Worried about Bertie – Wednesday update

Apologies for not updating on Bertie for the last couple of days, too many other things going on…

Bertie had continued much as before but seemed to be getting worse again.  he couldn’t get up on his own, and this morning when I got him up he slumped almost immediately back down again  His poo was back to normal, so it seemed like it was something else which was causing the problem, so we got the vet out.

The vet looked him over and thought that he might have hurt his back.  He was pleased that Bertie was still eating happily, but also noted that it looked like Bertie might be a bit constipated.  In fact we watched him as he really strained to do a poo.  The vet’s suggestion was that we feed him some grass, as it might help move things through.  Fortunately we still have plenty of that!  He also gave him a steroid shot, and some multi-vitamins which should hopefully give him a boost and help heal whatever is wrong.  We need to continue getting him up at least twice a day, and make sure he’s on dry straw.

All in all it was actually quite positive, I was a bit worried that he might say Bertie’s days were numbered.  He also asked how old he was, and when I said he was about eight the vet said that old age would likely be playing a part.  I still think of Bertie as one of the young goats we bought to keep our old goats company.  But that was six years ago…

More updates as he hopefully improves!

Worried about Bertie – Sunday update

Bertie was unable to get up with help again this morning, and went straight to the water when I did get him up.  He was hungry and ate the normal feed, and a load of hay when I brought it out to him.  On the upside his poo was solid – so definitely making progress there!

I took him more of the scours mixture, but I don’t think I did it very well as he didn’t guzzle it in the same way as he has the past few days.  Alex has been mixing it up and she clearly has the knack…

Hopefully he’ll be up and about later.

Worried about Bertie – Friday Update

We managed to get some scours powder yesterday, it’s for cows but should be fine for goats (as a search on the web verified).  We gave him the first load last night (it’s mixed up with warm water), and he seemed to love it.

This morning he still wasn’t able to get up under his own power, but he did look a little brighter.  We gave him some more of the scours powder this morning, and once again he was more than happy with it.  Alex was administering it as a drench, but she needn’t have bothered, as you can see from the picture Bertie loved it so much he licked the jug clean:

Worried about Bertie – Update

Bertie still not right this morning.  He seems to be suffering from diarrhoea (which is also called scours), and we think this is making him weak, which is why he’s struggling to get up.  We thought at first it was a result of not being able to get up, but it feels like it’s the cause.

We’re proposing to get some scours powder from our local country store to help treat it.  I’ll also get some extra packets for future – they don’t open on the weekend so it’s always sensible to have a little extra just in case.  We’ve been giving him extra water which should help, and we’ll make sure there‘s a load of hay for him.

It’s not clear what has caused it, probably something he ate.  Or maybe he’s been getting more of the solid food recently and it’s been too rich for him?

Worried about Bertie

Bertie has not been in the best of conditions in the last few days.  First of all we (well actually Alex) had to clean up his bottom.  Then in the last day or so he’s been struggling to get up.  We’ve been helping him get up, but he seems to scrabble around with his back legs for a while before giving up.

He did manage to get up this afternoon under his own power, which was good, and he is still eating quite happily.  It’s worrying though, and if he’s not moving about properly by the end of tomorrow we’ll have to get the vet out.

Howard’s strong neck

With the reduction in pig numbers I’m now taking a bucket of food to feed them, as opposed to carrying a 20kg bag on my shoulder.  This means it’s a little more comfortable doing the feeding.  However it does have some potential risks as I discovered this morning.

Carrying two full buckets, one of sheep feed, and one for the pigs, I opened the gate into the home area where the goats, and the adult sheep, were all waiting.  I then got my coat caught on the gate and twisted round to try and unhitch it, and avoid the questing heads of the goats.  My first pirouette was successful, and I turned around to close up the gate.  Suddenly Howard arrived and managed to get his head into the pig feed bucket.  This was bad enough, but he’d somehow put his head through so that it was under the handle of the sheep feed bucket as well so he was dragging down both buckets.  I was now struggling with Howard, while trying not to drop the buckets.

I managed to get his head out of the first bucket, and put that on the floor.  I didn’t want the sheep to eat from it, given it was pig food and all the copper issues, so I stood round that using my knees to block the Suffolks, and White Face, who were particularly eager to get it.  At the same time I was trying to get the bucket off Howard, where it was now hanging on his neck.  The best way was obviously to push his head down and slip the handle over.  However he has an enormously strong neck, and I really struggled to get leverage.  Eventually I pushed it down with both hands and got the bucket off him.  By this point, with spillages, the sheep food bucket was half empty and the pig food had a small dent in it.  So I had to refill the sheep bucket, and try again…  the second attempt involved less balletic grace and more holding of buckets above my head and was fortunately successful.

I suspect Howard felt it was successful too given all the extra feed he’d snaffled.

Introducing Bertie

The first animals we started with were Angoran goats, and we still have two of them.  I’e already mentioned Boris, but our other Angoran is called Bertie.  He is a castrated male, and one of the most friendly animals we have, always following us around the field, even if we don’t have food (though I think he has hopes!).

Unfortunately Bertie had really bad footrot over the winter, and this meant he didn’t move very much, and when he did it wasn’t very far and he tended to rest on his front knees.  This caused his legs to seize up so he couldn’t properly straighten them.  The slight upside was that this meant we finally got rid of the footrot.  We tried massaging his legs and stretching them and this seemed to help a bit, but he was still limping badly.  So we called out the vet who advised us that we should cut the tendons at the back of the knees.  We asked him to go ahead, and it made very little difference.  I think he was expecting the legs to sort of spring back into shape, but sadly they didn’t.  Next step was to straighten the legs out and put them in casts, which we also did.  This seemed to help a lot, and while Bertie was walking stiffly, at least he was walking.  When we took the casts off he was almost back to normal.

He seems to be footrot free at the moment, but as a legacy of his travails he’s standing oddly on one of his front hooves and so it’s starting to grow awkwardly and twist.  We’ve tried to cut it flat, but it wasn’t totally successful, I think we’ll just have to keep at it.  Still he’s mostly back to his old ways, always trotting over to see us, and trying to work out what we’re doing.  One of his particular joys is when we bring out the straw for his bedding, not because he wants to luxuriate in it, but because he wants to eat it, and here he is:


First the good news – Gaffer is now up and about and will come to feed when called.  She looks fine and was clearly just having a rest after the stress of giving birth to her litter.

Not as positive…  I was a bit distracted while feeding the animals this morning and when walking back into the food store I didn’t really check to see nothing was following me in.  Suddenly Luke shot past me into the corner, though he then looked a bit confused that there wasn’t any lovely food for him to steal, I suspect some of his illusions were shatterd.  Still not thinking clearly I went in to get him without closing the door.  Next thing I knew a plague of goats were in the store, trying to work out if anything was edible:

The buckets were knocked to the floor, and there was much scrabbling before I managed to start persuading them out.  The hardest to move was Howard.  He’s worked out how to get into feed backs by sort of chewing and ripping htem, and he’d got into the chicken feed:

He’s mighty strong and I had real trouble getting his head out of the feed and then pushing him back.  Two minutes of chaos which left me feeling exhausted!

I’ll probably take the chicken feed bag into the chicken area and pour it into the bin we have there to avoid attracting any more pests…




Howard the goat

About a year ago we were asked if we’d be willing to take on two goats.  They’d apparently been dumped into a farmer’s fields, and he didn’t want them.  This was before our animal reduction plan and when we were still in rescue mode.

We connected up the trailer and off we went to check out and then probably take the goats.  They were much larger than our Angorans, one nanny and a castrated male.  They didn’t have tags or any other information, so we agreed to take them, duly notifying defra, and asked the farmer to contact us if he heard anything more about their erstwhile owners.

The two new goats, christened Howard and Hilda, settled down quickly.  Hilda was a tough goat and soon became flock queen, but after that they were just two more bleating mouths to feed.

Hilda died in the spring, of what we have no idea.  She was absolutely fine and then the next day we came out to feed her and she was dead.  We were worried that Howard might follow her quickly as goat twins often do, but he carried on merrily.  He’s a very curious and friendly goat, except to children, which he tends to butt if given the chance.  I suspect there’s a story there somewhere.

One of his particular tricks, which he did again this morning, is to thrust his head into the feed bucket as I’m trying to pour out the sheep mix.  He then pushes down, and he’s so strong it’s difficult to hang on to the bucket!  The only way to get his head out is to grab him by the neck and try and hold his head up while dragging the bucket down and away from him.  Here is he looking somewhat nonchalant and pretending to eat some grass – he’s just waiting for a chance to get some more ewe mix: