Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Frightening Halloween Story

I don't usually share things about our farm on this blog, I save those stories for our farm blog. But today things are weighing so heavily on my heart that I need to vent it here, where I hold nothing back and completely put myself out there. Sorry if anyone is bored by goat talk. Here are a few things you need to know. There are lots of different kinds of goats, some for milk and some for meat. We have both. The dairy goats are typically dehorned as babies while meat goats keep their horns. I'm not exactly sure why. Some people dehorn the babies themselves (we have the vet do it). We recently got a 9 month old male dairy goat (named Sunny). The farmer had tried to dehorn him and did a poor job so on one side he had a small nub and on the other about a 1-2 inch horn. This is where the my Halloween Horror Story begins.......

We have a set of triplets about 3 weeks old. So far the mother has had enough milk for them but as they get older and demand more we sometimes need to supplement them with a bottle to make sure they get enough to eat. Yesterday late afternoon DH said he thought one was not getting enough and starting to to starve. It was late and I was tired so I decided I would feed it in the morning. It got to be about 9:30 and I started to feel such a prodding to go out and take care of this baby goat that I got all bundled up and went out in the cold with my little jar of warm goat milk. I got to the barn and was rummaging through the cabinet looking for the bottle. I heard Sunny grunting and flirting with the meat goats he is supposed to be breeding since our meat goat male died a few weeks ago. I just glanced over in the direction of their pen. I saw one goat whose head was all red. I thought that's peculiar but they do rub on the red tin outside the barn sometimes. Then I noticed red on the white bodies of some of the other goats and I realized it was blood. Now thank goodness I'm a farm girl and not squemish about blood cause it was about to get worse. Then I saw Sunny.......he was not just red with blood but was literally sopping wet with it. I began to feel panic set in, not because of so much blood but because I knew something really bad must be wrong to have that much blood everywhere. Sunny was standing around acting like he was totally fine so I felt somewhat calmer. Then he started butting heads with the one whose head was red and I put the puzzle together. He had broke off his little 2 inch horn by fighting with this other goat. I immediately pulled him into his own pen and called DH (who was out late harvesting). DH was not all that concerned even though I stressed there was A LOT of blood. When he finally came to check out the situation he was suprised to find that I was not being overly dramatic or exaggerating the immense about of blood everywhere. It appeared the bleeding had slowed to a trickle but we applied bloodstop powder anyway. This morning he was still acting normal and strong, although it did look like there was a little bit of fresh blood. The vet said as long as its not bleeding heavily and he acts normal we can just observe and give him antibiotics. There is no way this little goat will let us touch his wound or clean him up. But he looks just horrible with his blood caked head and neck. I don't even want to go out to the barn and see him. Its so disturbing. I don't know a lot about horns but I know there is live tissue inside them and they grow out of the skull. Not like antlers which fall off deer and such animals as part of natures process. We assume this horn was weak because of the poor dehorning job the other farmer did. I just can't get the images of this bloodied little goat out of my head. Talk about a Halloween bloody horror show. I hate Halloween and I hate horror movies. I will be so glad when this wretched "holiday" is over.

In addition to that horrible event last night, this morning we went to find the mother of the triplets dead. DH says it was probably something she ate that made her sick since she had no signs of being sick yesterday. Now we have three little orphaned goats that are all being bottle fed. Some days I hate being a farmer's wife. Farming is not a job its a life. You don't just leave your work after 8 hours. Especially for me because I fall in love and get attached to all our animals. I hate to see them suffer, orphaned and caked with blood. I barely slept last night and am feeling lousy with a head ache today. Sometimes I think I should just forget it all and sell stamps the rest of my life. It requires very little thinking and very little personal responsiblity. Its easy and at the end of the day I go home and forget about it.

I now realize that the reason I went out to the barn at 10:00 last night was not because the baby goat needed fed but because God was prompting me to go check on things. The fact is that Sunny would have probably fought with this other goat all night and been dead by morning. So first I thanked God for prompting me to go out the barn and save Sunny from himself. But then I thought, why would God bother prompting me to go out there and stop it when He could have saved us both the trouble and just made it never happen in the first place. And why follow that horrible event with a dead mama goat this morning? Are we being tested? After all DH has been reading his bible a lot and really growing his relationship with God, I'm sure Satan is not happy about that. God did let Satan test Peter and "sift him like wheat", does He still do that to us today? Or are we doing something wrong that He's trying to get our attention? I am feeling really battered and beaten today. Seems that our farm is cursed with troubles the past month. But I know this is only a season and God has not abandoned us. I don't know why all this is happening but He is with us even when life is difficult. At the end of the day it is still just an animal and I can be thankful that my family and friends are still healthy and safe. Despite all the hardships we've had with our animals this year the Lord has blessed our farm with good profits and our personal lives with many special blessings as well. I much prefer Thanksgiving over Halloween.

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