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“The Goat Poisoned Himself”

Aster and Isöl made a jail break, as goats are prone to doing.  They escaped their fenced area and indulged in some free-ranging around the mountainside.  I didn’t think much of it; I know they’re not going very far and I don’t mind them browsing new area.  A few hours later, however, something seemed amiss.  I couldn’t hear the bells on their collars jingling.  They were either very far away or holding very still.  Goats are like small children; when it gets too quiet, you get nervous.

After some scouting around, I actually found them hiding under the front porch!  I poked my head under the porch (which had a tall open face downhill) to see a very strange scene.  Aster is stalk-still, staring into oblivion, his and chest slathered in frothy green slime.  Isöl is pacing beside him, restless, sniffing his brother and stamping his feet.  
Isöl looks up at me with bulging eyes, “Jen, you gotta do somethin’!  You gotta help him!”  
Poor boy, he was more concerned for his brother than I’ve ever seen a goat choose to be concerned about anything else.

I got both boys back in their pen.  Aster was producing projectile vomit of green foam every so often.  He was unstable his feet and miserable.  

I went back home and had a think on it.  The only explanation was the poisonous bog plant False Hellebore, which grows in our draws.  I had destroyed it in their pen, but Aster must’ve gorged on a bunch while out enjoying his freedom.  Dadgum goats!  So I loaded up a huge syringe with hydrated activated charcoal and marched back down to the barnyard.  I flushed the full dose of AC down his throat and made sure it didn’t come back up right away.

I spent the rest of the day rampaging through the forest with false-hellebore-bloodlust, destroying every plant I came across, whilst intermittently revisiting Aster and re-dosing him with more syringes of AC.  By evening he’d stopped vomiting and seemed stable.  I’m sure he felt like crap.  He and his brother snuggled together in the loafing shed.  Isöl never left his side.  

The next day Aster was feeling much better.  His backside was caked in the crusty evidence of charcoal-black liquid poo.  His chest was a ghastly mess of crusty green

chunks and charcoal stains.  But he felt okay.  His breath smelled okay.  His appetite was healthy and he ate with a normal vigor.  He was up on his feet like nothing had happened.

The next few times I took the boys hiking, Aster would sniff false hellebore and quickly turn the other way.  Yay!  Then I made the mistake of scolding him for giving it a curious nibble.  Everything is a game to goats.  It only took one reaction.  So now they will seek out false hellebore stalks when we’re hiking and they’ll wait until I’m looking, then quickly put it in their mouths and wag their tails because they know it’ll get a reaction out of me.  
And it will!  Dadgum goats!  
Thankfully though, false hellebore is only toxic in larger quantities (that’s relative; while I’ve read 4oz. of leaf can kill a sheep, the point is that

 one nibble isn’t going to hurt, but a whole 3 foot stalk will) and I haven’t had another goat pull the same stunt on me.  In the mean time I’ve mercilessly ravaged the false hellebore in my immediate environment.  I normally don’t like eradicating a species like that, but you know 

what, they can grow everywhere else on the mountain, just stay out of my barnyard!

Normally goats can be trusted to not kill themselves while foraging.  I assume this was the first time Aster had ever interacted with falsehellebore.  The goats and pigs both nibble it incrementally, but I assume they each individually experienced eating enough to get a stomach ache and learned to avoid it.  Aster just made the mistake of gorging on the plant without first learning how it would affect him.

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“The Goat Ripped Her Teat Open”

I put Ruma on the stanchion one morning, as per usual, and knelt down to milk.
Wait- blood? Fresh blood? Where is it- oh wow… Ew.
She had somehow snagged her teat on something and tore it clean open, nearly 2 inches long. A very unsettling mixture of blood and milk was weeping out of the gash. Gross. Super gross.
So I milked out her good side, trying not to look at the wound too closely for my own stomach’s sake. I went home and pondered what to do. I ended up making a lard salve with usnea, comfrey, and holy basil in it. Every day, and throughout the days, I slathered the torn teat with the salve to help keep debris out of it. The blood and milk wept from it for a few days.
The poor girl was so full on that side of her udder that walking was becoming painful for her. We couldn’t touch the teat without the wound totally opening again. It was healing nicely but the scab wasn’t very strong. So at each milking we gently compressed her udder. Milk would shoot out of her teat (in a normal, natural fashion) and bring her some level of relief. We did not squeeze or compress too much for fear of bruising or injuring her udder.
It took about 7 days for the teat to close up firmly enough to gently milk her. Infection never set in. I kept the teat slathered in salve constantly. Once it was healed enough (gentle trial and error), I milked very carefully with the wound firmly covered by my palm to keep the milk’s pressure from focusing on that point and breaking her scab open. She flinched and kicked now and again, but the relief of being milked out overpowered the discomfort of the wound.
Within 2 weeks we were milking normally again. She had some scar tissue in the teat for awhile that restricted the milk’s flow. I gently massaged it at each milking to help break it up.
Surprisingly she did not reduce her milk production at all from the injury. She made a complete recovery with no lasting damage to her teat.