A Tragedy, and a Hopeful Alternate Ending

Just this past Saturday we were shearing our goats. Got ready to take a break for lunch when we discovered our last doe to kid, was in fact having her kid – but with difficulty. Baby needed a hand being delivered, he was a big baby!

He did well though, his airway cleared out and he found his feet and nursed.

We had lunch and continued to shear. Penelope got to skip out on shearing that day.

On Monday after taking the big kids to school I took the smallest of the short ones to a nearby park, the sun was shining, we played with buckets in the water and had lots of fun.

Once we arrived home I went immediately to see the goats. I was not prepared for the horror that I found.

Poor Penelope’s baby in the water bucket, he was dead.

How horribly ironic. Devastating.

I immediately removed him and seen if there was any possible chance to save him.

It’s days like this I make a really sucky farmer. Penelope bleated and bawled, frantically searching for her kid and I cried along with her most of the day.

My heart crushed with hers. I turned to other angora loving group members and shared my grief. Turns out babies in buckets are too often a tragedy. I learned pans are the way to go in kidding season. Shallow water, things that tip. In hindsight it seems such a foolish error. But that’s the thing about hindsight, the 20/20.

I share this story also in hopes of making others aware. We had no idea. Now we do. Maybe this can help someone else.

Today, we’ve taken a chance, and acquired two orphan lambs. Well what really happened is we’d briefly discussed finding an orphan lamb to have live with Penelope. Then today when Adam returned home, I was playing in the living room with our children when I heard the door close and a short little baaaaah! Surprise!

Suddenly two little lambs. One who had just been born today and one who is one week old. The children were ecstatic – myself, a bit of a shock, but like with most creatures, my heart was theirs just moments later.

Penelope has no kid, the lambs no mother. It’s a leap but a hopeful one. It can work. It has in the past. Our cow was an orphan. At that time we found a sannan goat to mother her. They were a wonderful pair. She was our first goat, her name was Penelope. She was amazing!

Penelope in this story is named after her, she is actually Penelope II.

Hopefully with some time she will accept the lambs. If not, it was an attempt and we will raise them ourselves. Penelope has provided them though, especially the brand new baby, with colostrum. A solid start. We tied her to a gate with some grain for a treat while letting the lambs eat. She doesn’t love them, yet. I have my fingers crossed though. Orphans don’t always make it either. So this story could end in a double dose of hurt. It’s worth a shot though. Their bellies are currently full and they are enjoying time in their Hawaii hut, warm and happy.

Things don’t always turn out as you figured they might. But things do sort. Rainbows after the storm.

Lessons learned, never forgotten.

Rest In Peace our handsome Norbert.


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