Sunday, January 8, 2012

Today is one of the sad ones.

This morning we were running around a bit hectic. Chad is playing a benefit show in Columbus, so we were taking care of the animals before we left with Ma and Pa. I was feeding the goats and I noticed that Esmerelda was bleating a lot and not coming over to eat. I went over to pet her and check her out to see if anything looked wrong. Well, something definitely looked wrong. She had something about a foot long hanging out of her lady parts. The lighting wasn't the best in that corner of the stall, so I ran to the house to grab a flashlight, towels, and Chad. It's amazing how fast you can move when that adrenaline is pumping.

I called the vet and found out who was on call this weekend. It ended up being Dr. Monica from the Fredericktown vet clinic. Pa was in the stall with Esmerelda when I got back to the barn. He's seen lots of farm critters give birth in his many years. He said it looked like what comes out after. Dr. Monica agreed. We talked a bit more and she advised that if I was comfortable with it, I should try to go in. I knew that day would come and definitely hadn't been looking forward to it.

I pulled the membrane we saw out. You should only do this if you've been advised by your vet or have WAY more experience than I do. I examined the membrane and saw something odd. I examined closer and realized that Esmerelda was miscarrying. It was a fetus that wasn't very far along. I called Dr. Monica back and she said that I didn't need to go in, just watch and make sure she was ok and looked like she passed everything and to give her penicillin twice a day for the next 3 days. I thanked her again and sat with Esmerelda hoping I was providing at least a little comfort to her.

Shortly, Esmerelda started pushing again. I figured this was just after birth. It ended up being another kid that was breech. This one was much farther along. In fact, I was hoping there might be a chance that it was alive. It wasn't. It was a little billy.He didn't have fur yet, but had the coloring on its skin.He looked likehe was going to be colored just like his mama.

I called Dr. Monica back just to let her know the whole story. She said it was very odd to have the two fetuses of different development levels. I asked her if we should try to milk Esmerelda if she develops and she recommended not to. We'll keep a close eye on her and pamper her even more than usual over the next week or so.

It's interesting looking at everything in hindsight and all the a-ha moments. Yesterday, Esmerelda was very talky which is unusual for her. Her teats were bigger which we missed. She recently had pinkeye. One of the types of bacteria that cause pinkeye can also cause abortions.

You have to take this as a learning experience, but it's very sad. The farm can be a brutal classroom at times. I'm sad for Esmerelda, sad for us, and sad for the little kids. We'll bury them in a nice spot so they can go back to the earth and nourish the farm they would have called home had they lived. It's all very cyclic on the farm.


  1. I am sorry.That is the hard part about farming. It never gets easier either.

  2. oh geez. sorry. what a horrible first experience! but i guess the good news, if there is any, is that this is about as bad as it gets. so hopefully it will be much better.

    the hardest truth about farming is that not every body makes it and not everyone gets to stay.

    sorry, friend.
    your pal,

  3. Thanks OFG and Melodie. It's a sucky day, but we'll all get through. Esmerelda seems to be doing ok healthwise. We'll keep her on antibiotics for a few days and hope she doesn't have any complications.

  4. This is always so hard. One of my does had a stillborn doeling last spring. I did have to assist and it was a tough situation with a very sad ending. Hopefully Esmerelda will recover just fine. And so will you. :)