So, we have good news and we have bad news.
I’ll start with the bad news. After working on the fence, almost completing it, and acquiring several truckloads of scrap wood from a friend’s fallen shed to build our goat and pig shelters, we received an unhappy call from the goat lady this morning. The goat lady is the woman who had promised us her two pregnant Boer-Sanaan goats, which we were scheduled to pick up this coming Monday, April 1st. Because one of the two does is due to deliver on April 6th, she became understandably concerned about the trauma of transport so late into the pregnancy.
We thought that perhaps she just wanted the doe to birth at her current home, establish with the kids for a bit, and then move on in with us, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. She said that she couldn’t guarantee what would happen after the birth and that maybe she would end up keeping them after all. She was, however, still offering to let us have the other doe.
We were immediately conflicted. Everything we’ve learned about goats has led us to understand that they are incredibly social creatures who thrive in the company of other goats. The idea of having one lonesome goat was unappealing, at best, and put us in a really bad place of having to make a decision we really didn’t feel qualified to make. Luckily, another friend keeps goats and was available for a lengthy goat-support-hotline phone call.
She encouraged us to explore, in depth, the health of the goat we would be taking. The two main issues of which she wanted us to be aware were CAE, or Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis, and CL, or Caseous Lymphadenitis. While CAE is decidedly the lesser of the two evils, they are both evil and we want to be sure that any goat brought onto our property is free of them. CAE is a nervous disease in goats that is most commonly transmitted from mother to kid through infected milk. CL is an infection in goats that causes swelling and abscesses, affects the milk, meat, and overall health of the herd, and can affect humans adversely as well. While we could work with a goat that had CAE, we could not work with one that had CL.
As far as taking one goat and having her be lonely, our friend could only say that we would have to trust the goat lady. If the goat lady promised us the solo doe would be alright, then we would have to take that on faith, if we really wanted to have the animal come live with us. She went on to reassure us further by saying that if we found that the goat was lonely and needed companionship, she would provide us with a couple of Boer kids when hers were old enough to be away from their mama; this would be possible in two months’ time.
So, the good news is that we decided to continue building the shelter.
Motivated by the possibility of a happy little herd in the not-so-distant future, we worked for several hours and had a great deal of fun piecing together the odd pieces of scrap wood we had available. After awhile, it looked like this:
Dave remembered that we’d scored a bunch of old windows about a year ago. Since our goal was to build a structure that would not only serve as a warm, dry place for the goats to spend time and sleep, but also a spot for milking, we knew we’d need some daylight to help us out. We built up the back wall and inserted one of the two (maybe three… we’ll see) windows the shelter will have.
We’ll get back to work tomorrow and hopefully will be able to complete most of the structure. We still have to close the fencing, which won’t take long, and then all that will be left to do is build a gate door.
Oh… and get our goats. We must remember to do that.