Thursday, July 14, 2011
Every farm, however small, suffers losses and recently we have been beset by them. Several weeks ago we lost our favorite doe kid this season, Tripoli. She was gorgeous beyond belief and maybe never suited to this ugly world. After a month of wasting away with diarrhea, she finally passed. I believe now that her dam never fed her those first few days and it took too long for her to show any interest in a bottle. I should have forced a tube down her throat to feed her colostrum after 24hrs, but I mistook her disinterest in eating as a sign that her mother was nursing in private. Combine a first-freshening doe with a freshman mistake in goat husbandry and you get a wasting kid. Despite eating, she never put on weight and took little interest in running and jumping with the others. She was bigger and healthier the day of her birth than any other of her short life.
About one week before Tripoli died, we started losing laying hens to a clever raccoon. One-a-day and with no obvious signs of forced-entry, I began to blame the chickens for cannibalism and a recent change in feed. Even after discovering the thief, we failed to secure the coop against his persistent attacks. With net electric fencing installed, I finally succeeded in trapping the chicken-eater two days ago. I dispatched him and he suffered less than his prey.
Within this short period, we also lost my father to a brain tumor. Where keeping the little farm was once an obstacle to visits with family, it has become a great distraction from the reality of my father's death.