Thursday, 27 November 2014

Tough decisions

Today was a day for tough decisions as we had to say goodbye to the youngest and one of the oldest members of our herd.  Although there were very good reasons for both, you still have those tiny moments of doubt when you try to convince yourself that everything will be OK ...

Our lovely vet Peter was tasked with the job of sending both goaties off to the big goatshed in the sky.  Always tough for the vets but Peter is a consumate professional and so always handles the situation efficiently and calmly (despite lots of blubbing from myself and David!).  He always examines the animal thoroughly first and if he thinks that there is a chance of successful treatment, he will always give us the option to change our mind.  Though I have to say, in all our years of goatkeeping, this has happened only once!

First up was our last baby, born to Kitty only a couple of weeks ago.

You may remember that he had odd front legs.  Despite all our efforts and treatment, it became apparent that his legs would never straighten and his little knees seemed almost fused solid.  It was impossible to straighten his legs and the little chap moved around on his front knees with his bottom in the air. 
He was a beautiful big boy and such a happy little goat - he would bounce around with the others in his pen, despite being on his knees.  But, with no prospect of ever being able to straighten his legs, there was nothing we could do.  To leave him as he was would have been unthinkable and so we had to say goodbye.  David cuddled him as Peter sent him gently away.
Deep breath and then on to the old chap .. my beautiful old Macsen.  He came to us 7 years ago as a young buck from a tiny cottage high up in North Wales:

He always had a lovely smiley face and used to sing to his ladies during the mating season.  We always thought it was because he was Welsh!

When he arrived he was quite a handful but he soon settled down and was very happy living with our other male goats.

 But recently, he had begun to look quite elderly and frail.  His back legs were getting very wobbly and he was losing weight quite rapidly, despite still having a good appetite.  He hasn't sung to the ladies at all this season and it looked like he would really start to struggle as the winter approached. 

It was a tough call but after many hours of watching him, we took the really hard decision to say goodbye.

 I walked him round into the main barn so that he could see his ladies for one last time and then I held him tight as he slipped away.  Quick, painless and dignified. 

Ffarwel fy annwyl Macsen.

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