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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Triple (animal) deaths on the farm

If you read The Goat Chick's blog yesterday, you already know about two deaths we had here on the farm. I have another to add to it.

I have never watched re-runs of the old TV show "Green Acres" but my husband has sung the theme song to it enough I know some of it.  Yesterday, while attempting to dig an animal grave, Tabby and I changed some of the words for the part we remembered:

Death Acres is it the place for me?
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Raleigh, just give me that countryside.

Yes, Tabby and I sometimes refer to our farm here as "Death Acres."  Morbid I suppose, but sometimes it feels like it.  I guess that's because we just have tender hearts and are still adapting to farm living.  (And we really do LOVE living on our little farm.)  I imagine frequent animal deaths are the norm for bigger farms.

Last week Pom Pom, Tabby's white Silkie Bantum rooster disappeared.  It reminded us of Enoch, in the Bible:  "Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." (Genesis 5:24)

photo credit:  Tabby
Best we can figure is that in Pom Pom's case, God was really a hawk.  We have a hawk couple living on the property.

Seeing the brown Silkies in the above picture reminded me of this.  When Tabby first bought them, one of the brown ones seemed to have frequent seizures.  It would suddenly drop it's head way down, start to walk backwards in a circle, and often would fall over.  Very pitiful to watch.  None of the chicken experts Tabby contacted had ever heard of a chicken with problems like that.  I'm happy to report that after a few weeks, the problems were gone and the chicken acts totally normal now.

Last night, we found one of our young Barred Rock chickens dead in the front yard.  All the dogs were around.  Who was the killer?  Lucia is "the usual suspect."  I said she was looking guilty but Frank questioned "Can dogs really feel guilt?"  Sherlotta (Dixie's black puppy) had a mouth full of feathers.  But since the chicken's body was surrounded by feathers who knows if she was the killer or just playing with the dead chicken after.  Dixie and her son Exhaust Pipe weren't suspects in my mind.  But of course there's no way to figure it out.  Still, this has happened enough we are sadly contemplating if we need to just find a new home for Lucia, as she's got a long line of dead chickens to her credit.

My Precious (Buff) and a young Barred Rock (photo credit: Tabby)
Finally, the last death occurred sometime during Sunday night.  And for me it was the sad.  Our little baby goat, Pippin, died.

Pippin - his last photo shoot (photo credit: Tabby)
I am so thankful I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon just holding the little goat.  I thought he was so sweet and cute and loved his floppy ears.

What was wrong with him?  I never could quite figure it out.  None of his symptoms matched anything I could find for newborn goat kids online or in books.  So I want to list those things out here, in case they help some other goat owner who is Googling their kid's problems.

Pippin wasn't well from day 2.  His front right hoof had every appearance of hoof rot.  (If you have know about this, it is completely bizarre for a 2 day old kid to have this.)  We treated him for it and it did get a lot better in his 2.5 weeks of life.  A few days after the hoof rot appeared, his back leg swelled up.  It was swollen from between the top of the hoof to about 2 inches under his knee.  (I could not find anything online or in goat books talking about swelling in this area.)  That swelling went away 2 days before he died.  Then his shoulder swelled up.  Also during his life, his breathing sounded too loud to me at times.  (Goats can get pneumonia.)  Besides not being able to stand well, he was generally weak.  He didn't care for milk in a bottle - or syringe - so we got to where, a number of times a day, we'd hold him up under his mama to nurse.  (It IS normal for a kid to not care for a bottle when he is used to nursing normally.)

Pippin's mother Pippi is healthy, friendly, and has a good milk supply.  (We will continue to milk her.)  Best we can figure is Pippin inherited his grandma's bad genes.  Topaz had all sorts of leg and hoof issues, didn't produce milk, and finally had to be put down.

Pippi - does she wonder where her baby is? (photo credit: Tabby)
I do not put animals on the same plane as humans, though I do love animals.  Yet I found little Pippin's problems reminded me some of Lilly.  The weak muscle tone, inability to walk, etc.  I loved helping him and treating him and just holding him.  I guess, because of the Lilly reminders, that made me all the sadder when he died.  Deep sigh ...

Sweet little Pippin (photo credit: Tabby)
We're really hoping that Nutmeg, our brown goat, is pregnant.  (If she is, she will give birth about the end of the month.)  It is just so fun having little babies - in all forms - running around.  (Her sister, Cloves, just had twin does!  She lives with her original owner.)

"The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." - Psalm 145:9


  1. I admire you. I am not sure I could deal with losing so many sweet animals. You are a strong woman. Love you.

    1. Thank you Nikki. Love you too!