Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yet Another

 Another sad day at Ziptie Ranch.  Julius died Sunday morning despite me, once again, doing everything I knew to save him.  He was never a strong kid.  He was born a bit later than his brother Jonah and initially was considerably weaker.  He was slow to get his legs under him the first day.  Then he was never a good eater.  He didn't suck, he merely gnawed at a bottle allowing milk to dribble into his mouth.  He didn't even suck on a finger so I'm not sure he would have even been able to drink water from a bucket.  His chin was always drenched after every feeding so I knew milk was running right out of his mouth too, but I never knew how much.  He never did the new goat gallivant.  As time progressed, Jonah pulled further and further ahead of him, but I still didn't think Julius's problems were fatal.  I had turned over the feeding of the kids to the 2-leggeds.  Farmer Girl and Farmer Boy 1 would always go running out with their bottles.  Farmer Boy 1 would always stay out there until Julius's bottle was empty, which often took a MUCH longer time than I had patience for.  But again, being that he's 3, that milk may have simply made it down his chin (or into Jonah's tummy) and not much into the intended belly.  After every interaction with Julius, I would come in only partly joking that "Julius has to be retarded."
Julius started appearing worse than "just Julius" on Wednesday.  I took over his feeding again and  was really surprised by his lack of "skill" to eat.  He seemed to even regress in the week since I had given that chore to the kids.  Thursday evening, Jonah was sold and Julius was launched into full-fledged depression.  Droopy ears and everything.  I put him in with Copper and Doby, but he just laid down in the sunshine and didn't move.  By Friday evening he wasn't standing properly.  I wondered about "bent leg syndrome" and started giving him cod liver oil, feeding him by syringe and giving vitamin B injections.  Since he was Helen's fifth kid in 3 complete pregnancies all crammed into 19 months of time, birth defects unfortunately could be rather expected.  We kept up the regime, adding vitamin C to the mix as well on Saturday and moved him into a sick bed on the porch where we could keep him warm and comfortable.  Early Sunday morning, I heard a little peep from him and was relieved to know he made it through the night.  But by the time his milk was warmed and I went to feed him, he was gone.

I spent a few hours, both before he died and after, trying to figure out what was ailing him.  I poured through my "Natural Goat Care" book and found nothing that really fit, including bent leg syndrome.  The author of this book does make note to not spend much time or resources saving unthrifty kids because nature usually knows better than we which ones can survive long-term.  I have a hard time with that, but I feel a bit less guilty with his death.  I think there was likely a non-visable birth defect that prevented him from eating properly.

In the end, I'm glad we've been able to keep Copper away from Helen.  She just came out of heat (at 3 weeks post pardem) so we only have another year's worth of heats to go through.  Hopefully the fence on the bachelor pad is up for the challenge.  I think that's really the only way we can prevent this in the future.

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