Reader Contribution by Lisa Doucette
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I’m not so sure how much more I can handle.

This year has been the year from hell for farming.

It’s years like this that make you want to give up.

And it’s only March! I hope that it gets better instead of worse.

First it started with Woody. The vet had to come twice, which is never a good thing. Money, money, money…

Even after a few weeks Woody was still sick and not getting any better. I finally thought … kill or cure. I cut Woody off from his milk and his feed. Only water and hay. It worked.

Thank goodness!

Then we had another calf that the dairy had given us because it looked like Woody wasn’t going to make it for a while. That one was doing well. Then almost overnight it went from healthy to dead.

Then two weeks ago Murphy got sick. He got into too much grain. This was on Friday night. I called the vet and she told me what to do and we made an appointment for Monday morning. (Why do all these things happen on weekends!) But by late Sunday afternoon he was not well. Not well at all.

So Sunday at 8:30 pm we were off to the vet. Yes, a hour and a half drive on a Sunday night.

So she fixed him up and he was good as new. We only got home at midnight. But anything for our baby.

Then the ring and pinion gear on Dave’s tractor went.


$950 later. it’s not fixed yet. That’s only the parts. Labor … let’s not go there.

We did have good luck with the chicks hatching. We had 21. We hatch them in our bedroom closet and bring them to the barn in a makeshift brooder when they’re dry. Our last one hatched yesterday and when Dave brought it to the barn he noticed Murphy motionless, with his eyes open, on the floor!

He ran to him and picked him up. He was cold and stiff as a board. He thought he was dead, but he wasn’t. Almost. He called the vet and then called me at work in a panic. (Not that I blame him, I would’ve been freaking out also!)

So off to the vet we went again. We had him in a box covered in blankets trying to warm him up. A few times I thought he wasn’t going to make it. He would grind his teeth and cry. Then he stopped crying and grinding.

I was sure he was gone.

But somehow we made it to the vet with him still breathing … barely. The vet gave him a shot of epinephrine to get his heart pumping again. Then filled him full of glucose and warm liquids. Took blood for some tests and also gave him some painkillers and a shot of steroids. When he was stabilized she ran the blood tests. But they came back inconclusive.

He started coming around and seemed OK considering what he had gone through. But Dave noticed that he seemed to have slow reflexes on the left side. The vet called for a second opinion, and they concluded that he had head trauma or a stroke. We were just about to decide on the course of action, when his heart rate started to go down.

This was not looking good. He didn’t have a good prognosis. It was time to decide. They escorted us into a room to talk and think about what to do. And to cuddle him a bit longer.

Murphy is in goat heaven now.

I’ll never know if we did the right decision or not, we’ll never know exactly what happened either, but this way his suffering is over. Ours has just begun.

We miss him horribly. I’m having a hard time writing this without crying.

He really touched a lot of people in his short little life. Like Dave said, he was our little buddy.

It’s times like this I hate farming.


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