Moat Goats, 28.12.17-2.1.18

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

My final chapter of 2017 was spent in New Moat, Wales. 200 goats, 2 dogs, and a wonderful crazy goat family with a new arrival.

You can read my detailed daily blogs of kidding here.

I returned for a week in July before seeing local large animal practice then flying to Finland.

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A dream


Seeing the new year in with Fred was a dream!

Rather than intensely research the handful of ailments I saw to, like my other Moat Goat blogs, I wanted to share a few of my happiest moments during my stay and an insight into staying away for work experience.

The first time I stayed away from home was in February. I was seeing practice in the Lake District and certainly did not anticipate the challenge of breaking out of the hotel reception at 4.30am. Backpack strategically placed, I frantically jumped up using the tip of my fingers to budge the top bolt of the grand entrance door.

Due to the long hours of lambing, I stayed just over an hour away so I could be out on the quad at 6am. I vividly remember being outside in the pet lamb pen until 11pm due to the viscous colostrum and lamb-sized diameter stomach tube.

That brings me to kidding time at Moat Goats, I instantly felt at home. Hot chocolates and murder documentaries in the midst of 2am kiddings and bottle baby care. I was eager to return before heading off to Finland!

6 weeks in Finland… life changing.

Feeling oh-so-professional taking trains down to Somerset to have a good nights sleep in my luxury king sized bed, I enjoyed my first goat conference.

I believe that brings me to my most recent trip. The quote “always plan for the fact that no plan ever goes according to plan” is appropriate.

Coffee coffee coffee

After the final stretch of my journey being majorly postponed due to a cancelled train, I sipped my Starbucks latte and bitterly wondered why I had been up since 3.30am. A switch flicked and I appreciated the warmth, my coffee, the fact that I would get there in the end and that no transport system is perfect. Everything and everyone has flaws.

It was that moment that I heard the announcement for a postponed train direct to my final destination. If I ran to the platform I would make it. I would then arrive at the farm earlier than scheduled with my original plan.

Nothing in life is free, and I forked out £65.00 on this 4 hour train. It was my third and final train, it was the best option because time with the goats is priceless.

Shout out to Costa and Starbucks.

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There is no smell like foot rot


Following my recent vet practice posts, I will start with the health aspect of working on a goat farm.

Boer goats are renowned in the goaty world for their poorly adapted hooves for the weather in the UK. We caught some of the does to trim their hooves. If only goats saw trimming as a pain-relieving manicure to solve all of their hoof troubles! One goat head-butted my head torch into my nose, sadly I cannot speak goat to explain that I am trying to assist her. Cuddles and food help.

Successfully nursing and treating two goats with Listeriosis was hugely rewarding. Listeria monocytogenes cross the blood-brain barrier and often cause encephalitis. Therefore one of the major symptoms was head pressing, which is disturbing to see along with the body spasms and foaming of the mouth. Every animal deserves a chance, and this is why I keep coming back to work on the farm. One goat’s severe neurological symptoms subsided with the antibiotic treatment. Over the course of a few days I saw her partly paralysed to trotting around like a healthy happy doe. 10pm ventures to the shed to inject a bucking goat will be memorable.

On my first day, I noticed a doeling with a clouded eye. I assumed that she had peculiarly developed partial blindness, perhaps due to a fight or accident as goats can always find trouble.

This was an unknown eye problem so we rushed her to the vets. The vet used a fluorescent diagnostic dye to identify areas of trauma to the cornea. Ulcerative keratitis is the veterinary term for a corneal ulcer. He then used an eye drop that contained a local anaesthetic before gently rubbing the eyeball to encourage neovascularisation. I held the doeling still whilst the vet skilfully injected antibiotics into the eyelid.

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All of these goats are recovering well and their care was part of the daily schedule. Injection times ranged from 7am to 10pm, catching and restraining a grown doe to inject sub-cutaneously was a proud moment.

Happy days


Some of the best moments were running around a field in wellies with the two hyperactive dogs. Gyppy the Border Collie slept next to me, and every morning started with a long walk. We were in Fitbit competition, that definitely helped.

The phrase “cling like a limpet” was new to me, I had never heard the word limpet before. One day we drove to the coast to go on a limpet hunt on the beach. The dogs enjoyed swimming and catching sticks. I took my first limpet shell home with me.

Once the evening jobs were done, I would snuggle up on the sofa with Gyppy and Mossy!

Goats are characters, doing the morning and evening jobs doesn’t feel like work. One of the doelings screams like a banshee for her breakfast the moment she hears a slight gate creak. William, Rug, Roger, and Bertie were eager to give me bruises to take home by jumping on my back in pure excitement. It was amazing to see how the individual kids had developed, Fred was always my favourite. The little dot has grown into a solid meat goat, who needs a gym membership in the new year when you can be lifting a chunky goat?

It won’t be long until 200 kids are due. Kidding for an extended weekend in March will be my next placement, introducing new life into the world will help with Fred’s fate. It is typical to fall in love with the wethers!

Until then, if you would like to read about my experience kidding in 2017 then I have linked the individual blog posts below.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Steph and I got our kid fix at Church Hillbilly. The 2 month old kids had the confidence to jump on our backs! Flashback to May.

The week old kids sweetly skipped around their pen or curled underneath the hay rack. I squealed a few times. It was lovely to visit Debbi and Dave’s Boer goat farm and to cuddle the tiny goats. I am ready for 2018 kidding!

“I always believe that the sky is the beginning of the limit”

So my advice would be to push yourself out of your comfort zone, get on a train or even a plane. This is coming from someone too anxious to leave my house for several months in 2015. There are no restraints or boundaries to opportunities when there is a whole world to explore. I have not only gained invaluable hands-on experience and taken on a lot of responsibilities, I have made friends for life. I will always go back to Moat Goats for placements, they are my goaty family! I learn things from the very high standard of animal welfare and wealth of knowledge that I cannot learn from a textbook. All whilst making great memories and enjoying myself.

I hope you have enjoyed a less clinical blog post and seen the memories that can be made whilst on work experience. If this inspires just one person to take an extra bus to volunteer at an unusual sanctuary, or to take a break from studying and book a week’s placement abroad!

Large animal vets, Day 5, 7.7.17

My final day began with a yard visit to see two more horses.
The first had sarcoids, sarcoids are tumours that won’t metastasise (meaning they won’t spread to internal organs).
There are 6 different types of sarcoid.
  • Nodular
  • Verrucose
  • Fibroblastic
  • Occult
  • Mixed
  • Malevolent
Similarly, there is a wide range of treatments from cryosurgery and ligation to immunomodulation.
It was interesting to discuss immunomodulation with the vet because I study human tuberculosis in my biology A level immunology option.
The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination used in humans can be injected into equine sarcoids to enhance the immune response and to cause tumour regression.
The vet then did a dynamic assessment on a second horse, sadly the horse could not progress to the trotting stage due to the severe lameness.
A vet can advise owners, but it is ultimately their choice and the decision was made for the knackerman to humanely shoot the horse.
There were two euthanasia options, barbiturate overdose or shot. The lethal injection ensures that the horse is going to be incinerated or cremated, whilst shooting a horse has more disposal options. (Horse meat scandal!)
There are many advantages and disadvantages to both procedures, but unless it is an emergency case, it is personal preference of the owner who may have a 25 year relationship with their animal.
An interesting case was an impromptu calf post-mortem to check for calf diphtheria.
Fusiformis necrophorus can enter the soft tissue when the epithelial lining of the mouth is damaged, it then forms a pus-covered ulcer. Ulcers at the back of the tongue create great difficulties for swallowing, and the infection can pass into the lungs and cause fatalities.
However there were no identifiable calf diphtheria ulcers, and the cause of death was not determined. For detailed microscopic tissue analysis, the necropsy would be sent to a post-mortem service with a pathology report and in-depth carcass examination.

Large animal vets, Day 4, 6.7.17

A PD to start the day! 5 months earlier I had done a rectal palpation on a heavily pregnant cow whilst seeing practice out of the area. This is the traditional method that has been used by veterinarians for decades, it does not require any equipment. Just a long arm, long glove, and lots of lube.
Intrarectal ultrasound scans enable a veterinarian to make a pregnancy diagnosis earlier and to identify any reproductive problems due to the imaging. Ultrasound scans give a greater insight into the reproductive health of the cows, and this technology is evolving.
Continuing with the cattle theme, the next patient was a dairy cow with a left displaced abomasum. On my first day, I assisted the vet in the operation so if you would like to read about the procedure then click here
En route to the next appointment, we headed to a farm to splint a sheep with a dislocated leg. A splint was secured against the leg with vet wrap after it was padded. In order to support the ewe’s weight and to aid the natural healing process, the splint has to be long enough to immobilise the joints above and below.
 Once the sheep was supported, we continued down the road to the large commercial dairy goat farm for disbudding.
Quite a few of my blog posts cover the procedure of disbudding with the arguments for and against.
We established our ‘disbudding production line’, I selected the doelings in order of the documentation in order to track the anaesthesia timings as it was more efficient to inject them all with general anaesthetic before disbudding.
Once the vet had disbudded a kid, I placed it under the heat lamp ensuring the neck placement would not restrict the airway, and then passed the next kid due to be disbudded.
The final appointment of the day was to check what the reproductive status of the cow was.
A cow’s oestrus cycle is on average 21 days. I hear the phrase ‘bulling’ when I am seeing practice, this is the behaviour that the farmer sees when she is in oestrus.
Oestrus lasts around 8 hours and is the period of maximum sexual activity.
It is interesting to read that from day 4-5, the veterinarian can feel the corpus luteum which is the yellow body remaining once the follicle bursts to release the oocyte.
The cow had an enlarged vulva and bulling string poured was visible on vaginal examination.
Ovulation occurs about a day after ‘standing heat’. The sperm process of capacitation requires time in the cow’s reproductive tract before fertilisation can occur, hence insemination timing being a major calculated process.
It is always interesting to form parallels with my A-level biology specification, as I can apply human biology to the different species I see on my work experience.

Large animal vets, Day 3, 5.7.17

Equipment loaded, the vet and I headed to a yard for the first patients of the day.
The first horse had similar symptoms to the horse we saw the previous day, with lumps, so the horse was treated for an allergy.
On my work experience with equine vets, I saw how difficult it can to pinpoint an allergy like with any species due to the large range of environmental variables.
Something that is not covered by my biology specification is allergic reactions, so I decided to read up on this topic in my great big red biology bible due to my great interest in immunology.
An allergen is an antigen that triggers an allergic reaction, a heightened immune response. During the primary exposure of an allergen, B cells differentiate into plasma cells and produce IgE. Individuals, in this case horses, with allergies will produce a large amount of this immunoglobulin. This is an issue because IgE binds to mast cells and on the secondary exposure of an allergen, this antigen attaches to the IgE bound to the mast cells. As a result, the mast cell with lysis and histamine, serotonin and heparin are released.
In generalised responses, histamine released in large quantities can be fatal due to bronchioles restricting and arteriole dilation. However, in this case the allergic reaction has caused lumps in the skin.
Antihistamines can work by competitive inhibition by occupying histamine receptors.
The second treatment was a topical corticosteroid which is absorbed into the skin and reduces inflammation by constricting blood vessels and inhibiting the chemical reaction causing inflammation. Steroids are naturally occurring hormones.
The second horse patient was due a routine dental examination.
Due to the hay and feed components of a horses diet, with less grazing, the teeth are not naturally wearing down. Therefore, the vet used a hand rasp to smooth the edges of the teeth whilst the horse had a gag on. Routine visits, like with humans, prevents serious dental problems. A horse with sharp edges to their teeth can be difficult to work, due to the pain from the bit.
Once we were back at the vet practice, I started reading my goat veterinary book, until a lame goose was brought in for an examination.

A non steroidal anti inflammatory was administered in order to reduce the inflammation and pain. NSAIDs inhibit cyclooxygenase, COX, enzymes which have an important role in the process of inflammation.
It is vital to note that cyclooxygenase enzymes produce prostaglandins that activate platelets, they protect the lining of the stomach and intestine, it is not an ideal long-term drug for conditions such as arthritis.

The final case of the day was a cow with a serious case of mastitis that was unaffected by the usual course of antibiotics. Therefore, an E-coli infection was suspected which is an environmental infection that has entered through the teat end.
Vets have an major role in implementing methods to reduce antibiotic resistance at farms, and to educate owners about the risks of not completing courses of antibiotics or using them when unnecessary.

Large animal vets, Day 2, 4.7.17

Seeing veterinary practice reinforces that no case is as simple as applying a textbook study. Our first call out was a prime example.

A beef cow had a swollen hind right hock, with a dependent calf yet to be weaned, the cow was going to be culled post-weaning.
There were no obvious signs of injury, anorexia was probably secondary to a lack of mobility caused by the inflammation.
To minimise the pain, a course of metacam was prescribed as the non-steroidal anti-inflamattory will reduce the inflammation thus pain.
Despite culling being the outcome of choice by the farmer, a veterinarian’s primary consideration has to be to alleviate pain for the period of time it is alive, in the patient’s best interest.

When veterinarians adapt a more holistic approach like I have seen on my work experience, they are improving the general animal welfare whilst working with the farmer. For example, the suggestion was made that the cow and her calf are kept in a more confined indoor area due to the accessibility and eradication of competition for food.

Through work experience, I appreciate the nature of large animal work as farming is an industry. Spending a day at a local abattoir, however, demonstrated the strict rules and regulations with animal welfare at the forefront.

The second appointment of the day was a calf castration with burdizzo for management purposes. This is why we see entire bulls with nose rings. The ideal result is more docile and manageable steers with a desirable meat quality.
Like the kids and lambs I have castrated with an elastrator, rubber ringing is only legal in the first 7 days of a calf’s life.
Using a burdizzo is another bloodless technique which can be used up to 2 months of age, after administration of local anaesthetic.
The spermatic cord must be palpated to ensure the vas deferens and vessels are being clamped, which is why calves will not be castrated under a few weeks old with this method.A horse had lumps under the muzzle, which is a symptom of strangles due to swollen glands in the throat. On arrival, the clinical examination ruled out strangles due to the absence of other warning signs such as nasal discharge, depression and a cough.
Strangles is a highly contagious bacterial infection and horses can develop painful abscesses.

The prognosis was that administering anti-inflammatory and anti-histamines will reduce the symptoms as it appears to be an allergic reaction. It was interesting to hear that human anti-histamines can be used for equine allergies, in large doses calculated by a veterinarian!

 

British Goat Society accredited AI course, 4.11.17-5.11.17

Conveniently timed with my biology ‘human reproduction’ topic revision, I hosted an artificial insemination course at the farm to learn about goat reproduction, and become a BGS accredited AI technician.

The first day consisted of lectures to learn the underlying theory behind artificial insemination.

Here is the anatomy and physiology component syllabus:

If livestock breeding application questions appear in my exam, I am well equipped to discuss the pros and cons of artificial insemination.
The reasons I will use AI on my Golden Guernseys, to selectively breed certain characteristics into a herd. Although Jasper is a lovely billy, AI gives me access to superior sires without the disease risk of transporting goats to different farms.
However, it is important for AI technicians to be aware of the risks of restricted the gene pool due to the limited available semen.


The following day, I learned how to safely handle liquid nitrogen (following the C.O.S.H.H regulations), before practicing safe goat restraining and the AI technique.

The AI prime time is 20-30 hour in heat, when the mucous holds its shape.
Although Daisy’s mucous was runny, the rings of muscle in her cervix were slightly relaxed.
The aim is to insert the gun through 1/2/3 cervical muscle rings, without force. If you cannot do this, then the semen needs to be deposited at the cervix entrance.
On my first attempt, I got the tip of the gun through one ring on Daisy, then two rings on Bella.


Vets can train in laparoscopic AI, and I believe that it is important to have a great understanding as both a goat keeper and a goat vet to work with farmers to provide solutions to goat welfare problems and be able to medically advise breeding programmes.

A huge thanks to Christine Ball and Brian Perry for being fantastic teachers!

Large animal vets, Day 1, 3.7.17

Whilst eagerly anticipating the first pre-booked appointment of the day, a farmer casually brought a pig in the back of his Land rover to the surgery – an eventful way to start my week of seeing large animal practice.
The piglet had neither eaten nor defecated for several days.
After the vet and I scrambled into the boot of the car, door held shut to prevent an escapee, I got stuck in straight away by putting my goat handling skills to use. After all, pigs are certainly not the easiest of animals to restrain, especially when the initial examination requires her temperature to be taken. I cornered the squirming swine, holding her still whilst she struggled, to enable the vet to continue with the health assessment.
The normal temperature range for a pig is 38.6 – 39.5 degrees Celsius. Here is an interesting fact, pigs cannot sweat so prefer the cold. Hence being pictured rolling around in mud, they are cooling off. Pyrexia may be a symptom of the immune response to an underlying condition such as an infection. The core body temperature increases in an attempt to fight the infection. The prognosis was that antibiotics, Metacam (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug often described as a pain-killer although technically not a pain killer), fluids, and worming the pig would aid her recovery back to health.
Lots of injections meant a lot of pig wrestling… and a lot of noise!
Assessing dehydration through skin elasticity is a quick and simple test.
Alamycin LA was opted over Pen + Strep due to the 3 day duration, making it a long-acting antimicrobial injection.
Metacam is an NSAID. It works my inhibiting the enzymes (cyclooxygenase enzymes) that produce prostaglandins. This is the same reason there can be high risks if a person is not careful with drug combinations since prostaglandins protect the stomach and aid blood clotting. A combination of an NSAID and a steroid can have fatal results, including organ failure and internal bleeding.

The second appointment of the morning was surgery on a dairy cow who recently calved. During our journey to the farm, I was quizzed. “Do you know what a twisted gut is?”.
Cue the most ridiculous response “A stomach that is… twisted?”.
Left displaced abomasum is the correct answer, and I was on my way to assist a right flank pyloric omentopexy.
A vaginal examination confirmed that the cow had metritis from the discharge. Metritis is one of the risk factors for LDA as atony of the abomasum can result in the build up of gas. Therefore, the vet injected Pen + Strep. Also, the uterus displaces the abomasum during calving so failure to return to the correct place can result in an LDA.
I used a stethoscope to identify the ”ping” on the left side which locates the accumulation of gas in the abomasum which has caused it to displace. Interesting to hear something other than heart beats!

Preparing such a large surgical site was a new experience, especially with a cow under local anaesthetic kicking.
The vet made an incision into the cow’s right flank before locating the abomasum and inserting a needle to deflate! The abomasum is attached to the omentum so this is sutured to the peritoneal to hold the abomasum in the correct position. However, if the omentum tears, the abomasum has a risk of displacing once again.
It was a success.

A faecal egg count was waiting for me once I returned to the practice. I correctly identified that there were no worms on the slides! Great practice at the stud farm where I did regular faecal egg counts.
Soon after, another animal was brought to the surgery. This time it was a beloved pet hen with an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. The vet used a needle and syringe to determine what the fluid was. Unfortunately, it was clear and the diagnosis was ascites caused by liver disease as a result of portal hypertension creating a pressure gradient. The clinical symptom which brought the hen to the practice was the accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. Increased pressure in the portal blood vessels may cause protein-containing (ascitic) fluid to accumulate into the low pressure space which is the abdomen.

Sadly, the hen was put to sleep at the vets. However, I believe that this is the most humane way to euthanise a hen.
I then accompanied the vet to a livery yard, where I completed the paperwork for a two stage (preliminary examination and walk and trot in hand) pre-purchase vetting. During my time seeing practice at my local equine practice, I had witnessed a five stage pre-purchase vetting! The vet also took a blood sample to be sent off and stored. In stage 1, I used the ophthalmoscope to look at the lense of the eyes to see signs of cataracts forming.

Moat Goats, 9.7.17-13.7.17

With my big trip to Finland coming up, it was time to travel by myself down to Pembrokeshire. After a pleasant train ride down to Shrewsbury, I picked up a Starbucks (mango juice of course), before heading to the Aberystwyth-bound train’s allocated platform.

I took the opportunity to begin reading ”Lean in” which is about female empowerment in the workplace.


Gyppy and Mossy enjoyed a car journey to meet me at the station. I was over the moon when they greeted me with excitement, remembering me from last time.


My little Freddo (not so little anymore) also remembered me! Deciding to move his sister, Foxy, to the bottle baby pen was a successful move. Fred was finally thriving, after a scrawny start to life weighing just 1.9kg.


After I was taught the altered feeding regime as a result of goat movements, and had met the kids born after my previous departure, I was ready for a third week at Moat Goats.


The morning and evening jobs consisted of topping up the hay racks, filling up the water buckets, bedding down the pens, and feeding the goats the correct amount of cake. The kids had ad lib concentrate in the creep feeder, meaning it was necessary to keep the level high enough to last until the next feed.


There was one extra challenge and he goes by the name ”William”. Learning from his mum, he dived straight over the water buckets to escape the pen whenever he heard a human voice!  Even funnier… this escapee didn’t walk, but jump.

It didn’t take long for the other kids to catch on. So chasing and catching 10 goats became the last step of the twice-daily feeds. The cunning animals jumped into the feed troughs when they were lowered, before jumping out of the pen. It becomes a game to them:

There was lots of hoof trimming practice too. Steph taught me the fishermans knot, to prevent the halter lead from sliding across the bar. It made the job significantly more efficient, with the goats tied in position. The kids took the opportunity to get a drink whilst their mum was still.


I treated any cases of interdigital dermatitis with engemycin spray. If the hoof began to bleed, I also sprayed it. I used the spray on William’s ear as he had a pink wound, likely from his daily escapee adventures.

Over the course of the week, there were a few bucklings to castrate and ear tag. As soon as anyone entered the bottle baby pen, a mob of kids jumped up and attempted to get on your back. I returned with lots of lovely bruises!

Once all of the jobs were complete, Steph and I sat in the pen to allow the kids to go crazy.


On Tuesday, the four of us quickly got through weighing all of the kids, vaccinating with Lambivac, and the oral coccidiosis drench. I caught the goats in their pens and passed them over to Steph, who placed them in the crate and Meg noted their weight to prepare the correct dosages and calculate weight gain. Damo treated the kids.

I used the administration gun to inject a few of the kids with Lambivac, sub cut. The drench gun was more difficult to use, but like injecting I am sure it will become easier over time.

Spending time with the kids I had delivered was a wonderful experience. They will become extremely cheeky goats when they are older…


Mossy and Gyppy got their special treatment too! They enjoyed their walk down to the fields and jumping in muddy water. 

On my last night, I even let Mossy sleep in my bed too… what a bad decision! Spaniel craziness kept me up all night, but I forgave her as it is Mossy.

On my last day, I walked up the slope to lead the goats to the area they needed to clear. They loved all of the browse!

Moat Goats, 6.6.17

In the morning I bottle fed a few kids to top them up from the previous evening before the haulier arrived to take the cattle to mart. We helped to load the cattle on to the wagon.

Later in the morning I injected two does with Pen and Strep as they were on a three day course of antibiotics due to kidding intervention.

Steph and I then constructed the pet kid/bottle baby pen. We tied doors around the hurdles as goats always find a way to escape through tiny gaps! As soon as I placed Foxy and one of the female triplets in there, they snuggled in the calf hutch together. The calf hutch kept them warm but also kept them out of sight from their mums who were soon to be moved into the opposite pens.

The goat and kid pairs that had bonded well from the single top pens were ready to move into the communal pens, separating the does from the doelings. First of all, the bucklings were castrated and all of the kids were ear tagged.

We mucked out the single pens in preparation for the goats due to kid any day soon.

The last job before I departed was to move hurdles in the main pen, to leave one large pen. The goats were jumping over, so there was a huge risk of injuries. Sadly, there was a doe half paralysed on the other side with Listeriosis.

Listeriosis is caused by Listeria monocytogenes found in soil, therefore there is a risk of ingesting them in haylage. It is a brain stem disease that is also known as ‘circling disease’ as one of the symptoms is repeatedly walking in a circle. It can be mistaken for goat polio, which is a thiamine deficiency. However, pyrexia is not usually a sign of Polio but Listeriosis.

Other symptoms of listeriosis including stargazing, paralysis and lack of a palpebral reflex. This goat was paralysed on the left side, and we believe she had a stress induced seizure. She was given a larger than normal dose of pen and strep, to fight the infection. No pain relief or steroids were administered as this will strengthen the brain/blood barrier, meaning the pen and strep would be less effective. We also rolled the goat to prevent her becoming neurotic which is when muscle will breakdown. The antispasmodic stopped her from fitting, so we could move her into a pen by herself.

Fred cuddles allowed me to end my stay on a positive note! Not only did I learn a huge amount, but my love of goats grew stronger and I had a great time with the McNamara family.

Moat Goats, 5.6.17 

It was an early start to send 2 of the meat boys to the abattoir for 5.30am. They are sent when they weigh >40kg, so after selecting the wethers that appeared to be the largest, we weighed them before loading them into the livestock trailer. Along with the paperwork, the goats went to be turned into sausages. They can range from 5 months to under 12 months (as it is kid not goat meat), depending on their growth rate. They have a very happy life.

I had to check that Fred was okay after his melodramatic reaction after being castrated. So Fred cuddling was added to the morning jobs list. Hay, straw, water, food… cuddles.

Fred had recovered, there was a major improvement. So I held his mum still to allow him to suck.

We then moved the meat boys across the road away from their mothers, so they can be fed ad lib and fattened up. It was a three person job, with Meg using the EID tag scanner and noting their weights, Damo catching and weighing the goats, and I loaded them onto the livestock trailer from the crate.  Weaning consisted of checking the does’ udder and teats for any signs of mastitis or abnormalities. I then checked their milk, followed by dipping their teats in iodine. They will naturally go into a dry period as there is no stimulation to produce milk from a kid sucking or being milked.

The next big job was taking 11 doelings to the vet to be disbudded. In straw lined buckets, the kids slept throughout the whole journey. The vet worked quickly, enabling us to get the kids back to their mums as soon as possible.