One of the advantages of keeping goats more as a hobby than as a business is being able to keep special needs goats from time to time. Such kids are rare.
Most often these special kids are just small. They need bottle feeding and extra care. Most of those that survive will grow up to be small, but normal adults. Juliette is as big as my other goats.
Two special needs goats I remember here were born blind. The first was Louie.
Silk was close to due, but didn’t look that close. She went out that morning, but didn’t come in. Intense searching didn’t find her.
Early the next morning I went out again. This time Silk turned up with a single doe kid. I had expected twins and backtracked without finding a second kid.
My friend had started at the other end of the hill. He found a little buck kid. The kid seemed normal, but Silk rejected him. Bottle baby.
In the house we noticed his eyes didn’t look right. Examination showed the corneas to be badly scarred and white.
Newborns have a short time in which they learn to use their eyes. If their eyes are covered during that time, the animal will never see well even if the eyes are normal. This is true not only of goats, but people, cats, dogs and others as well.
Louie’s eyes were not usable at that special time. They later cleared a little, but he could never see.
Louie learned to find his way around the barn. He followed the herd out to pasture for a time. He got his name because he would get separated and we could hear him trumpeting his distress at the house and go out to rescue him.
Louie and Gaius were best friends for several years until Louie got urinary stones and died.
My other special needs kid was Martha. She had several disabilities being born blind and mostly deaf. She didn’t let it slow her down much. She couldn’t go out to pasture, so she learned to play on the goat gym by herself. She amused herself for long periods of time going up and down the ramp.
Martha was my shadow as I worked around the workshop and garden. Evidently she had no sense of taste either and I didn’t watch closely enough. She got into some poisonous plants when only a few months old.
Do I regret keeping these special needs goats? No. They did have disabilities, but were able to have good lives during the time they had.
Remembrances of these and other goat adventures will be part of the new goat book. For now, check out Capri Capers.