Do not, when going into keeping farm animals in your backyard, underestimate the yuck factor. The many rah-rah boosters of sustainability and those who espouse the glories of raising your own food and composting waste downplay how untidy things really are. Chicken poop stinks. Goats, even small ones, pee… everywhere. Chickens have lice crawling on their skin. Animals shed and hair flies. Puddles in an animal pen are often nasty stews of muck.
Sometimes, you find things even yuckier than the usual day-today messiness.
There’s no break from the care. While I was in Italy, I left the critters under Steve’s capable hands. When I came home he said that Caper had cut his nose and that I should have a look.
I washed it with warm soapy water and dabbed it with povidone and determined that it wasn’t just a wound. I consulted a friend who is far more experienced with goats than I, and my suspicions were confirmed. Bot fly larvae, specific to goats and sheep, had burrowed under Caper’s skin. Yuck.
I consulted with my veterinarian who said that he didn’t appear to need a shot of penicillin, but that I should worm the goats with ivermectin. This anthelmintic comes in a paste form, in a syringe that you squirt into the goat’s mouth. Sorry, I have no photos, as I was squeezing and Steve was straddling Caper, (trying) to hold him still.
It’s not good to worm goats on a regular basis. Pasture management and keeping them healthy help to keep the parasite loads down. However, I do send fecal samples to the vet yearly to ensure that parasites haven’t gotten out of hand. Only once did we need to worm. So, it’s been a few years, and since Caper needed the ivermectin dose, I did Pip, too.
Caper’s nose is still swollen, but there’s no discharge and he isn’t rubbing it raw.
It is icky, but that’s the norm with animal keeping. There’s always something.
I’ll be spending a moment in silence this 9/11. I hope that you will, too.