Thursday, March 31, 2016

Daphne's tough week

Here is my beautiful Daphne last fall, in a picture taken by my friend Christina.

On the 19th, Daphne lost her twins and had to have a C-section. She seemed to be healing up reasonably well from that, but on Tuesday evening, I called in the emergency vet. She wasn't eating and didn't want to get up, and was clearly in pain.

Turns out she was bleeding internally! The vet now thinks it was some kind of burst/broken blood vessel, a post-surgical issue. He gave her a shot of vitamin K for clotting, plus B12 and red cells. Her gums and inner eyelids were white. :( She has been dewormed yet again.

Neither of us were too sure she would make it through Tuesday night, but she did. He came back yesterday to give her more shots, and thought her gums looked a bit pinker.

Her appetite was a bit better yesterday and today, although I thought she was weak tonight. Her stitches are supposed to come out shortly so I am going to get the vet back tomorrow to do that and check her over again. I took her outside for a bit and just sat with her under the roofed part of our  outdoor bird run while she munched hay. I think she was glad to lean against me as she ate. I'm relieved that she is interested in food, although I would like to see her eating more. Still she has been going at it steadily all day today, downing an apple and a carrot along with her hay and grain. She even ate part of a horse cookie!

I took her some pine and spruce boughs this afternoon and she was happily munching away on them.
I don't think she is out of the woods yet but I am hopeful. She has been wearing the dog coat my friend Jackie gave me, and it keeps her warm and comfy in her box stall. It is hard for her being separated from the herd, even when they are in the next stall or within earshot, but I don't want to put her back with everybody until I am sure they won't further injure her by butting her or poking at her. 

  Please think good thoughts for Daphne. We love her and want her to get better! We've been through a lot with her the past two weeks (I believe I am up to 5 or 6 vet visits!) and I don't want to lose her now. As I type this, I have the barn cam on and am pleased to see that she is chowing down on hay.

Speaking of goats, meet Lance!

Lance belongs to my friend Jackie. When we went for our riding lessons yesterday, he was there, waiting to see the vet who was there gelding horses.

I found something out yesterday...

My horse Roo (you know, the one who I won all the ribbons with last Saturday?) is terrified of GOATS. Yes, goats. Yes, we now have 13 goats. Yes, Roo is supposed to come home to the farm this summer. The farm with 13 goats. God only knows what he thinks of pigs!

So I had a veeeeeery interesting riding lesson yesterday! Roo was so freaked out that my instructor got on him first and worked with him to calm him down enough not to bolt the minute I got on.

He was huffing and puffing and showing the white of his eyes, flaring his nostrils and sweating like a hog! This, the horse who has done a bazillion peaceful trail rides. The unflappable Roo.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. All it took was a goat.

My teacher eventually made Roo go right up to Lance, who was not at all fazed by the horse. Roo, however, was freaked. It was a great riding lesson for me, if terrifying, because I got to practice my various safety skills, and desensitizing him to the goat. But even after Lance finally left the ring, Roo was still on high alert.

But hey, I didn't get thrown off or anything close to that, I did my spook circles, and by the end of the lesson, Gordon and I were practicing pairs riding with Sandy and Roo.  

I have to tell ya, when I saw Roo going batsh*t crazy over the goat, I did not want to get on him. But I trust my instructor Linda and I know she would never put me in a situation she didn't think I could handle. So I got up there and rode it out! Didn't even lose bladder control! :D

Horses... just when you think maybe you're making some progress in your riding, BOOM! Along comes a goat. Well, really I do feel like I made a ton of progress yesterday, just by sticking with it even though my horse was jumpy and I was scared. 

And back at home...

...little Pierre was being a stealth goat between his mama Bambi and a big rock!

Monday, March 28, 2016


On Saturday, Gordon and I participated in our first horse show, just for fun. The event was organized to raise money for Sacha's Park, a kids' park that will be accessible to children of all abilities.

I think you can tell from this great photo taken by the very talented Deborah Wilson that I had an excellent day...

And of course I had to be clutching my iPhone! I think Gordon had just handed it to me because he'd been taking photos. While that is my horse, it is not my cowboy hat nor my sparkly shirt. When I got there, my friends set to work making me over for competition!

I had no idea I need a sparkly shirt!

Kim put hers on me, but the first cowboy hat they found was too small for my big head (I do have a very large head. When I was in the Navy, I wore the largest women's hat size available.)

But they finally got me sorted out, and I decided I like cowboy hats very much and now need to buy one!

Gordon came in to a filthy horse Saturday morning, but he got her all cleaned up...

...and soon we were out there doing our stuff!


This was some halter or showmanship class that I knew absolutely NOTHING about, and I had to go first. I managed to fake my way through it but I certainly didn't win any prizes!!

But for the walk/jog (trot) classes...

I cleaned up!

Two first-place ribbons, which was quite a shock to me, although in the past couple of weeks I feel like I've  made some big strides in my riding abilities.

Gordon did great too! 


Between us I think we brought him nine ribbons, and I tied for reserve champion! Hilarious. And I wasn't competing solely against ten-year-olds. There were four adult participating. :)

Most of important, though, I had a blast and we raised funds for a great cause.

I went back to my normal clothes when I was finished riding, although I didn't give my teacher Rose her hat back until I went home after supper! :) I think our horses Sandy and Roo had a fun day too.

We take lessons and ride at Havencrest Farm, which is just over the border in Quebec. Rose and her mother Linda teach me and Gordon and they are just the best instructors. We have so much fun, and ride in a safe environment. I have learned so much from them! 

All in all, a fantastic day. Not much in life makes me happier than being on my horse.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

And on the heels of sadness, this!

Bambi had two healthy twins on Monday night!

A boy and a girl.

She is an excellent mama and is feeding her babies very well.

She was restless Monday evening and I knew something was up. I went in to have supper, came out to check on her, went in for 15 minutes and came out to a baby. Then her second one popped right out. It took her awhile to pass her placenta and we thought there might be more babies, but two was it!

Meet Pierre.

And Emmeline!

They are a bit smaller than Genny's twins born last Wednesday but are doing just fine!

Bambi keeping a watchful eye on me. 

Bambi and Emmeline

I don't know how I took this shot but I really like it!

Mama and babies are doing very well, and my goat midwifery adventure is now over, which is sort of a shame. I have learned so much and feel like I could do more of it, but since my goats are rescues and just pets, I'm not starting a breeding program. However, if the OSPCA offers me more pregnant does... :)

Daphne, who had a C-section Saturday, is doing very well. The vet checked her on Monday and she is healing nicely with no signs of infection. I am giving her shots of two different antibiotics everyday. She has been getting outside for some fresh air...

She enjoyed the sunshine yesterday! Her incision is silver because the vet sprayed on a sort of liquid Band-Aid. I am so glad Daphne is here. Really I was very afraid we were going to lose her Saturday. She suffered a lot while the vet was trying to position the twins to get them out. Just grateful she is here and healing well.

And my friend Jackie took ad great picture of Penny and the triplets on the weekend:

Luc (middle kid) is 44 lbs now and is being surgically neutered tomorrow, so think good thoughts for him, please!

And this Saturday Gordon and I are participating in a horse show for the first time, just for fun...

I've been taking some extra lessons and having a blast with my horse Roo.

If I could ride him every day, I would! Maybe when he's home at the farm. :)

Monday, March 21, 2016

The highs and lows of life on a farm

The past week was nuts. Just nuts. And the weekend was sad, but I'm grateful we still have our goat Daphne...

We thought she was in labour last Wednesday or having some kind of issue, plus she was limping on her front leg. The vet came, gave her some Metacam for the pain in her leg (probably a pulled tendon) and gave her some glucose to perk her up, but said she was fine and hadn't lost her "plug" yet.

Then Saturday she went into labour. I spent a solid 14 hours in the barn with her on Saturday... everything seemed fine at first; she was just in the beginning stages and not pushing. But eventually things weren't progressing, so we called the vet in, and right before he came was when she really started pushing and nothing was happening.

Our wonderful friends Luc and Debbie were here helping us the entire day, keeping watch over Daphne. We even had a picnic lunch in the barn. When the vet arrived, he had to "go in" to see what was going on, and Luc and I restrained Daphne while he did that.

Turns out she had twins in there who were big and completely tangled up. I think the vet spent an hour trying to sort them out (and there are bloody handprints on the stall walls to prove it) before we said "How about a C-section?" It was awful seeing Daphne in such distress. At that point we knew the babies were lost. We just didn't want to lose Daphne too, and by then I was really afraid we would, although fortunately she wasn't exhausted when the vet started, because her real pushing had only just started.

So we got some hay bales and laid a sheet of plywood on top for an operating table. Debbie looked after Daphne's head, Luc held her back legs, Gordon stood by, and I gloved up to be the vet's assistant. After he made the incision and gently pulled our her uterus, I held it up for him for the entire operation while he worked. While it was awful having my goat go through this, the surgery itself was fascinating.

He pulled out two bucklings, already dead. They were so big, he had a hard time getting them out even with the C-section. They were all tangled up and had died at some point during the day. It seems like doing a C-section earlier in the day wouldn't even have helped.

So Daphne is all sewn back up and on two sets of antibiotics plus pain meds, and we are hopeful she will make a full recovery. The main thing we need to watch for is infection. I was very pleased when she finally stood up and started eating hay yesterday afternoon.

She was calling for her babies a bit yesterday, which was very sad. In the morning I had to hand-feed her tiny bits of apple to get her to eat, then I got the brilliant idea of bringing in Rosie the goat kid to perk her up. When she saw Rosie eating some tasty food, she joined in!

By the afternoon, she was standing up and eating hay. Such a relief! She has a coat on to help keep her warm.

So I am just hoping she makes a full recovery. I just need to keep a close eye on her to make sure infection doesn't set in. I am giving her shots of Borgal and Penicillin every day and today I am giving her another shot of Metacam for her pain. She's a lovely goat and I am so glad we didn't lose her on Saturday.

Now last Wednesday, THAT was a better day...

Meet little Debbie!

On Wednesday morning, Gordon let Genny out as he was leaving for work. I asked him to check that she wasn't about to give birth. He assured me she wasn't.

Less than an hour later, I was leaving for an appointment when I heard baby goats. Baby goats crying outside. Wait a minute, all my baby goats are down in the lower barn!

Meet Hawkeye.

Sure enough, Genny had gone out and dropped her babies right in the mud! Fortunately Wednesday was a warm sunny day! I went out there to see Genny with her newly-born twins, surrounded by a bunch of pigs and goats all staring at the commotion.

So I grabbed the babies (covering myself and my iPhone in afterbirth) and got them back in the kidding stall along with Mama. And I cancelled my appointment.

Debbie in front, Hawkeye in back.

Unlike Penny, Genny has LOTS of milk and is feeding her twins just fine, so no bottles this time. She is an excellent mother and had clearly done this before.

We couldn't get over how big the twins were compared to Penny's triplets, but Penny was pregnant when she arrived here and in worse shape than the others, plus three babies take up more space than two!


So while we are sad about Daphne and her loss, it's a joy to go see these little cuties every morning. My goats give me so much happiness!

Meanwhile this little guy... growing up fast! Luc is now almost 50 lbs in weight and is being neutered surgically this Thursday, so please think good thoughts for him. He's such a handsome boy!

And for you cat lovers...

Buttercup apparently can't just drink from a cat water bowl like the other barn kitties! Keaton is watching and learning, I suspect.

He is the cuddliest cat EVER.

And here's Geoff enjoying a pine branch I dragged back from the woodlot.

And here...

... is Bambi, our last preggo goat. Given what happened Saturday, I am now extra-anxious over here. She has definitely had babies before, so I am just hoping she's like Genny and has a smooth and easy delivery. This is the last time any of the goats here will be having babies!!

If only should could tell me when she is ready!

Have a great week.