handfuls of grass clippings into their feeder, they’re literally climbing all over each other to get it.

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We fill the feeder a couple of times, and leave the rest in the wheelbarrow. There’s usually enough left for another feeding, which we try to give them about an hour later. Then it’s off to cut some more grass.

With the kids taking turns with me, it’s not too much of a burden. And for me, it’s a nice break from the work I do in my office. It gets me out and moving in the fresh air, which usually helps clear my head nicely before returning to work. The only days we don’t run the mower is when it’s raining or snowing steadily. Then, it’s back to stored hay.

We’ve had a good string of days lately where we’ve been able to cut. Hopefully we’ll get plenty more before the dead of winter arrives next month.

 

Easter Goat Update

Things are settling down after our Easter Sunday goat kid adventure. The kid spent the night in my office, and then on Monday morning we moved him to the barn with his mother. They’ve been together in a separating pen, to facilitate their bonding. It’s a lot easier on them if the rest of the herd isn’t constantly walking through and causing disruptions.

The biggest problem was that the kid never nursed immediately after his delivery. He did take a bottle of colostrum, which was good, but he needed to figure out how to get his milk directly from his mother. We weren’t even sure if Thistle would take care of him at this point.

Homeschooled Farm Girl went out several times on Monday and Tuesday, physically putting the kid on one of Thistle’s teats. Fortunately, he got the hang of it quickly. Even better, Thistle stood steady while he took the milk. By Wednesday morning when I came out for chores, he was on a teat and suckling all by himself. That was a big relief. The process doesn’t always go this smoothly.

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There was another potential problem, however. While putting the kid on a teat Monday, HFG noticed that Thistle’s birth canal appeared to have prolapsed somewhat as a result of the delivery. I looked at it, and agreed. The same thing had happened to one of our other goats; the vet was able to get it back in and sew it in place, and that goat was able to breed again without issue.

Tuesday morning, Mrs. Yeoman Farmer ran Thistle to the vet. By the time he looked at Thistle, the goat’s vulva had largely drawn itself back inside. The vet said it definitely had prolapsed, but was fixing itself — so wasn’t going to need medical intervention. He gave us some advice for getting her cleaned up and continuing to make sure it healed properly, and charged us just $25 for the visit.

Although it was sad that Thistle’s other goat kid was stillborn, that does mean she has plenty of milk for her surviving kid — and for our family. HFG has begun milking her twice a day, and we’re getting around a quart each time.

Thistle Milk

One last note about Thistle: a couple of years ago, she had a really nasty growth of some sort in her left eye. We took her to the vet (same one), and he said the eye was already ruined. The only real treatment was to remove the eyeball before the growth spread. Apparently, popping an eyeball out is a pretty simple surgical procedure (who knew?). He then sewed Thistle’s eyelid closed, to protect the empty socket. She was back with the herd in no time.

Does she look funny? Absolutely! But at least she’s now very easy to catch. All you have to do is approach her from the left rear. She can’t see you coming. She’s a very gentle goat, quite milky, and easy to milk. I’m relieved she’s doing so well after this latest scare, and back on her feet. Here’s hoping we get to keep our “one-eyed goat” in the herd for many more years.

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Easter Sunday Surprise

Hope all of you had as nice of an Easter as our family did. We enjoyed spectacular 68-degree weather over at my father in law’s house; Homeschooled Farm Girl and I took full advantage of it and got out on our bikes for a 26-mile ride. Most of all, we had a great time hanging out with family and soaking in the sunshine.

We got home around 7:30pm or so, and I went more or less straight to the barn. Several of our sheep have been looking painfully pregnant and wanting to deliver, as was one of our goats. There were still no lambs, but the goat (Thistle) was lying down like she was in labor. She wasn’t yet actively pushing, so I did the rest of my chores and made a mental note to check her again later.

“Later” didn’t take long. After about 30 minutes of trying to relax with an NCAA tournament basketball game, I was interrupted with news from HFG: Thistle had the head of a goat kid sticking out of her, and the delivery wasn’t making any progress.

I hustled to the barn. HFG and I took a closer look at Thistle’s rear end, and quickly discovered the problem. In a normal delivery, the kid’s forefeet come out with the head. This kid’s little hooves were nowhere to be found. It was just his head. I tried gently tugging on his head, but he was clearly stuck. With his feet not leading the way, his shoulders were too big to make it into the birth canal. Fortunately, the kid was moving his head, so we knew he was still alive.

There’s only one way to fix this problem: reach in and find his front feet. I rolled up my sleeve, slipped my hand into the birth canal, and worked my way down the kid’s chest. Thistle was extremely unhappy, but I told her she could thank me later. Finally, I found what I was feeling around for: a leg. I pulled it up, and worked the hoof into the birth canal with the head. Then I put my hand back in and did the same with his other leg. HFG and I tugged on this package of head-and-feet, and an instant later the whole kid was out. While I was at it, I pulled the afterbirth out as well.

Thankfully, the kid was alive. I put him near Thistle’s head, but she wasn’t interested in licking him off. Way too tired. HFG and I took him in the house, and washed off all the barn gunk (and slimy amniotic residue) that we could. He was still kind of slimy, but reasonably clean. I wrapped him up in a raggedy old bath towel, and started drying him off.

We took him out to my office building, still wrapped in the towel. As we watched more NCAA basketball, I continued drying him off. He was pretty tired, but seemed healthy. No broken or twisted limbs. Good size. Responsive.

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The yellowish amniotic gunk was proving to be pretty stubborn, and wouldn’t come off with a simple toweling. Normally, the mother goat would do this job. Figuring that “a tongue is a tongue,” I set him down on my office floor to see what the dogs would do. Floyd, the border collie, immediately sprang into action (the livestock care / herding instincts these dogs have is unbelievable). Floyd began licking the little kid all over. Aggressively. From every angle.

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After a while, I was able to stand the kid up. His legs were steady enough so he could remain standing for Floyd’s clean-job:

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Floyd was especially interested in getting at the bloody umbilical cord stump:

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While Floyd continued working, HFG and I went back to the barn to check on Thistle. She hadn’t gotten up, so we helped her to her feet. She stood just fine, but didn’t seem interested in walking around or eating. I brought a bucket of clean water to her. She drank some, but not much. From her size and lethargy, it was pretty clear there was another goat kid still to come — but she wasn’t acting like she was in a hurry to push it out. I gave her 10cc of Bovi Sera, and 12cc of B-complex. I then went back to the office, and gave a couple of cc’s of Bovi Sera to the kid. (Bovi Sera is an OTC, injectable immune system booster that we keep on hand for these kinds of situations. It’s a cheaper alternative to goat serum.)

HFG milked as much colostrum as she could out of Thistle. We ended up getting about a cup, which wasn’t bad. I found an old 2.75oz feeding bottle and nipple that Little Miss Sweetness had used as an infant. We filled it with colostrum, I wrapped the kid in a fresh towel, and then I got comfortable on the couch in my office. He sucked down the whole bottle in short order. I refilled it, and he took some more — about 4oz, or half a cup, altogether. I was very pleased.

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As a brief aside: I bought that sweatshirt in December of 1986, the day I got my acceptance letter from Northwestern. It was the only one I could find in Seattle. If you’d told me then that, nearly 30 years later, I would (1) still own that sweatshirt, (2) live on a farm, and (3) be wearing that sweatshirt while I bottle-fed a goat … I’m sure I would’ve laughed until I passed out.

Okay, back to the story. Floyd eventually finished with the goat kid, and the kid got sleepy. I made him comfortable in a large box in my office. Sometime after 11pm, I checked on Thistle again. Still no sign of another kid, and she still wasn’t getting up and standing on her own. I tried leading her to a separating pen, but she refused to go. I was concerned about her, but there wasn’t much else I could do. I couldn’t sit in the barn with her all night. I made her comfortable in a corner of the main goat area, and then called it a night.

Early this morning, when I came out to do chores, I checked on her first. She’d indeed delivered another kid, but it was stillborn. I helped her up, and she was getting around significantly better. She even went to the closest feeder, and began nibbling on some hay. I disposed of the dead kid, and then took care of the rest of the animals. No lambs yet, but they should start dropping soon. The ewes sure look ready.

Back in my office, I took the kid from the box and stood him up. He urinated, which was a very welcome sign. I then left him alone on the carpet and just watched him for awhile. He struggled several times to get to his feet by himself, and kept toppling over. I resisted the urge to intervene; he had to figure out how to do this. And, eventually, he did. He would try a few tentative steps, and then topple over. He’d cry, struggle, and then get up and try again. All of this was excellent, and very heartening.

What wasn’t heartening was his disinterest in more colostrum. I tried several times to get the nipple in his mouth, but he wouldn’t take more than a swallow or two. I turned him over to Homeschooled Farm Girl. She’d moved Thistle to a separating pen, with her own feed and water. She put the goat kid in with him, making sure to physically latch him on to an nipple. He’s still getting the hang of it. HFG will continue going out until we know he’s got it figured out. In the meantime, she’s also milking some colostrum from Thistle.

There’s nothing quite like Easter on the farm…

T-3 Countdown

It’s looking like days are now numbered for T-3’s stay in my office.

In the days since my initial post about her, the little goat kid who was once on death’s door has continued to thrive. She’s drinking more milk than ever, and isn’t shy about letting me know she’s hungry. As a result, she’s growing very nicely. Definitely putting on weight, and is extremely healthy and energetic.

So, what’s the problem? Why are her days numbered?

In short, she’s now figured out how to do this:

pretty much at will, any time she feels like it. Yes, it’s fun having her hop up and climb onto me when I stretch out to read a book or watch TV. But I’ve already caught her trying to piddle on the couch…and if she ever succeeds in soaking the cushions, that’s going to be a problem.

So far, she’s not terribly interested in jumping up unless there’s a person on the couch to be with. Or a dog.

But sometimes, it seems she just wants to be “up.” Because, you know, that’s just What. Goats. Do. There’s a reason why they’re not house pets.

We’ll probably give her a few more days to bulk up, and then begin transitioning her to the barn. It’ll depend on the weather, of course. I’m not going to put her out there if the temps drop into the single digits. But if we get a reasonably mild stretch (at least by January-in-Michigan standards), we’ll definitely make the move.

Here We Go(at) Again

Looks like my office building is back to being Goat Central Station.

Francesco, the kid who arrived just before Thanksgiving, is thriving. Shortly after putting up the blog post about him, Francesco began going all “mountain goat” on my furniture. I can tolerate a lot of goat piddle on the vinyl floor, but not on the couch. Given how big and strong he was getting, and how easily he was jumping onto everything at will, it was clear that he was ready to get demoted from Pet Goat back to Plain Old Goat. He’s been living in the barn, with the rest of the herd, for well over a month now. Still getting bottle-fed, but he’s also been trying out some hay and grain. He remains huge, and beautiful, and we have high hopes for him as a future breeder.

Just as I was settling in and enjoying having the office to myself (and the truly domesticated pets), we had a most untimely arrival. About a week ago, a bitter cold front plowed through, dropping the temps into single digits and below. Naturally, that’s exactly when one of our other does decided to deliver her goat kid.

Fortunately, our twelve year old was making regular trips to the barn to feed Francesco — so he found the poor little thing before it froze to death. She was laying in a heap, soaking wet, coated in afterbirth, and unable to stand. She was also very small; much smaller than Francesco, and even smaller than most newborn kids. Clearly, her mother goat had written her off as hopeless; she hadn’t even bothered licking the little one dry.

Our first thought was to use towels and a blow dryer to get her cleaned up. It quickly became obvious that this wouldn’t be enough, however. The barn was simply way too cold, and the kid couldn’t stand on her own feet when we tried to set her upright. Plus, it was doubtful she’d ever nurse from her mother goat. Bottom line was that even completely dry, she wouldn’t last the night out there in the barn.

That left only one option: spirit her into my office building and get her comfortable in a cardboard box next to the heater. Within a couple of hours, she was almost completely dry. Problem was, though, she was still too small and weak to stand. Every time I tried setting her on her feet, her gangly legs buckled and collapsed.

We knew she needed to eat, so Homeschooled Farm Girl and I returned to the barn to try getting some colostrum from Mother Goat. Unfortunately, this was a fairly young doe and her udder was barely enlarged. Plus, her teats were very small. HFG couldn’t express more than a few drops.

Plan B. I warmed up a large bottle of plain goat milk for Francesco, and tried giving some to the new goat kid before going out to feed him. Given how weak she was, I wasn’t sure she’d have the strength to suck much down. Fortunately, she proved me wrong. Once the first bit of warm milk hit her tongue, she was off to the races. Started sucking like crazy, and took the better part of that large bottle — several ounces worth. Happily, I refilled the bottle for Francesco.

The next morning, the Yeoman Farm Children managed to get about a cup of colostrum out of the new mother goat. And another cup that evening. I began feeding that liquid gold to the kid, and she impressed me with her sucking ability.

Not, however, with her standing ability. Try as I might, I couldn’t get her to support her own weight. And I tried several times that day and into the next. Finally (I can’t remember how long it took), she began balancing unsteadily before collapsing. Then she began taking a few tentative steps. Because my office floor is so slick, she mostly just scooted around. She especially liked scooting into small, confined spaces, like around HFG’s bicycle that’d been set up on an indoor trainer. I think she liked the sense of security, and having what felt like a “safe place”. Just had to make sure HFG always looks carefully before using the bike!

Finally, very slowly, the new kid’s number of tentative steps increased. Then increased more. Now, about at about a week old, she’s getting around my office completely at will. This is a much slower pace than Francesco’s, but I couldn’t care less. She’s healthy, getting strong, growing larger, and looks like she’s going to make it. (Plus, the mother goat’s milk has kicked in and we’re getting a pretty good supply.) I don’t even mind cleaning up the goat kid’s piddle puddles, because those puddles tell me her whole little system is working.

Once she was out of the woods, Mrs Yeoman Farmer and I told the children that they could name the new kid. After trying out several that wouldn’t work, they settled on a placeholder: T-3.

Where did THAT come from? She’s the third kid to be born in the most recent crop or wave of goats. (Francesco was #2, and shortly before him was Goat Burger … guess which one we were planning to keep, and which we planned to send to the freezer?) In the spirit of the Cat in the Hat, these kids could be thought of as Thing One, Thing Two, and now…Thing Three. Or T-3 for short. Eventually she’ll have to get a better name than that; when you have this many animals to name, sometimes it takes a while to settle on something that hasn’t already been used.

She’s quickly becoming “one of the gang” here in my office.

I’m looking forward to enjoying her company for the next couple of weeks. At least until she decides to go all mountain goat on my furniture…at which point she will get demoted back to the barn.

Just in time, no doubt, for a T-4 to come join the party here in Goat Central Station.

Not Such a Bummer

Raise sheep or goats long enough, and you’re sure to get the occasional “bummer” — a newborn which, for whatever reason, doesn’t get nursed by his or her own mother. Any time we have lambs or goat kids, we pay close attention to the bond the newborn is developing with Mom. The overwhelming majority of the time, things work out great. But when they don’t, it’s important to have the bottles and nipples ready.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving (November 23), we came home from a day with relatives to discover a newborn goat kid in the barn. His mother goat had licked him off, and he was perfectly dry. That’s usually a good sign. He was up and moving around nicely – another good sign. He was quite large, and beautiful. We didn’t actually see him nurse, but he seemed content. For her part, the mother seemed to be doing fine as well. It was her first kidding, and she seemed to have taken it in stride. Other than what appeared to be a little bit of afterbirth protruding from her rear end, she looked no different than she had that morning.

Monday morning, however, it was clear something wasn’t right. The goat kid was bleating like he was hungry, and yet we couldn’t get him fastened on to a nipple. His mother’s udder was very full, another sign that he hadn’t been nursing. Plus, Mom’s “afterbirth” hadn’t come out the rest of the way, so we gave it a closer look. It appeared that her birth canal had actually prolapsed somewhat during the delivery. We’d never had this happen before, to any of our sheep or goats, so it came as quite a surprise.

Concerned about infection, we immediately called the vet. Mrs. Yeoman Farmer arranged for the goat to be seen, and in the meantime Homeschooled Farm Girl milked all the colostrum out that she could. We took the goat kid to my office, and used a small syringe to squirt colostrum into his mouth. He was definitely hungry, and lapped the stuff up eagerly.

Given how nasty cold the weather was getting, we decided it would be best to leave the goat kid in my office for the time being.

The box proved a little small, but was a good try

Mrs. Yeoman Farmer took the mother goat to the vet, who diagnosed a prolapsed vagina. Fortunately, it was a fairly straightforward fix, and he said it shouldn’t recur in future kiddings. He got everything put back in place, stitched it securely, and MYF drove the goat home.

We tried again to get the kid to nurse, but it clearly wasn’t going to happen. Despite his obvious hunger, he wouldn’t go on the teat. And Mom, for her part, didn’t want to stand still for him anyway. With all the stress of birthing complications, and the trip to the vet, it appeared that their bond was permanently broken. Bummer.

Homeschooled Farm Girl again milked out all the colostrum she could; we put it in a bottle, and fed it to the kid in my office. He got the hang of the nipple right away, and sucked the stuff down with gusto. Our kids named him “Francesco,” in honor of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals.

With the weather not looking any better, I didn’t have the heart to leave Francesco out in the barn. My office building has an old vinyl floor, which has seen more pet accidents than I can count, and cleans up well enough. Besides, with two farm dogs and a cat already living out here…what difference would another little animal make? I decided to let him stay until he gets big enough to go all “mountain goat” on my furniture and/or starts leaving goat pellets all over the place. Then, he will get transitioned to the barn. We’re hoping that being bottle-fed will make him more docile and manageable, and therefore a safer adult breeding buck to keep on the property long-term.

Three days old. Decided the collie was more comfortable than his box.

On Thanksgiving Day, he was only five days old. We were planning to be gone all day visiting family, which created a problem: Francesco would need to eat, and no one would be home to feed him. We decided to put him in a large box, and take him (and a quart of goat milk) with us.

Francesco proved to be a big hit at the family gathering, and one of our kids’ cousins in particular really enjoyed holding him and getting a turn bottle feeding him. The rest of the time, he stood or slept securely in his box.

Back at home, he continued working to fit in with the the other denizens of my office building.

Floyd, the border collie, was the most welcoming
Tiger, the cat…not so much

By December 1st, at just over a week old, Francesco figured out how to climb onto the couch like the other pets do. He’s not stupid. It’s a lot more comfortable than the floor.

Tiger remained unimpressed

Floyd continues to treat him as just another member of the gang, and seems happy to keep serving as Francesco’s pillow.

The Homeschooled Farm Children think it’s great fun having a new pet. I designated the 12 year old as primary bottle-feeder; he needs to be reminded to take care of it, but he gets the job done. In the meantime, five-year-old Little Brother is eager to fill in any time we let him.

On a farm, it seems there’s no shortage of opportunities for learning responsibility…even while having fun the whole time you’re learning it.

As for me…it’s kind of weird having a goat kid rummaging around in my trash can, pulling out pieces of paper, and nibbling them down. And I do need to keep a pile of old towels handy, for his inevitable piddle puddles.

The goat is more likely to eat your homework than the dog ever will be

But I have to admit, it’s also a lot of fun having him around. He spends quite a bit of time at my feet, under the desk, on an old piece of carpet.

Technically speaking, I guess he’ll always be a “bummer.” But he definitely hasn’t been one for our family.

Thank God for Good Vets

It can be hard to find a good large-animal veterinarian. We were fortunate to have one just around the corner from us in Illinois, and who didn’t charge a fortune to come see us at the farm. Here, it took us awhile to locate a good vet who can see the livestock, but we did at last find one; most of his practice is dogs and cats, but he has good experience with farm animals. He will come out on farm calls, but it’s a fairly steep charge. Since every one of our animals is small enough to fit in a vehicle, we find it makes most sense to drive the 14 miles to his office.

A year or two ago, one of our excellent dairy goats, Thistle (or, as our four-year-old called her when he was learning to talk, “Fissle”), developed a cancer of her eye. A sizable tumor began consuming the eyeball, and it was one of the most unsettling things we’d ever seen. We were really afraid we might have to put her down. The vet said not to worry; he’d seen this numerous times before in various types of livestock, and knew just what to do. He put her under anesthesia, and in very short order (1) removed the entire eyeball and (2) sewed her eyelid shut. The next day, Thistle was home on the farm and feeling fine. She’s certainly one of the more bizarre-looking animals, and has only half her original sight, but is otherwise none the worse for the experience. She remains a gentle doe who takes good care of her kids and gives us lots of milk. With the added bonus that she’s now much easier to catch — you just need to sneak up on her from the “blind side.”

Which brings us to Button, the mother of Thistle. She had twin kids about a month ago, and has been producing an outrageous amount of milk. We’re talking basketball-sized udder, with teats like great big sausages. Plenty for the twins and us.

Anyway, late last week, Button got some sort of scrape on her right teat. It wasn’t too big a deal, and the Yeoman Farm Children worked around it when they milked. We treated it with salve, and it was scabbing over. Problem was, the scab began growing and blocking the milk hole. This meant it had to be opened up a bit for each milking. Which was fine…but on Sunday morning we found the hole simply would not open. We tried everything we could, but didn’t want to hurt her; we were concerned that scar tissue might be forming.

Mrs Yeoman Farmer called the vet, who was willing to see Button on a Sunday — but there would be a substantial “emergency fee.” We were grateful for the option, but knew Button would be fine (if a little full) until Monday morning.

The plan was to get Button packed up and to the vet as close as possible to his 8am opening time; he sees walk-ins from 8-10 on most mornings, so we wanted to be first in line. Unfortunately, as Homeschooled Farm Girl and I were moving Button out of the barn to our van, the goat’s engorged teat caught on a piece of fence and tore the skin. Great. One thing after another. Now quite worried, and somewhat delayed, we sped off to the vet.

We turned out to be second in line, and got in to see him after just a short wait. Must be interesting being a country vet; the person ahead of us was an elderly lady getting her pet dog’s toenails trimmed. Then us, with a dairy goat with a torn teat! Anyway, the vet was a bit taken aback at first by the wound, but then got right to work computing how much anesthesia Button would need. He gave her a little shot, she collapsed in a heap, and then I helped the vet lift Button onto a work table.

First order of business was to clean the teat and bathe the cut with some sort of antibiotic cream. He then needed to drain the teat, which he did by inserting a catheter and then putting a bowl under it to catch the milk. After all the work we usually have to do, expressing milk, it was amazing to see the stuff all come running out like through a faucet. I even joked that we’d better not let our children see this process, or they’ll ask if they can start catheterizing the goats every time they go out to milk.

With the teat going flaccid, and with me holding Button’s leg so she wouldn’t interfere with his work if she twiched, he began suturing the cut closed. He explained that he was leaving plenty of loose skin, so the teat would be able to expand with milk. It took him just a few minutes to get everything done.

Then, since the anesthetic still had Button nearly entirely knocked out, he took advantage of the opportunity to give her hooves a good trimming. “It’s a lot easier when they can’t kick!” he joked.

This whole time, my daughter had been sitting in the quiet waiting room, doing school work. Once Button awakened, the vet and I called Homeschooled Farm Girl back and explained the situation. Button would need to be milked several times per day, to make sure the re-opened teat remained open and didn’t scar over. This would need to be done gently, taking care not to stress the sutures. And we would obviously need to keep Button totally separated from her kids for the next ten days or so.

HFG happily volunteered to take on the management of the situation, all the way from milking Button to bottle-feeding that milk to the twins. Needless to say, it’s very gratifying whenever one of your children takes that kind of initiative, without any kind of “bargaining” or questioning what might be in it for her. It just needs doing, and she wants to take charge of it.

So, after a wild morning, we’re all back home on the farm. Just another crazy day in our life.