Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meet the Herd: Dreamer and Ebony

Yeah, I'm still working my way through the herd... Between caring for hundreds of meat chickens and getting the hang of owning dairy animals, we've been busy. So, right now I'd like to introduce you to Dreamer and Ebony. 

Everyone loves a good adoption story, no? Then you throw in some cute critters and a heart-wrenching loss and you have the makings for a Hallmark movie. 

Okay, I'll lose the sarcasm. It's just that when my sisters and I are surfing the channels, we tend to avoid that particular channel since everything so gosh-darn predictable and scripted. Mom likes it since it's easy to watch. ;) 

Anyways... I'll spare you the family drama.

Ebony was just barely old enough to separate from her mamma. Then you throw in the stress of the move, not getting enough to eat, being pushed around by the other goats, and not having someone to stand by her and comfort her. Let's just say that we had a perfect recipe for a lonely, sickly doeling who didn't have a mother to take care of her. 

In a different corner of the barn, Dreamer and her newborn were cuddled up next to a heat lamp. Dreamer kept talking to the little guy but he wouldn't respond; he could barely stand on his own two feet to nurse. He didn't have the vitality, vivaciousness, or gusto that a kid should have. His twin sister was a still-born that morning, and he could hardly cling to life. Poor Dreamer was doing her best. When the baby was in the house in the makeshift NICU, Dreamer constantly screamed for him. When she looked at you, it was almost as if she was begging you to find her baby. The little guy hung on for almost 4 days then slipped away one morning just before we woke up... 

Ebony was hungry and desperate. So she became the opportunist. If one of the mammas was nursing their babes, then Ebony would sneak in for a couple of sips before the doe figured out what was going on. When we were milking, she would hop up and try to nurse even more. 
We have a mamma who needs a baby... and a baby who needs a mamma. 
But how on earth would we get Dreamer to adopt Ebony?! 

I really don't think that it was anything that we did. But as we let Ebony nurse while we held Dreamer, little missy must have started to smell like her soon-to-be-new-mom. I don't know. But it was quite the day when we found Dreamer, on her own accord, cleaning and nursing Ebony. If Ebony gets into trouble with one of the other goats, she's able to seek refuge with Dreamer, Dreamer is much quieter now that she has a baby to take care of, and we don't have to try to bottle feed a baby that's never seen a bottle before. 

We've still got a ways to go to bring Ebony back to her perky self, but as Ebony nursed, that was one less burden that we were carrying. Thank you, Lord! 

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