Saturday, August 26, 2006

We've Been Busy

It's been a while. We have been so busy that I have not had time to write.

First off, the drought is continuing. We have not seen a measurable amount of rain since June. Good thing we do not have row crops which require large amounts of water to grow. Just the cost of irrigating a row crop would guarantee that we lose money. Our herd has very badly depleted the main pasture. We still have fodder in the east pasture, but its very dry - nothing more that hay-on-a-stalk.

With the main pasture eaten down, we really need the isolation compound, but Max is still here. If any wants a free housedog, just come and get him. I have posted pictures of him previously in this blog.

Several weeks ago, my wife had the opportunity to buy a substantial part of another herd at $27 per head because their land was too badly eaten down. She jumped at it. Standard procedure is to place the new goats in the isolation compound for two weeks to make sure we are not introducing any diseases to our herd. Unfortunately, because of Max, we did not have that option. Thus, we just crossed our fingers and added them to the main herd. The good news is that they did not mix initially. For the most part, they still do not mix. They did not seem to bring any new diseases.

I noted that we did not see any new diseases. However, we did see a resurgance of an old disease, conjunctivitis - better known as pink eye. We checked with our veternarian and he prescribed gentamicin sulfate mixed with betamethasone valerate, a topical anti-bacterial spray usually prescribed for dogs.

At first, we saw two does with the problem. We isolated those two in the barn compound and, per our veterinarian's instructions, we began spraying the prescription into their eyes twice a day for a minimum of one week. We also decided to check the entire herd - it was time to worm the herd anyway.

Last Saturday, we rounded up the entire herd. One goat at a time, we dosed them for worms and checked their eyes. By the time we finished with the herd, we had nine goats in isolation. With nine goats to spray, our supply of medicine would quickly run out. Trying to find enough to dose a large number of goats turned out to be a problem. Local suppliers are out-of-stock. We ended up ordering on the web. The two on-line vetinary pharmacies we usually deal with were also out of stock.

We had to turn to a on-line pharmacy we have never dealt with before. Since this is a prescription medication, we had to get our veterinarian to fax the prescription before they would ship us the medicine. The prescription was for more than they had in stock, so around the loop again to recast the prescription to match (and wipe out) their stock on hand. As soon as the paperwork was handled, United Postal Service delivered the medication the next day.

Since then, every morning and every evening, those nine had to have their eyes sprayed. All are responding to treatment. In fact, last night we released one doe from isolation.

This morning, we checked the herd again. Only one new case. We are back to nine in isolation. This means at least another week of getting up bright an early and dosing goats, then getting a shower and breakfast, before loading up the children and taking them to school on my way to my off=the-ranch job.

On the subject of school, the local public schools opened two weeks ago.


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