The Ups and Downs

Recently I brought two goats back home that I had sold last year as babies.  I was devastated to say the least when I opened the trailer doors and goat my first peak at them.

Danny and Jeffrey were born to Clover and Gert last year.  Both were singles and born a day apart.  I sold Danny as a buck and Jeffrey as a companion whether to him.  I immediately was sorry that I sold Danny.  I should have kept him as a buck here on our farm.  I liked him so much that I repeated the breeding, got another boy, and promptly named him Danny Boy.  Clover just has drop dead gorgeous babies…American or Purebred doesn’t matter much when you take one look and go “WOW” (which is what everyone does).

Anyway, Danny and Jeffrey were sold along with care instructions, worming instructions, and a medication chart.  Every goat that leaves this farm gets these items.  I ask about a million questions and try to be as honest as possible when placing a goat with a new family.  My intention is always the best possible home for any of my animals.  I try to find the perfect fit.  Most people think I am ridiculous, some even are offended when I refuse to sell, but I have to sleep with myself at night…sorry I am not willing to compromise.

I thought I had done this with Danny and Jeffrey.  I even visited the farm where they were going.  Everyone looked happy and healthy.  So when I got a call a year later from their owner saying she no longer wanted them due to new family situations, I said I could find them a new home.  It didn’t take long either given Danny’s pedigree.

The new owners needed a few weeks to pick them up so I agreed to let them come and live here on my farm until then.  Nothing in it for me, I was just trying to make it work for everyone involved.  I was shocked when I pulled them off of the trailer.  They were extremely thin and frail.  Only half the size they should have been.  My 3 month old kids weighed more than they did.  They only were 25lbs each and should have easily been 150lbs.  Their coats were rough and shaggy.  They should have been thick and shiny.  Their feet were horrible and hadn’t been trimmed. 

I immediately wormed them, vaccinated them, gave shots of vitamin B and Bo-Se, gave them some grain, and trimmed their feet.  It took two weeks before they had an appetite and they wouldn’t have made it through another one of our winters in the condition they were in.  Needless to say, I had to call the people I had sold them to and explain the situation.

I had a long good cry, pulled myself together and called them.  They were kind and understanding.  I whethered Danny as he would never be a good breeding stock given his condition and stunted growth.  They decided to take both the boys in anyway and use them as companions to the doe they were also purchasing from me.  Vince told me to stop beating myself up over it and kept reminding me they were in a good home now and God brought them back for a reason.

They have put on weight and their coats are looking much better.  They are enjoying being brushed and treated with a kind gentle touch.  Each morning and night they eagerly eat their grain and hay.  They take a nice long drink from the bucket filled with cold fresh water.  They roam the pasture with the other goats and play on the playground that Katie built for the girls.

I know a majority of farms do not even sell their unwanted livestock.  They raise them and then butcher them for their own use.  Some do eat their goats and those that don’t have them made into dog food.  I guess it sounds horrible to those of us who wouldn’t dream of doing that.  I must admit though, being raised in a loving and caring manner and then having the end come quickly and without pain is far better than living a life of starving to death…slowly and painfully.  I know of several farmers who simply put down a dish of grain & as they are eating, quickly end their life.  The goat never even sees it coming, isn’t scared or stressed, and dies quickly.  Although I don’t have it in me to do this, I know it is a far better life than the one Danny and Jeffrey were living.

My motto…if it breathes, it lives.  God provides the answers for me.  I will continue to trust his judgement.  I do not point fingers or turn my nose up in disgust against those that don’t have the same motto.  I just know I must do what is right for me and my farm. 

These are the Ups & Downs of breeding and selling livestock.  It makes me wonder if I can trust my own judgement at times.  Most “farmers” will tell me they are just livestock.  That I take it too much to heart, etc.  But to me, they are wonderful animals and I see them as “pets” each with their own individual personalities.  It is not a “farming business” to me.  I sell the soap just so I can afford to keep them.  I am an animal lover and don’t have the hardened farmer heart that I suppose I should have.  Like it or not, it is who I am.

Danny and Jeffrey leave next week along with Sophia.  This time I know they are going to an excellent home.  I guess the ups & downs of farming life go on and on.  I am sure it is played out in many farms across the world.

About asciotti

Please keep in mind that I never grew up on a farm, lived in the city or its suburbs all my life. Many farmers out there will find this blog a hoot as I stumble through the every day life of running a farm (most of the time...all by myself).
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2 Responses to The Ups and Downs

  1. Chris Moran says:

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. Michelle says:

    I’m so glad you took them back and gave them a second chance at life. But couldn’t Danny still be a breeding buck once he gets his strength back? The genetics are there, after all, regardless of how stunted he is.

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