Came out to the barn this morning to find Viann, peacefully asleep, all squashed up against the gate to the milking room. The above picture is of her asleep yesterday. She looks dead. I had to check.
Why does any of this matter? Well, we had a really bad night here last night. There was a lot of soul searching and self-recrimination. We had gone into town for gear in the early evening and got back a little after dark. Not terribly in a hurry, I took a few minutes to enjoy the warm spring evening on the porch while Leah went into take a bath. It was full dark and almost 8:00 when I finally got back to the barn to finish for the night. Thing is though, when I flipped on the light, there were only 2 goats looking back at me. Piedro was weirdly sprawled out and particularly bloated looking for a goat rolling around in the middle of the floor. There were odd grunty wheezes coming from him. It was disturbing. Ann was just looking out of the nursery with her giant eyes and tiny tiny ears. No Viann. No baby goat. Ann isn’t terribly distressed but one of her teats is turgid. No baby. Search search search. Got a flash light, search outside around the barn. Maybe she’s hiding. Nothing. Nowhere. Got Leah out of her nice relaxing bath with “the baby goat is gone.” She ended up out searching through the woods around the barn for blood trail. I checked Maly (the dog) for blood or hair on his lips.We had left him home. Leah apparently palpated his gut to see if he was F.U.L.L. Nothing.
I did not cry. Or scream. Or break anything. I just called the woman who had given me Ann. The entirety of the 10 minute call with Courtney is irrelevant except for 2 sentences. “Oh, her dad used to hide from us all the time. He would disappear for hours.” I searched the inside of our tiny 16×23′ barn for a half hour. I wasn’t moving the feed sacks and barrels around or anything. Ok, 15 minutes. And apparently not terribly well. Because like I said at the start, she was laying there goaty as they get this morning.
From my perspective, she did one of 2 things. Either she managed to squeeze her little rubber body (3 days old remember) through the 2″ gap between the stall slats to the feed room and burrow down into the back of the feed bag pile or inside the pallet they are sitting on, I don’t know, OR she simply phase shifted and I couldn’t see her. Cats do it. Spring peepers do it every winter. Maybe she is the “GOAT WHO COULD WALK THROUGH WALLS.” <blert> I had figured that a coyote or fox had come and taken her. I was convinced. I could see her hanging from its mouth as it got back to feed its young. Circle of life, right?
Needless to say, I got to use the milk pail that we had gone to get that night when I milked Ann for the first time. It will take a few more days for me to get her back into the milking stand after all the stress around it lately. She totally hated what I was doing. Instead of being overly stompy stompy jumpy jumpy, she just froze. As I mentioned, one teat was hard turgid and the other was small and floppy. Once I got it started, the turgid teat just flowed on its own. I’ve never seen that before and I have a few thousand (ok many hundreds) of gallons of goat milk behind me. Courtney had said that her teats weren’t difficult for giant paws like mine and she was right. I got maybe a heavy pint out of the one teat, next to nothing out of the other. I wasn’t drinking it either way. Colostrum, the early milk transfers immunity from the mother. But I got it out of her. In light of the fact that Viann is still alive, I wonder if she simply likes the port side teat over the starboard side one. I’ve know human children who did that, leaving their human mothers breasts lopsided. Circle of life.
After a night and morning of wondering whether I should be doing any of this, only to realize I was duped by the devil’s spawn YET AGAIN!!!!! Goats. What was I thinking.