captpackrat: (Goat)
Little Ruthven passed away today in his surrogate mama's arms.  He was just a few days short of nine months old.  His mother died shortly after giving birth to him, so my SO and I raised him.  He was very affectionate and curious about everything.  He was absolutely fearless, and would just walk into the house like he owned the place if given half a chance.

We noticed he wasn't feeling well a couple days ago when he didn't come running when I went outside.  We found him under a tree by himself.  He seemed to be eating and drinking normally.  The next day he wasn't doing any better so we moved him to the deck and set up an umbrella for shade.  This morning he was clearly in pain, so my SO started holding him like when he was a baby.  He passed away in his mama's arms before we could call the vet.

We buried him in the barnyard, not far from his mother.  He will be missed.


The Goatquarium
It's my chair now.
Happy goat
A young Gene Simmons?
Goat huffing
captpackrat: (Goat)

Phylla (light-colored female) and Calynx (black & white male), feeding from their mother Mabel.  They'll be 3 months old in just two days (they were born Christmas Day).  Phylla is friendly and very curious, while Calynx is quite the momma's goat.
captpackrat: (Goat)

It's my chair now.



Snuggle Me Sherpa.  It's a plushie that turns into a blanket and pillow.



Playing around with a retro-camera app.
captpackrat: (Goat)
Ruthven is one week old today.  He's experienced some ups and downs, but he seems to be doing quite well.

We were initially feeding him Sav-A-Kid milk replacer, which is basically powdered milk with various nutrients added.  I had trouble getting him to nurse from a bottle, but he took to drinking from a bowl almost instantly, which has made our lives much easier.

He did alright with the milk replacer for a couple days, but Tuesday he came down with a case of milk scours.  This can be a very serious condition leading to dehydration, so we took drastic steps.  We stopped his milk altogether and gave him nothing by water and electrolytes (table salt, potassium salt, baking soda and corn syrup) for a day to clear out his system.  When the diarrhea stopped, we resumed the milk replacer.  Unfortunately, the scours returned, so I went out and bought a bottle of whole (cows) milk and some heavy cream to enrich it slightly (whole cows milk is 3.25% fat, goat milk is around 4%).  He seems to be doing better with the real milk.

Ruthven is an amazing ball of energy.  A human baby one week old is just a helpless lump, barely able to do anything but eat, poop, cry and sleep.  Ruthven, on the other hand, follows us around the house, runs about the yard, tries to play with the dogs, and jumps about on the furniture.

When we first brought him into the house, we put him in a plastic storage bin that we dubbed the "Goatquarium" to sleep during the night.  Unfortunately, that only lasted a few days, as he quickly gained the strength to leap out, despite the walls being above his head.  Now we are keeping him in an old dog crate.  It has plenty of room for him, as it was designed for a fully grown Great Dane.  We've lined it with old carpet pieces and towels and added a salt lick, some hay to sample, a cardboard box to hide in, and a bowl of fresh water.  But that is only at night, during the day he's either being cuddled by my SO or myself, or running about the house under careful supervision.


The Goatquarium

I'm beginning to wonder if a goat can be housebroken.  Every time we take him outside, he immediately pees on the grass.  He pees a lot in the house too.  I'm amazed that one little goat can produce so much urine.  That's a good sign, though, as the urine is colorless and odorless, so he's not getting too dehydrated.

Luckily he doesn't have much of a scent.  He gets a daily bath (mostly because of his messy poops), so any scent he'd normally acquire is neutralized.


Goat huffing.  Kids, just say no to goats.

Ruthven gets along well with the two dogs.  Our female Great Dane seems to have some slight mothering instinct towards him, and is protective of him.  Our male Lab initially exhibited some hunting behaviors (stalking, etc), but whenever he made even the slightest aggressive move, he got a beat down from the Dane and a verbal reprimand from us.  He's learned his lessen now and accepts the goat as one of the pack.

Our ram doesn't show the slightest interest in Ruthven, while our ewe shows a very strong maternal instinct, despite her advancing age.  If she could still produce milk, she'd have probably raised him herself.  Our remaining nanny goat seems rather aloof to the kid, maybe because he's not hers.  And his father, perhaps sensing a future rival, occasionally headbutts him.  We're eventually going to have to sell one of the males, and I'll be damned if it's Ruthven.

Our biggest concern however, is the donkey.  He's showing very clear aggression towards the baby goat, even whirling around and trying to kick him.  I'm not sure if he just hates babies, or if he thinks the goat is another dog who needs to be put in his place, since he comes out of the house just like the dogs.  If the donkey is out on the lawn, we are especially vigilant around him.

Ruthven is just the absolute sweetest thing.  He loves to be wrapped up in a nice warm towel and just cuddled.  He's particularly fond of my SO and will often cry if he gets out of sight for long.  Ruthven has a very healthy set of lungs.


This is one happy, spoiled goat.

Ruthven is nibbling on everything now, so we have to be extra vigilant when he's playing.  The house is pretty well dog-proofed, but a baby goat is so much smaller than a Lab and can get into so much more.

Last night he was in the kitchen watching his mama (my SO) preparing his milk, so I laid down on the ground.  He started climbing all over me, then started exuberantly licking my face.  He'll probably start sampling solid food soon, if he hasn't already.  That should help his digestion settle down even further.


A young Gene Simmons?
captpackrat: (Goat)
For months, one of our goats, Josephine, has been getting fatter and fatter.  She was clearly very pregnant, and we were surprised at just how long it was taking.

Saturday she finally gave birth while we were out.  She had an astounding four babies (the norm for goats is two).  Alas, three of the babies were stillborn.  They were very small and underdeveloped; one didn't even have eyes.  But the fourth baby was healthy and appears normal.

Unfortunately, things did not go well for the mother.  The next morning, we saw that the baby was wandering around on his own.  We finally found the mother hiding inside one of the old dog houses.  She was clearly not her normal self, and she wouldn't (or couldn't) stand up to feed the baby.  After a while, we brought the kid inside and cleaned him up.  We found an old package of multi-species milk replacer, mixed up a small batch and fed it to the kid with an eye dropper.  My SO and I took turns holding him wrapped up in a towel for warmth.  Then we emptied the feed out of one of the large plastic bins, lined it with old towels, and placed him in it for the night.

This morning I went out and bought a fresh bag of goat milk replacer and a couple nipples.  Meanwhile, my SO tended to the kid and discovered he will drink milk from a small bowl like a dog.  That will make feeding a bit easier.

He seems to be doing well.  He's feeding, pooping and peeing (he peed on my bed last night), and when we set him down, he ran and leaped about the kitchen.  He's curious about everything, occasionally tried to headbutt my hand, and likes standing underneath people, all healthy, normal responses for a baby goat.

His mother passed away this afternoon.  I guess the strain of giving birth to that many babies was too much for her.

We've named the goat Ruthven (pronounced like "riven").  Ruthven is the protagonist in the opera Ruddigore, keeping with the theme of naming our goats after Gilbert & Sullivan characters.  It's also a bit of a play on words, albeit a sad one;  "Riven" means "torn apart", and little Ruthven has been torn from his mother.


Little Ruthven and one of his two mommies.

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Captain Packrat

December 2015

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