About three and a half years ago, I adopted/rescued 2 Oberhausli goats. My good friend Dorrie, an elderly Gentlewoman who lives alone, asked me if I could take them, because she had fallen, spent some time in the hospital, and was now finding it very difficult to take care of them. Their names were Granny, and her son, Joey, a wether. Granny had spent most of her life tethered, but not Joey, because he wouldn't go anywhere without his Mama.
This put my goat count to five. I had the two Nubian Princesses, Corazon and Tattoo, Granny & Joey, and Chevy, a white Pygora wether who came to Wolfdancer Creek last year. I call them the Royal Goat Court.
With the help of my friend Greig, (who is a Blessing!) we (read that HE, because I didn't do much except hold one end of the fencing) fixed most of the old perimeter fencing, and fenced some areas off limits. I have a rather long row of beautiful large leafed Rhododendrons lining the west side of my pond, and rhodies are very poisonous to goats, plus, I have my gardens, and my fruit trees, and goats are notorious tree killers, and garden vegetable pillagers.
So they have about 3 acres to browze in, plus the neighbors' wild piece of property which they are quickly denuding of blackberries.
Now, when I adopted Granny and Joey, they weren't in the best of shape. They were both VERY thin, Granny's tummy was huge, but all her hip bones and spine bones were easily counted from afar.... Joey was rail thin. Their fur was very rough, dull and coarse. I wormed them several times, put them on minerals and grain, and good hay, and let them freely wander the 3 acres to browze at their heart's content. Within about a year, their fur was shiny and glossy and soft to touch, they both had put on 30-50 pounds, and they looked very nice and healthy!
Dottie told me she thought Granny was about 11 years old. So she was real close to around 14 plus years old. That's quite elderly for a goat!
On Wednesday, the other goats jostled her around while I was passing out treats and hay, and she went down, back legs splayed behind her. I shooed the other goats off, and helped her up, and gave her some extra treats and skritches, which is my wont. Granny is a VERY sweet friendly goat, and actively solicits attention. On Thursday, I gave them all treats, and she was doing well. I THOUGHT she was ok yesterday, but I didn't go treat them. I could've sworn I saw her up and around, but now, I don't think so. This morning, when Greig went up to refill the hay barrel with a lovely orchard-alfalfa mix, he found her dead. :~(
We spent most of the afternoon digging a very deep hole in the hard, damp clay. (At least it was not in the summer months, when it's baked hard!) We got a big bag of lime, because BooBoo the Bear has been around again, I saw his scat about. We placed Granny in her grave, limed her, then I covered her with a blanket of autumn leaves, and we buried her. I told her to Go to God, and that I'd be seeing her over the Bridge. I told her that I genuinely was honored to know her, and I felt as if we hadn't had as much time together as I would have wished.
So for the last 3 years of her life, she got to wander free of tethers, got to eat her fill, and I got to know a very sweet goat. I shall miss her a great deal.