Dealing with the Death of a Goat

So today is the first full day without Pinters, and I have to say, I’m not feeling too much better. I know time heals all wounds, and I’m doing all I can to move forward — watching old videos of Pinta as a kid seem to help remember the good times. This one comes from the post Honk If You Heart Pinta:

Cuddling my dogs and closing my eyes and pretending like they’re Pinta, feeling her thick, coarse fur between my fingers, is also comforting.

But every time I’ve gone to the pen since it happened, especially the first time this morning, until I arrive and see things are fine, my body is tense with this huge feeling of fear, anxiety, and dread that I will find something is wrong with Pasqualina.

And this post is really about her.

Da Baby Pascaluccia

Da Baby Pascaluccia

If you’ve been following along, you know that I got Pasqualina as a wee kid, just a few weeks old, and bottlefed her, so she is truly The Baby even though she then became The Mommy (of Pinta).

I’m sure those fearful feelings will also pass with time as we fall back into our old routines, but I have a question for you goatie people, especially those in the global goat sisterhood:

Is there anything I can do for Pasqualina right now to help her adjust?

Yesterday she didn’t seem to really notice the absence of Pinta and happily took some lemon tree leaves from me to cover whatever pain she might have felt. This morning, though, was heartbreaking. She wouldn’t leave my side when I was in the pen. She even came over with me to refresh the water bucket, which she never does; she usually just goes about eating when I’m there.

Granted some of that behavior, I think, is because she wants to stay away from the buck. Yes, he’s still in there for another week, so at least she has *some* company for now (we’re still figuring out what to do about getting Pasqualina a new buddy), but aside from extra attention and cuddles, I’m wondering if maybe I can give her some kind of vitamin or herbal supplements or something to help make sure she doesn’t actually fall ill from all the sudden changes — of course the weather has just turned fairly cold as well on top of everything else that has happened.

Goatie sisterhood and brothers, suggestions?

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28 Responses to “Dealing with the Death of a Goat”
  1. Joanna
    12.20.2011

    Well, I’m useless here, but you and Pasqualina have each other and that is a lot!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Joanna; I was with her a good bit this morning, which she seems to appreciate, though it’s probably more helpful for me than for her. She’s a great cuddler xx

    [Reply]

  2. 12.20.2011

    Time…..time and hugs……..
    and I know you’ve plenty of hugs to give.

    Darla was inconsolable when I returned her to the barn. For weeks she screamed herself hoarse. I sobbed like a crazy woman. Farmer said: Give it time.

    And Farmer, being Farmer, was right. (even though I didn’t want to admit it)

    Your animals are loved. That’s a great start……….

    *warm hugs*
    ~Mimi

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Mimi; that bleating is just heartbreaking, isn’t it? When we first had Pasqualina and didn’t yet have a buddy for her, it broke my heart to walk away from her every. single. time.

    [Reply]

  3. 12.20.2011

    Immune boosting herbs for goats (many of the same ones that are good for us…. pine branches (vitamin C—-just make sure it’s not Yew tree — poisonous!) parsley, lavendar, rosemary, dandelion, ginger, garlic (beware garlicky goat burps!) raspberry leaves, echinacea, yarrow all of have healing properties of varying kinds. Carrots good for worms and just delicious, apples, and probiotics…. if you cant get the powdered kind a little yogurt on a spoon. Keep up a good “gut” balance and that will strengthen the immune system too….and of course lots of love and a replacement friend when you figure that out. The herbs chopped fresh or dried as a top dress to her regular rations should help a little. I’ve been giving my sheep and goats a dried mix including a few other things for worming (cloves and cinnamon) as a top dress on their food the last couple of weeks to help boost immunity in the awful wet weather we’re having and to help with parasites. They like it (but phew, run from the burps!) :)

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks June; so much great info here — exactly what I was hoping for. I didn’t realize goats would/could eat rosemary. We have a ton of it; not like I would give her a ton at a time, of course, but good to know :) Never heard of using cloves and cinnamon — if you could share your dried mix “recipe” I’d love it! Have you ever used grapefruit seed extract (GSE) with your goats?

    [Reply]

    June Reply:

    I sent it to you via email!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much June!

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    June,
    Can I too get your recipe for dry herbs? Thank you in advance;)!! My email is riderhomestead@gmail.com

    [Reply]

  4. 12.20.2011

    Attention and company are the two big things for her emotional health. For the physical, I’d recommend probiotics (I purchase a paste) to keep her rumen working well if she’s a bit finicky at eating. Time will heal all wounds for goats as well as people.

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Teresa; been in with her a lot today and will head back out again in a bit. It’s great for both of us, I think xx

    [Reply]

  5. 12.20.2011

    I have been through this several times and it will take time for both of you to recover. Like you, I would worry something was wrong with the others when this would happen and time will help that to pass. Attention for Pas as well as the goat paste which is loaded with vitamins, minerals and probiotics for goats. At the smallest amount of stress I give it to all my goats. When goats stress their bodies release an enzyme which signals the dormant things that can take a goat down to start multiplying. I always have two tubes of the paste on hand at all times as well as Thaimine (B Complex) for giving a vitamin shot. I give the shots if they are really stressed. I highly recommend the paste. It can be found at Tractor Supply or online under ‘Goats Prefer Probiotic Plus Paste’. Did I mention the goats find it very tasty. Sending goat hugs to Pasqualina and you.

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    I’m so jealous of this paste — I’m in Italy, which means there’s no chance I’ll find it here, and if I try to get it shipped here, it’ll get stopped in Customs and probably sent back after they charge me a bunch of euros to “test” it for EU compliance :( I’ll have my mom or someone bring it on the plane for the future for sure, but for now I’ll have to do yogurt and a homemade combo. Thanks Barbara xx

    [Reply]

  6. You and yours are on my mind and in my heart, Michelle. As a matter of fact, I posted something about your loss on Monday ( December the 19th) evening, on TLLG in a post called, “On The Gathering of Rosebuds”, where at the end of the post, I discussed the “importance” of virtual stories to help ease the pain of loosing a loved one @ http://bit.ly/tOLwY2

    Today I decided to check in with you @ Goatberries to see how you were doing and it sounds like your virtual story (DVDS of Pinters) are bringing about a consolation even if it doesn’t feel like it.

    I know very little about goats and this may sound crazy, but is there a way, you could bring your Mac to the pen and watch a Pinters “video” with Pasqualina and talk to her about it while you watch it?

    On two other notes,

    ONE: Have you ever seen the movie, “The Story of the Weeping Camel”? It might be
    cathartic to watch it at this time if you get a hold of the DVD.

    TWO: As I was scrolling through your comments, the words, “oatmeal cranberry cookies” jumped out at me, seems having some of those might be good at this time . . .

    I’ll keep you and yours in my thoughts and prayers, and if I were anywhere near “the toe”, I’d at least give you, P, and Pasqualina (if she’d let me) a hug. So please accept one from cyber-space!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Virtual hugs always accepted, Patricia, thank you :) I probably could take the laptop out, but I think Pasqualina would be more interested in chewing on it haha — all goats are curious, but she seems to have expensive taste (iPod Touch, cell phone, etc.) ๐Ÿ˜‰ I haven’t seen that movie; will look it up — and YES I could use some cranberry oatmeal cookies, and as luck would have it, my mom recently sent me both oatmeal AND dried cranberries…fate?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

    [Reply]

  7. 12.21.2011

    Since my loss, I spend so much time out in my pasture with my horse. I did get her a donkey though. They bonded almost immediately. And yes, for a week after I lost Poncho, I too would cautiously walk out to feed and check on Libby. That first week is the hardest. I worry so much more than I did before. Is Libby walking right? Is her poop normal? Are her eyes clear? Is her nose clean? Yes, there is a lot more worry than before.

    You are in my prayers that each day gets a little easier.

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    This means so much, Jody, thank you. From the beginning, I was always a worry wart, checking the goat berries (24-hour diarrhea has freaked me out a couple times!), how much water is gone from the bucket, the color of the skin beneath their eyes, stomach sizes, etc., and now it’s doing all that many, many times a day. That is part of why this is so difficult right now, I think — I’ve been *so* careful and, I thought, following all the goatie rules. Pfft. Nature has its own mind I suppose. Hugs to you xx

    [Reply]

  8. 01.08.2012

    I feel so sorry that you lost your little Pinta! I have been thinking for a long time about having goats as soon as I retire. I know it will be work and now I know that it could be heartbreaking, too. I am still longing to do it anyway.
    Hope you feel better soon, Michelle!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Caterina. The overwhelming joy is so worth any potential pain and heartache, I assure you xx

    [Reply]

  9. Samantha
    01.27.2012

    This made me cry.
    As I posted yesterday we have 2 goat kids. HAD 2 goat kids. This morning Marilyn, my saanen, got unexpectidly ill and passed on my lap in our car while it was still in our driveway.
    I’m not ready for another goat but I’m worried about Bettie (our alpine). She was looking for Marilyn for awhile after it happened and she seems better now but I feel so bad she will be alone tonight. I don’t know what to do my heart aches for Marilyn. :(

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Oh my goodness, Samantha, I am so so so sorry. It’s been a little over a month since we lost Pinta, and I’m still tearing up from time to time. On the bright side, Pasqualina seems to be doing just fine; I think it helped that the buck is still in there with her. He’ll be going back shortly, though, so I’m not sure how she’ll be after that. We’re not planning on getting a new goat between now and when she (hopefully) delivers in April…but if she’s really missing the company, we’ll do something. Right now she’s around lots of chickens, and I go over quite a bit with the dogs, so I’m hoping she doesn’t feel too lonely :( Hugs to you, Samantha, and may your sweet girl rest in peace. xx

    [Reply]

    Samantha Reply:

    I’m glad your girl is doing well! We don’t have any chickens YET and our dogs thing they are bosses of the goats so its not safe to leave them alone together. So for ahile Bettie is an inside goat. (She’s snuggled up with me as I’m sitting in bed right this moment lol) The dairy we got them from said they have a couple does who will be kidding any time and they would be glad to hold one for us but I’m a bit leary of raising another baby. I’m hoping we can find an adult goat to adopt who needs a home. :) Fingers crossed!

    [Reply]

    Samantha Reply:

    *Think not thing :)
    And awhile not ahile.
    Sorry I guess I’m tired lol. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Don’t worry, we don’t judge typos here…typing with hooves is *hard* ๐Ÿ˜‰

    [Reply]

    Samantha Reply:

    LOL!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Oh yes, my goats and dogs don’t really play together, but I somehow think it’s nice for her to see other four-legged creatures haha…good on you for thinking of an adult goat. They definitely need loving homes too, and it looks like you’ve got one ready. Goat kisses to Bettie xx

    [Reply]

    Samantha Reply:

    Yeah her and our beagle “hang out” but don’t play. At least when we are looking.
    I’m kind of in a frantic search to find Bettie a pal now. She did fine all night but she hasn’t taken a bottle since yesterday morning and she just had runny poops. :/

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Ugh, runny poops are the worst :( How old is she? I hope all is well by the time you read this! xx

    [Reply]


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