Monday, December 9, 2013

Adventures With Milly-the-Goat

Lots of children's books promise adventures with farm animals, and fun and pleasant things normally happen in these stories. In real life, "adventures" with farm animals aren't quite like that. 

Like this past week with Milly-the-Goat. Milly is kinda the black sheep of our goats. She's kinda a loner, and the others beat up on her. But she is very sweet and friendly with people, so she is J's favorite. 

On Wednesday I decided to clean chicken pens, because the weather was nice and warm. So I grabbed my tools and a beer and went out and started working. I penned up all the goats in the outside pen, locked Milly in the barn, and got to work.

Well, Milly got out of the barn and came out to "help" me. She kept getting into the chicken feed and bedding, but I didn't really think much of it. I kept chasing her off and went back to work.

The next morning after I was at work, J called me to say Milly didn't look right and she had a dirty backside. 


I'm still pretty new to the goat thing and I don't know goat problems like I do chicken aliments. So I texted back and forth with my mom, who suggested a few different things and I planned to check on her when I got home.

When I got home Milly was standing out in the sun, and she didn't look too awful. But she did look fat (for her, she's a skinny little goat) and she had obviously scoured some. (Scours is what you call diarrhea in the farm world.) Hmm.

I called Mama again, and while we were talking I noticed Milly kept burping her cud up and swallowing right away, over and over again. She didn't seem to enjoy it. Heck, watching her do it like that was starting to make me feel a little queasy too!

Mama said to just leave her for a little bit and then check on her later. So that's what I did.

A couple hours later Milly had some obvious bloating and she was still doing the "weird burp thing". Ruminants, like cows, goats, and sheep, can't throw up but I'm pretty certain that's what Milly wanted to do at this point. And at this point I was starting to get worried. Maybe a little panicked. That "you don't know what the hell you're doing!" feeling was cropping up.

I wasn't even sick and I wanted my mommy.

Well, I guess I sounded like that on the phone, because she came on over, bearing a Downton Abbey totebag filled with sheep supplies, wearing mud covered blue jeans and workboots.

"I took so long because I had to stop at Food Lion. They looked at me a little weird," she explained.

That's my mom!

So we began doctoring Milly. First, we took her in the barn away from the dogs and tried to get her to burp some but that was making her uncomfortable. So we decided to try tubing her, by putting a little tube that's meant for tube-feeding lambs and kids down her throat and hopefully getting some gas out that way.

That helped, then while the tube was still in we poured in some peanut oil and some activated charcoal. The oil helps to release the gas bubbles in the gut and it also kinda lubes things up so they'll start moving right again. The activated charcoal does for animals what it also does for humans - it adsorbs toxins that she may have ingested.

She didn't approve of all this nonsense and so she bit the tube in half, and Mama had to stick her fingers down the goat's throat to catch the tube before Milly swallowed it!

Then Milly got a belly rub and she burped a lot, and we could see her sides go down. After a couple laps around the yard on a leash, she was looking much better. We put her in a little pen in the barn and Mama went home.

At choretime I gave her some Survive! lamb and goat drench, which has a lot of nutrition and vitamins in it, and some Probios, which is a paste that contain lots of probiotics, to help jumpstart her digestion. She was looking perkier, and I went to bed. 

In the morning, she was a little fat again, but a walk solved that. I also gave her some more oil and charcoal all by myself, and I didn't get it on my work pants! I felt very accomplished, especially because it was 6 AM!

In the afternoon, Milly jumped the fence and got out, and there hasn't been any bloat since. She still isn't acting quite right, but it went from being 70 degrees the day she got sick to snowing 3 days later, so I kinda think that isn't helping anything. Plus I forgot to give her mosr Probios until today, so maybe that's part of it. She's eating some and everything, she's just still not 100%. But she's also learned that if she looks pathetic she gets spoiled... more details in Adventures with Milly the Goat Part 2!
Milly not feeling good

The next day!


  1. So very glad Milly-the-goat is back to "normal"! She's my favorite!

  2. Ours too. She didn't learn anything though, she still tries to eat everything!