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Extended Farm Report

Whew. So. Eventful few days, eh?
The goatlings are doing well. The doeling’s hip is dislocated. Consultation with a couple vets has yielded the verdict “there’s not much to be done”. We can put it back in (I have a couple times) but it doesn’t stay. There’s no good way to immobilize a hip, and trying will make her more miserable than she is right now, since at the moment she’s not miserable at all. She’s not in pain, she’s getting around fine, she uses the leg when she needs to, and since she has a place here it won’t really hamper her ability to survive. So the verdict is just leave it alone and let her grow up. The two of them are growing by leaps and bounds though and while I was initially worried for her survival I’m pretty convinced at this point that they’re both going to live. After just a day or so of consistent nutrition she caught up to her brother in height and is visibly putting on muscle. I’m trying not to kick myself for not having brought them in sooner than I did. Goat babies are hiders, meaning they find a spot and stay there and mom comes back periodically to feed them. That means that they’re more at risk of getting stepped on or squished in a mixed species setting like I have than lambs are, since lambs are highly mobile from the moment they figure out their legs. It’s likely that the doeling got her hip dislocated when a sheep stepped on or laid on her.

Meanwhile I’m milking Gwyn, their mother. She’s brutally skinny, having used all the food I’ve been pumping into her to make healthy babies. So the plan is to milk her just enough to stave off mastitis while I dry her off so that she can devote her resources to putting weight back on. This morning, that meant that I got a quart of delicious milk from her. I shall promptly consume it over cereal and in my tea. At the moment I’ll be milking her probably once every other day unless it looks like I need to step it up to once a day for a while, and I’m not emptying her udder completely. Like any other mammal, goats adjust their milk supply to the demand. By not milking her out completely I can convince her body to slow down production until it stops.

Everyone else is doing great. Ella’s lambs are zooming around and using Misty the cow for a trampoline although never when I have the camera out. Misty doesn’t seem to mind. The pregnant Soay ewes range from Extremely Pregnant to Just Now Showing. The drought is ending with a spectacularly soggy late February. Onions, garlic, and barley are all doing well, and it’s time to plant peas and probably beets.

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