Friday, September 19, 2014

A Tale of Two Goats


posted by Beck

I've wanted to share this story for quite awhile, but thought it might come across as insensitive, so I didn't. Now that several months have passed, I've decided to post about it anyway because the story deserves to be told. I do still feel kind of bad and I apologize in advance if this story hurts the heart of the sweet friend who gave us the goats.

Goat #1:

Last November, (I believe it was the day before Thanksgiving), we woke up to find one of our goats dead in its pen. It was very sad and we weren't sure what had happened, but we didn't have time to really deal with the issue because we were headed to work and then down to my in-laws for the holiday. JP had to be back at work the day after Thanksgiving, so he left me in charge of figuring out what to do with the goat when we got home.

I began by researching my options online. Burial was an option, but the grave had to be dug several feet underground. Calling a farrier to take it away was another suggestion, but that one could potentially cost a couple hundred dollars that we didn't have, nor want, to spend on a dead goat. Then I discovered that I could take the goat to the local landfill if I followed certain protocols - double tarping the body before taking it over. I called my friend Sarah who grew up on a ranch and asked for her advice. She confirmed that the landfill option would be the best way to go and offered to come help me later that day if I needed it.

I tried to pretend that I could do it myself. "You'll be so bad ass if you do this Becky," I told myself. (Sometimes my mental pep talks involve swears.) I even pulled a tarp out of the garage and dragged it over to the goat and eyeballed the best way to get the goat onto the tarp with minimal hand to goat action. Ultimately I couldn't figure out how to do it without actually putting my body against the goat (which was super stinky and kind of oozy at this point).

I just couldn't do it.

I went back in the house.

I texted Sarah. Please come. I need some moral support.

Sarah pulled up in the drive way and got out of the car. Let me tell you, she was all business with this goat. I stood there tee hee'ing like a school girl while she grabbed a roll of duct tape and her work gloves, walked over to the tarp, grabbed the goat's legs, hauled it onto the blue vinyl and then started wrapping the tarp around the body without hesitation. "Grab that end," she directed, tightening the tarp and pulling off a strip of duct tape and wrapping it around her side of the goat. "Now hold it here," she said pointing to my end of the tarped body as she pulled off another strip of tape.

Tarping complete, we hauled the body into the back of JP's pick up truck, so I could take it to the dump.

*Side Note: Sarah just told me that when she got my text she was chatting with her Uncle (who happens to live around the corner from us.) When she told them she had to run and "help Becky with that dead goat," apparently they just nodded and took it as a perfectly acceptable reason for her to leave in the middle of the conversation. #farmlife

The next morning, I drove the goat down the road to the dump, paid my $11, went into the offloading area where two guys pulled it out of the truck bed, made some crack about me not hitting any more animals with my car, and threw it into the pit.

Mission accomplished.

Total cost $18 (This includes a $7 car wash because it left some ooze in the back of JP's truck and I wasn't touching that.)

We weren't sure what caused the goat to die. We checked the hay to make sure it wasn't moldy and then just went about our lives thinking it was a fluke.

Fast forward a few weeks...

Goat #2:

A few weeks later (right before Christmas) around 10pm we heard one of the two remaining goats braying (is that what goats do?) loudly. It was clearly in distress, but we couldn't do much for it at 10 o'clock at night and an emergency vet bill for a pygmy goat was NOT in our budget, so feeling kind of bad, we went to bed. The next morning we realized there was definitely a problem. JP called our neighbor who works for a large animal vet and she agreed to take the goat with her to work to be checked out. The vet wanted to do a blood test to determine the problem. JP agreed. Ultimately were were told there was no guarantee the goat could be saved, even if we tried treatment, so JP decided to have it euthanized.

Total cost:  $250

Merry Christmas JP.

Now that I write it all out, I know why JP did what he did, but I sure as heck haven't let him forget that my dead goat only cost $11 and his dead goat cost $250. Believe me, I'm going to leverage that bit of information for many years to come.

Conclusion:  If you are wondering how in the world we managed to kill not one, but TWO goats, here is the answer. It had to do with their feed. Goats are known for their strong stomachs and can pretty much be fed any old thing. We were treating our goats like royalty and feeding them alfalfa. Apparently castrated male goats should not eat rich foods, like alfalfa, because it causes a hole to develop in their urethra, which is all kinds of bad (I'm not sure of the details - Google it) and then they die. According to Sarah, even the farmers and ranchers in her life had no idea something like this could happen. That made us feel a little bit better about ourselves. The remaining goat (the female) continues to live on our property.

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