Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Muriel the Goat

We have a menagerie of animals on our little farm - pigs, sheep, rabbits, various chooks, and a cat. One of the more recent arrivals is Muriel, our dairy goat.

Muriel is a British Alpine goat, around 4 - 5 years old. I got an older goat as I thought a more mature girl could teach me the ropes...

Muriel is a pro - she jumps up on her milking table with gusto (she's very motivated when she sees food!), she lets me know in a gentle yet assertive way when she's had enough, and she's not afraid to reorganise her environment to suit her needs (in two weeks she has managed to remove two stable walls, albeit wire ones). She's great with the kids (human rather than goaty) and tolerates cuddles and kisses with a cool grace.

Unfortunately Muriel's own kid was stillborn - but she'll soon have company when 'Fatso' arrives, another British Alpine who is currently in the maternity wing at her owner's farm.

In her efforts to create a bit of space for herself in the stable Muriel has damaged her udder - she has a graze about the size of a 10c piece near her teat - which is making milking challenging. I'm feeling very guilty that I hadn't idenitified the potential risk and done something about it. We've sprazed her udder with an iodine spray to disinfect, and today I'll be administering my first immunisation - a 3 in 1 vaccination to be injected under the skin in her neck. Hopefully the goat and I will still be friends after I've done it!

I feel like I'm just starting off on a very steep learning curve... hopefully Muriel will have patience.

No comments: