I haven’t wrote for a while as there has been so many passings happening here on Alba Ranch that it feels overwhelming. I know that loss is part of life and particularly of ranch and livestock life, but sometimes things just get you down.
On my birthday, April 13, I lost one of my Nigerian does. I have had high hopes for this gal since the day she was born. She was born first and was rather small but spunky. Her sister was much larger and thrived, until things went wrong and we lost her at 4 months old. So Gracie was still in my mind a lot.
She was a doeling off the only daughter I had from one of my best does. I had worked with her mother for ages but she just would not work with me. I sold her to one of my friends and she is as good as gold with her. We all have preferences and I just was NOT hers! I was greatly looking forward to little Gracie growing up and being a solid steady milker in my herd. She was pregnant and went into labour on my birthday. This was her first and ended up being her last. She had one buckling that was huge and stuck. We tried to help her pull it, the vet tried, we finally had to put her down after making certain there were no other kids stuck behind the first one. That buckling was super huge and took up all the space and of course had passed during the trauma of this delivery. I lost them both that day. That was my first time losing animals like this and particularly with the Nigerian dwarf dairy goat breed. In 10 years of having goats, I had never had to go or even try to go into the back side of a goat and help pull a kid. My hands were too large for her and a friend had to help and with her small hands there was just no moving that stuck kid.
We have lost 2 of a set of triplets this year. One at birth and another that was weaker around 4-5 days old. I have heard others talk about this as common place but in my herd this is not common place and was hard to handle alone as Charlie was off shore working.
Rowan March 2006-May 13, 2016
My Rowan, big boy, mama’s boy, Roweeeeeena….these were a few of the nick names that Rowan had. He came to us in 2006 out in Colorado with his brother and my first pair of dairy goats. He has been a loyal buddy and although he would guard the goats when I asked him….he really preferred to guard me…MOM!
This last three years he has only guarded part time in the summers as he has never been able to tolerate the cold well. And he had been full time retired this last year into the house. He started limping on his front shoulder a year ago and it would go away, come back, go away,…and repeat. He seemed ok in between bouts of limping and there were no apparent wounds, injuries, swelling, sores or anything. I wondered if he pulled muscles when romping out in the pen with the other dogs. During the winter we added some pain killers to his daily routine to help with the pain as it was becoming more regular with the coming part and less of the going away part. I knew that he was not getting better and we had to make the decision to let him go on May 13 as he just couldn’t walk without extreme pain and that was with pain killers. His shoulder had finally swelled up and even with essential oils and lavender, the swelling was going down but the pain and limping was not. He had no other health issues but being the big Anatolian boy that he was, his not being able to walk was debilitating for him and impossible for me to help him due to his size. He was ready to go and it was a smooth passing without incident other my my heart cracking. I still remember the day when he was about 2 years old and had been barking all night long for approximately 9 months….yes I said 9 months..that I told my husband Rowan was not going to make it to his 2 year old birthday as I was going to strangle him. I didn’t mean it..honest …..and I miss him dreadfully.