Peg-Leg Pippi


Peg Leg Pippi bemoans her state. I owe her an apology for posting this unflattering photo that makes her look like a bovine or a donkey. (Goats, like women, do not like looking like a cow or an ass.)

Remember how I mentioned that I had quarantined Wildechicken?  Well, she was rather abruptly un-quarantined.  Someone else needed the use of our lone, multi-purpose plastic dog crate that has been used to transport goats and sheep, and has also housed feral cats and a particular Splash Orpington who had hatched out and was mothering a particular Pearl baby guinea keet.  (The crate, by the way, came from Freecycle — which is a really brilliant system if you haven’t used it.)

Judging by the picture above, you might guess that Pippi, the misfit goat, needed the use of our quarantine crate.  And you would be right.

I do not know what to do with this goat.  She is just about the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  And I mean that in the very best, motherly, smother-her-with-love sort of way.

To begin with, she’s a runt.  She was born the biggest of her triplet doe brood, and at birth exhibited the earliest signs of “dairy character” — long body, angular bone structure, with strong straight legs.  But somehow she quickly lost ground  to her sisters.  When I picked her up at 8 weeks, I fretted that she wasn’t big enough to have been weaned from mama’s milk. The breeder assured me that she was eating solid foods and would be fine.

The breeder was right.  I’m no longer fretting about her food intake — this little creature eats like a horse, and frequently eats so much hay so quickly that she looks as though she’s swallowed a basketball — but I do fret about other things.

Like when, yesterday, she cutely got her butt stuck in the water bucket.  How does a goat, known in the animal kingdom as one of the most nimble of creatures, get her entire hind end stuck in a water bucket?  The world may never know, but I can promise that I casually glanced up at the goat yard and did a double-take when I saw misfit Pippi stuck in 5-gallon plastic bucket full of water.  I had to physically walk up to the yard and remove her from the water bucket, and let me tell you that there is nothing cuter in this world than a runt goat who is very wet and irritated, and needs but does not want mama’s help, thank you very much.

Or when, today, I came home in the dark from a long day at work (my “day job” at Sonoma County Farm Trails) and Emmett informed that Pippi had been injured.  My heart skipped a beat.

She’s okay, Emmett assured me.  How was she injured?  She got her foot stuck in the feeding trough.

How did she get her foot stuck in the feeding trough?  Again, how many licks does it take to get to the center of  tootsie pop:  the world may never know.  Luckily Emmett was working outside (just like luckily I happened to glance up at the yard when she was immersed in water), and thought it was odd that one of the goats seemed to be screaming its head off for 5 minutes straight.  He went over to investigate, and poor Pippi had her hoof wedged in the one part of the feeding trough it could possibly get stuck in (a small triangle in the bottom of the catchment).  Nate, our ram lamb who is living (usually peacefully) with the goats while our other ram Teddy makes babies with the ewes, was ramming her.  When Emmett freed Pippi, she wouldn’t put weight on the leg and limped around like a sad three-legged dog.

Emmett called a couple of vets, splinted the leg, released Wildechicken, and stuck Pippi in the multipurpose dog crate.  Good man.  An hour later, he checked on her — she was favoring the leg, but it was much improved.

And then I got home, and of course immediately commenced fretting and flitting around poor little Peg-Leg Pippi.  Emmett had made an appointment with our favorite vet (Dr. Jessica in Healdsburg, who works with locally famous Dr. McCrystal) to see Pippi in the morning to make sure the leg wasn’t broken.  In the meantime, she didn’t seem to be in pain, and we guessed (and hoped) that the splint — a piece of PVC cut in half, lined with an old sock, and wrapped in tape — wasn’t cutting off circulation to her tiny little hoof.  Was the leg broken?  How much money were we going to have to spend on this little error of a goatling?  We’d just have to wait and see.

to be continued…

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