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October 20, 2010

What's Happening at the Farm?

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A true story: How one curious kid goat and an Armdillo hole resulted in tragedy.

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Curious Kid Goat and an Armadillo Hole

Having a small farm with livestock definitely has its ups and downs. Animals, like children, are so innocent and begin exploring right from the start. Watching new life being brought into this big world is part of being a farmer. They stumble around trying to stand on their nimbly legs. It brings a smile to my face knowing that I am their main caretaker. They discover their mother with her rich source of nourishment bringing them more life and they are up and bouncing around growing and discovering the big world in which they were born.

I have read every book Iíve come across on how to raise goats, but this evening I was shocked by what happened. And not one of those books mentioned what Iím about to share with you. Now, I have heard of livestock falling into an armadillo hole and breaking a leg, but never in a million years would I have thought that this would happen.

As I was doing my evening routine of feeding my livestock and checking on my goats, I noticed one of my nannies coming in the coral later then the rest of my goats. I could sense that she was stressed by her blatting and not interested in feeding time. Farmers learn quickly how to sense when something is wrong. All the goats stay together unless there is something unusual happening such as a nanny giving birth, a sick goat or a goatís head caught in the fence.

I began my routine of cleaning out the feeding troughs. Goats donít really care about where their droppings land. But, they are very particular about eating with droppings in their feed trough and simply refuse to eat unless their troughs are cleaned. So, I went into the feed room, scooped up enough feed for the goats. Then, I got feed for Sadie and Ranger, my great Pyrenees, who live with my goats and protect them from the coyotes, neighbors dogs and bears.

I went back into the coral and shut the gate behind me, locking the herd into the coral. I slowly walked over to the feed troughs inside the barn with goats under my feet, pushing against me, acting as though they are starving to death. I fed Sadie and Ranger first, in their little area of the barn. The goats know not to mess with the dogs during feeding time. I then quickly turned my attention back too the goats. I began scooping handfuls of grain into the troughs being careful not to waste any for the goats heads are in my way. I finally got the goats fed and they were all happy except for the one nanny.

Having the goats and dogs taken care of I began watching the nanny that was in distress. I noticed she was looking in one direction. Opening the coral gate and closing it behind me, I began my search for the missing kid. I went around the coral heading into the pasture on the back side of the barn and I noticed the rear end of a kid goat.

Never in my wildest dreams have I thought about a kid goat getting so far down into an armadillo hole that it couldnít get its little head with spiked horns out of the hole. There was very little dirt inside her mouth, taking my finger and brushing her air way clear. Her body temperature was still warm, telling me she hadnít been dead long. I held her head closing her nostrils and using my other hand to cup over here mouth to try give her CPR. After ten minutes of working with her, she was not responsive. Her mother had been standing beside her probably blatting encouragement to her baby or calling for help. But, I was no where around to help her, which always leaves a sense of irresponsibility inside my gut. Itís not that Iím thinking about monetary value, but simply the life that was lost. Did she suffocate and die? Or, maybe she just died of stress. Iím not sure and will probably never know. I guess this is the part of being a farmer that is the worst. Follow the link below and check it out. I guarantee youíll be convinced in less than 2 minutes.

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To your success,

Steve Robinson

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This Tip of the Week was reprinted with permission from Self Sufficient Farm Living, 4007 Dabney Rd. Jerusalem, AR. 72080 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Thank you for allowing me share just a little part of what I'm so proud of. And, I hope your journey to become more Self Sufficient is going well. Keep up the good work!

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