Let’s face it: raising animals can be a real learning experience for the young and old alike.
A few days ago, we lost a beautiful rooster and a year old wethered goat, all within a 24 hour span. What caused that to happen? We don’t really know. We keep the goats separate from the chickens and are very careful not feed our wethered goats any grains, as this can cause considerable harm. The rooster was less than a year old and the goat was just a year.
As for the rooster, a Speckled Sussex: he had no blood or markings on him to indicate that something got in the pen and killed him. We never noticed any of the chickens to be sick and they are all healthy today. The rooster was heavy, not at all as if he had not been eating.
The goat also seemed to be very healthy. He was happy and healthy one day and gone the next.
We might never know what the problem was, but we have taken measures to try to prevent anything like this from happening again, especially with the goats. As we suspect grain to be the issue with the goat, we now watch him more closely when we allow him out of the barn and free ranging, so to speak. The chicken run is fully enclosed, but we do have quail and pheasant pens that sometimes have spilled grains around them.
Why do we allow the goats to roam a little in the backyard? We do this because they are very social animals and they want to be near us. They follow us everywhere and we sort of like their company as well. Also, we have a lot of white pine trees, which the goats love and are very healthy for them. The pine needles are a natural antibiotic, as is oregano (The chickens get oregano every now and then. I like to mix dehydrated oregano in their feed in the winter when they cannot get fresh). When using the needles, however, it is just like everything else. Don’t overdo or you will be doing more harm than good.
Losing animals on the farmstead is something that is going to happen. When it does, it smarts a bit. Still, it’s a reality of life and we must take the hard stuff with the fun and easy.
And hopefully we’ll learn a little bit more about how to prevent future accidents as we go along.