While at farmers market a few weeks ago, we stuck little Roo, our baby goose, in with all of the ducks. They are similar animals and he should have been alright. Khaki Campbell ducks are skittish and freak out at the slightest movement. If we turn on the light in the kitchen after dark, you can hear them quacking in distress. They go nuts over everything.
Birds are odd creatures. A flock moves as one body. Not sure how they do it, but it’s kooky. Watch them sometime. They twist and turn in unison. Something must have scared the ducks to rush around and it spooked Roo. He ran into the fence, kept trying to go through it, and tore his skin open. Spencer found him dead later that afternoon. Meredith cried a lot. Spencer had a discussion with her about not panicking.
Last week, Meredith noticed that little Emily J was acting odd. I chalked it up to her wild imagination and told her to put the goat back outside. Three hours later Spencer came in with the news that Emily J was dead. Meredith moped around the house occasionally sobbing, “God be with you till we meet again.”
The culprit? Coccidiosis. It’s an intestinal disease. Two days ago we lost a baby LaMancha, and yesterday we lost an adult Nigerian Dwarf milker, Emma. Usually they have a strong enough immune system that they recover whereas the kids are too young. We have a severe case that is plaguing our farm.
For weeks, Spencer has been grumbling about their lack of appetite. He couldn’t imagine how we had so many cases of worms when we rotate fields so often. This isn’t supposed to happen when you farm this way. After discussing it, and using our sharp 20/20 hindsight, we have come to the only logical conclusion.
This horrible disease must have come from the new herd. We were so occupied with our old herd, we didn’t stop to think about the new goats. We should have quarantined them, but we were desperate for milk to keep the dairy going. One of the LaManchas, which we named Diarrhea, had diarrhea. (We’re very clever around here.)
She didn’t have worms, she had something else. The owner didn’t know what it was, but Spencer was sure she would be fine. He wills a lot of things to be fine because he needs them to be. Reality doesn’t always agree. It has spread to everyone. Not just the milkers, but the babies too. It moves ever so fast. We didn’t even know Emma was sick until it was too late. Spencer wormed her yesterday morning, but it ruptured the cells in her intestines, and he found her dead in the field last night.
This morning another one is doing terribly and she was fine last night. I swear I didn’t notice anything unusual about her. And I’ve been looking for signs to catch it earlier. Right now I’m keeping an eye on her in case she goes extremely south.
As a precaution and to just get rid of the protozoa taking over the farm, Spencer wormed every last goat this morning. We’ll have to throw away the milk for a few days, but it is worth it if we can rid ourselves of this disease.
I’m trying to keep my cool, but I feel like we’ve made full circle and are right back at the beginning. Anything could go wrong and I find myself wondering if I’ll really be able to pull off this farming gig.
Spencer told my yesterday that all 2,000 pounds of our potatoes have been eaten by the Colorado Potato Beetles. If only I could find a use for them, I would have millions of dollars in income. He plans to use a torch to dispatch of them and the stubs in the ground. Otherwise the pests will just move to the next best thing: tomatoes.
So, who’s up for some new purple potatoes? We had some for sale last week, and they sold quite well. What did you think? I find they make a very pretty lavender mash, or they look beautiful roasted with carrots and rosemary (purple, green and orange are my favorite color combo). We had some baked potatoes with some guests last year and when the woman cut open her potato she was quite shocked. It was very entertaining.
We have our ups but only appreciate them when we are in the midst of our downs. The ups seem to be a lot shorter though, don’t they? I guess the only thing to do when life gives you potato bugs is to make purple potato chips and call it a day.
Sorry if this is a negative post. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but I thought I should say something...you guys read this to know the good and the bad. Right?