Happy Monday Homesteaders! It’s time for a weekly update!
It is with a heavy heart that I begin this blog. Our newest little girl Annie came to us because her mother had died. The woman who sold Annie to us thought that her goat had cancer, but sent the body to OSU (Oregon State University) for a necropsy. She called me and was just devastated that her dam had died of CAE (Caprine arthritis encephalitis)/CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis ). When she purchased Annie’s mother she was told that the herd had been tested and that the dam was CAE/CL negative. CAE is a contagious viral disease that is passed from dam to kid through colostrum and milk. It can also be spread through the transfer of white blood cells. So we are facing the certainty that Annie is CAE positive. Annie’s previous owner has been very responsible. She let us know that she would come pick Annie up as soon as possible and refund our money.
Having raised Annie inside the house for the first two weeks that she has been on the homestead, we have become very attached to her. Jill and Ashley have been giving her a bottle three times a day (I injured my hand), while I have been taking care of grain, calf manna, hay, etc. A local woman who has a goat dairy, Justine, has been an invaluable resource for me. She has years of experience and is very generous with her time. Justine helped us to get Annie to take a bottle, sort of (Annie never did suck, but just chews on the nipple). Annie has been outside for a couple of weeks now and is in a pen by herself. She is close enough to the other goats to feel like she is not alone, but there is sufficient separation so there is no chance of infecting the rest of our herd. We are in the process of testing all of our goats for CAE/CL and Johnes (another goat disease) as I write this blog. Justine came over and drew blood from my herd to send in for testing. If all goes according to plan we will receive the results in the upcoming week.
What does that mean for the goats on our homestead? To be perfectly honest we are in the process of figuring that out. If any of my other goats come back positive do I keep all of the CAE goats and sell my other goats? If everyone comes back clean do I give Annie back? Do I separate the herds and keep all of the goats? These questions run round and round in my mind. I don’t have to make the decision today, but I know that I will soon. Making these types of decisions is part of homesteading and a reminder that whenever you are dealing with animals you need to be prepared for anything.
As we are beginning a new year I am going to take a few minutes to talk about safety. I alluded to a hand injury earlier in the blog and want to expand on that briefly. We have been on our new homestead for less than ten months and I have had two injuries. I am very fortunate that I have backup help on our homestead, but if I didn’t then I might have found myself in the position of making some serious choices regarding the number of animals that I have. When working with sharp objects, moving parts, animals, and uneven terrain, just to mention a few situations that you might find yourself in, safety is the number one priority. I say this with recent experience, it only takes a moment for an injury to occur and it might be one that sidelines you for an extended period of time. Please be careful!
We have two new Speckled Sussex roosters. They are beautiful boys that belonged to a couple who were no longer able to walk down that hill to care for their flock. They have lovely manners, have integrated very well with my girls and are great additions to the homestead. To make room for the new roosters unfortunately some of our younger, more enthusiastic boys will be going to the auction.
The goats are enjoying a few days of sunshine and are doing great. They did very well with the blood draw considering for at least two of the goats this was their first time. I am watching Martha closely as it was brought to my attention that she may be exhibiting signs of copper deficiency. She is very young and she still has very good condition and a good coat, however she has some light circles around her eyes which may be an indicator. I will be researching this further in the upcoming week.
I’m headed to California next week to enjoy some sunshine and to visit family and friends. I hope everybody has a wonderful week wherever you may be.