I got very little sleep Sunday night. I woke up around 1 AM and could not go back to sleep for the life of me. What was I doing: laying awake worrying about the animals.
The goats: we have another goat kid showing signs of tetanus. We gave him a tetanus antitoxin shot (something I won’t do again) which really did nothing so I resorted to homeopathy. From my research: the remedies Ledum and Hypericum are very useful in preventing and treating tetanus. I gave the goat kid a dose of Ledum on Sunday. Monday morning, he was still alive and moving around, but his bitch of a mother wouldn’t hold still for him to nurse. If I held her, the other sibling and several of the other goat kids decided it was a free milk bar and mobbed her. I got so angry I stopped milking the goats, put them all back in with the babies and left cussing every animal on the farm.
I left the sick baby up when I brought the rest of the goats into the lower pasture. I did more research on treating tetanus using homeopathy and found that Ledum was more useful in preventing tetanus while Hypericum treated it once the symptoms were there. I gave the baby two doses of Hypericum during the day. When I brought his mother up, I held her and he tried to nurse, but she continued to be uncooperative. I milked for the evening and saved him some milk in a bottle and he drank it! That’s a good sign. I hope he continues to improve.
Vaccinating for tetanus at this time would be a mistake. Antibodies to the vaccine will not form immediately, if they do form at all. If I vaccinated all of the goat kids, their immune systems will be triggered by the antigen in the vaccine and if they are exposed to the bacteria that causes tetanus while their immune systems are otherwise occupied, they would be that much more susceptible to the bacteria. So I decided to not vaccinate and to treat any kids that develop tetanus using homeopathy.
I am and have been for a long, long time extremely anti-vaccination. That isn’t going to change. I need to raise animals who are able to survive on this property. We’ve never seen tetanus before and I expect we are seeing it this year because we had such a warm winter. I expect we are going to see a lot of things this year that we haven’t seen before.
Even people and animals vaccinated with tetanus can contract tetanus. No vaccine provides 100 percent protection and vaccines can and do cause damage.
I’m sure a lot of people will think I’m making a mistake, but I have to do what I feel is the right thing for this farm.
The rabbits continue to be difficult. I discovered another young rabbit with diarrhea. She’s now on a diet of just grass hay. Yesterday, I culled a doe that I suspected was carrying pasteurellosis. There’s two more does on the slate to be culled. They have babies in the nest box and I’m watching them closely to see if their babies come down with it. If they do, they’ll be on the cull list as well.
I’m going to try to leave the babies with their mothers until they are ten weeks old (rather than eight) to see if that makes a difference. I was told yesterday by a long-time rabbit breeder that the problems with bloating has been going on for over two years across the country. No one has been able to pinpoint what causes it. I’m going to try to get more clarification on that statement.
On Saturday, I traded milk, cheese and eggs for two Chin does. They are from a local breeder. Due to lack of cage space, she leaves the babies with their mothers for a long, long time. These two does, eight months old, were still living with their mother. They are healthy and vibrant creatures. The woman is from the Ukraine and feeds according to how she fed in her country: primarily forage. She said that once a week she feeds a sprig of cypress and a sprig of rosemary to help their immune systems. Good plan. I finally have rosemary growing in my garden.
Needless to say, I was ready to burn both the rabbit barn and goat shelter down yesterday.
I think today will be a whole lot better.
Until later …