Drenching a goat is like giving a cat a pill. Only harder.
So last weekend my clever goaties found an un-latched gate to the front yard. I knew goats couldn’t eat rhododendrons so I pulled them all out in the fall, but I didn’t realize DAPHNE is just a small, fragrant rhodie. Poor Carmen had a few mouthfuls and was SO sick the next day.
In the past two years I have woken up to many difficult things, but nothing quite as troubling as a goat projectile vomiting. After a little reading and a call to the vet it became apparent I was going to have force-feed (known as “drenching” in the biz) three cups of activated charcoal suspension to this goat. Picture a kind of globby tar-flavored jell-o. Now imaging eating it. Yeah, that’s about how excited she was to eat it.
She wasn’t so hard to catch her since she wasn’t feeling well. She was plenty strong enough to kick me up one side and down the other when I tackled her. There are several apple-sized, deep purple bruises on this body to attest to that! Once I got on top of her, the next trick was to give her 8 doses of this nasty stuff. She puked up most of the first two doses. All over me. At that point we were both so gross and hysterical I called the vet to take over. They were closing and so was everyone else. But didn’t hesitate to scare the crap out of me with tales of toxis and organ failure. We were on our own. Fortunately, Carmen took the rest of the antidote like a trooper (thank GOD because I had to wash all the puke and black goo off me and drive to Hood River for my cousin’s wedding that day!) and within a couple of days was back in the yard chewing up my fruit trees and spazzing out with the others.
It is still remarkable to me how available the maternal instinct to us when we need it. Thoughts of comfort or cost no longer apply in the face of that much barf. There is so much sacrifice, but never any hesitation or regret. Goats and chickens don’t have 24-hour clinics or insurance policies. When things go wrong out here, the only vet to be found is generally me! When I reflect on the trying times with my animals, I feel so proud of my progress as a farmer. Five years ago I could not have imagined drenching a goat – OR feeding a cat a pill (which I do to all eight of my cats every six months). Ah, the simple life…