At that time, only one half of her udder was producing milk. I naively accepted what the gentleman told me, that after it dried up it would be okay and resume functioning after her next freshening. Part of this was beginner's ignorance, and part was because she has good bloodlines and I was following the sage advice to buy the best I could afford.
weeping sores on her udder, (my somewhat successful herbal treatment in detail here), difficult labor and stillborn doeling, uterine infection, what I initially thought was mastitis (but more likely congested udder), chronic copper deficiency, and hoof rot. All of this has meant numerous trips to the vet and numerous hours of research. Add to that the cost of treatments and the time to prepare and give them, (both conventional and alternative), and she's taken a lot of time, money, and physical resources. Then there was her non-cooperation to be bred by Gruffy.
Recently I'd begun to ask the question, does her contribution to the homestead and our goals, balance out the constant parade of problems? This is not always an easy question to either ask or answer, especially for those of us new to this lifestyle, or those of us with limited livestock and limited means to replace them. However, it is the make it or break it question in regards to the goal of self-sufficiency and I was in fact, becoming exceedingly discouraged with all Jasmine's health issues. Not just pity, but the constant need to treat her was tipping the scales; it was starting to take more time than I had to care for her. It was a question I had to ask and answer. My conclusion was that if she indeed kidded, I'd sell her and our wether as soon as her kid(s) were weaned.
Now this. Which is? She's broken her leg.
|As you can see, it's her front left leg|
A few hours earlier, we had gotten a brief shower burst. She was out in the pasture and took off running for the goat shed because goats hate rain. As near as we can tell, she must have slipped and fallen as she rounded the corner to get into the shed.
Initially we thought she'd dislocated it but we were clueless about what to do. We called our vet, in hopes we could treat this at home, because she's a big girl (over 150 pounds) and getting her into the back of my jeep or Dan's pickup would be no easy feat. The vet said she'd need to be examined in case of ligament damage, so we took her in. He could palpate a break, right under the shoulder, in a spot impossible to splint.
Splinting a broken leg on a goat is usually quite successful, but since this one couldn't be splinted, the conventional prognosis was not encouraging. Ordinarily such an animal would be put down. Dan wasn't willing to accept that without more research however. He also wanted to verify whether or not she was indeed pregnant, so we had a blood draw for pregnancy test done and brought her home.
Natural Goat Care, I've recently purchased Alternative Treatments for Ruminant Animals by Paul Dettloff, D.V.M. Pat's approach is largely dietary, while Paul's approach uses natural medicines. He recommended Arnica tincture initially, along with comfrey tincture. The Arnica is to treat swelling, comfrey to help heal the bone.
I don't have Arnica, but I do grow comfrey, so I started feeding her that. At the same time I asked about broken bones on the Holistic Goats Yahoo Group, and received advice on homeopathic treatment. I purchased Symphytum 30C to give her. I don't use homeopathic remedies, so I am not very familiar with them. This is not because of any opinion about homeopathy; I prefer herbs because I can grow them myself.
Now the pregnancy test has come back negative. I'm disappointed on the one hand of course, but relieved on the other. I worried about labor, delivery, and active, nursing kids for Jasmine with her leg. Or more likely, separating, milking, and bottle feeding her kids. However, it makes the question of "earning her keep" all the more relevant. And the more difficult. Trying to sell a goat with only half her udder functioning seemed unlikely enough. Now, depending upon how her leg heals, the problem is compounded, as is the decision about what to do with her.
In contemplation the options, there are a number of things I have to keep in mind. I have to remind myself that I cannot fix every problem, I cannot save every animal, and I must not take these as personal defeats. Nor do I want to fall into the trap of confusing responsibility with loyalty. This is not realistic for a self-sustaining homestead. Neither is focusing so much on only one animal, so that everything else starts to get neglected. Don't get me wrong, I really like Jasmine and am thankful for 10 months of the milk she gave. I would love to be able to replace her with another registered Nubian doe. Not sure how I could manage that though. I'll just have to wait and see what the future brings.