No kids today….
nor any lambs, either; but here comes the bad news – two unwelcome new arrivals in the form of two (yes, two) cases of caprine mastitis. Read on & weep.
First thing this morning whilst doing the chores I carried out my thrice-daily udder health check on all the girls; & on examining new mum Ninny, I discovered to my dismay that there was slight but definite hardening inside the lower part of her left-hand udder (goats & sheep only have two, unlike cows who have four – sorry if I’m ‘teaching anyone to suck eggs’ at this point). On consulting Tony he’d noted that her kids only ever seemed to take milk from the right-hand side; but as they’ll only be with her for a few days we couldn’t really redress the balance – & the mastitis had to be treated. Fortunately I had a couple of spare ‘Leo Yellow’ cow tubes; so after milking the affected side (getting well over a litre from it) I carefully administered the intermammary injection, about which she was understandably not too pleased.
As Eek had only given birth to one kid – albeit a large, robust boy – I opted to take some milk from her as well, as her udders were quite full. I took a good litre or so from her but she still had absolutely loads of milk left; which thankfully bodes well for her future as a tip-top member of the Milkforce. With the chores increasing in complexity & duration I rustled Tony up a lateish breakfast of eggs & bacon, before hurrying off into the nearby town to do the main monthly grocery shop & stock up on feedstuff for the livestock.
It was a wet, cold, blustery afternoon; & the shops were fairly quiet. I deduced this was because Wales were playing Ireland in the Six Nations rugby; this year, they’ve done extremely well, winning every game they’ve played so far. In the electrical goods section as in every shop in town I suspect, anxious knots of supporters were thronging to keep up with the score; which initially wasn’t promising. However, Wales once again ‘pulled the rabbit out of the hat’ so to speak; & won the match – & the Triple Crown. The result was even announced over the supermarket tannoy! So well done, Wales!!
In the Farm Shop I purchased the usual sacks of feed, plus a couple of mineral lick blocks. For 24 sacks (which will last us approximately 3 weeks, getting through just over 1x25kg sack of mix per day) + the blocks, the bill came to just under £200 – that’s almost double what it was, a year ago. And yet while the cost of feedstuff goes up, we the producers cannot increase our own prices accordingly. No wonder so many farmers are still going out of business.
The other thing I had to buy, was a fistful of collars (yes you did read that right) – cat collars, to be precise. It’s not that we’ve decided to decorate our longhaired, microchipped mogs; rather, these are for the goat kids, as they’re the only ones which will fit them when they’re so tiny! When I explained the predicament to the Farm Shop staff, they just shook their heads & laughed – those nutty Knights, again.
I returned home through the now decidedly inclement weather, gusts of wind buffeting my trusty truck with the wipers on ‘speedy’ setting as I bounced along the slate-grey gloom of the damp river valley. It was good to be home & indulge in a quick cuppa – ohhh, bliss; made with Eek-a-Goat’s lovely, creamy caprine milk (oh how we’ve missed it!) – before braving the bluster again to do some work on the farmyard & start the evening chores, including the continued treatment of poor Ninny’s mastitic udder. Thankfully, we seem to have caught it just in time; she was much improved with the hardness almost completely dissipated, although the poor girl behaved in the manner of her namesake & just wouldn’t stand still, this evening. At least the majority of the new milkers are learning to behave when being hand-milked, though; it’s a tough job trying to do it on your own as well, what with Tony hurrying around doing DIY jobs instead to sort out altered pen layouts & prevent cheeky kids from jailbreaking all the time!
Imagine my dismay when checking the pre-kidding maidens, to discover that Booty’s udders had swollen with milk during the afternoon – & one side was now definitely unpleasantly hot & hard. Tony held her still whilst I gently released the pressure on the udder; the stringy, clotted milk told the same story again – mastitis, worse than Ninny’s had been as at least her milk hadn’t clotted; & this, in a goat who hasn’t even kidded yet: not good, not good at all. As I was treating Ninny with the last of my ‘Leo Yellow’ tubes I opted to have a go at zapping Booty with a Lincocin Forte tube, which was all we had left. I can only hope that it works & that by tomorrow morning all’s well again – & that she has her (hopefully greedy) kids, soon….although a few hours’ uninterrupted sleep, would be most welcome……!!