Some of you are wondering how Mr. Billy is doing… and I am still not really sure. He has been hiding out in the chicken A-frame shelter, hiding underneath the roosting bars for the past two days, as seen above. Twice a day, every day, I force him to get out and walk around, drink water, and try to eat. Yesterday, Kipp from Burden Creek Dairy came over and gave him once over. His rectal area is extremely inflamed which is clearly making him uncomfortable but he does not have a fever or diarrhea, so there is a little hope. His stomach area is also still swollen but I realized that he might have a urine blockage. Since I needed feed and supplies anyway, I headed out to Tractor Supply where the manager Durwood showed me some basic vitamin “drenches” to give the goats as well as a great website: www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. After talking to a few locals, I found a woman named Casey Price that is with Jeremiah Goat and Dairy on Johns Island. What a wonderful, intelligent, goat loving woman!! She was extremely helpful in talking me through the symptoms and invited me right out to her farm to give me some tools to help the goat. After a lot of discussion, we decided that the most likely problem is Urinary Calculi which is basically a blockage in the urethra. Unfortunately, it is a little late in the game to be diagnosing this and ammonium chloride can help in the early stages but he may already have a severe blockage and need veterinarian assistance. He is still eating and drinking which is good, except if he has a blockage and continues to drink, his bladder could explode! I cannot handle this helplessness! Here is a diagram of the male system:
The crazy part about goats is that they were one of the first domesticated animals and are currently raised for milk, meat, and skin in almost every country but there are few people in the United States that are professionally trained in medically treating goats. In Charleston County there is only one vet that handles goats and most people do not use him because of the costs. Everyone I have talked to has taught themselves and learned from experience which is crazy considering the goats often suffer. There is a 90% chance that my goats illness is due to uninformed care taking… just today I learned that I should not be giving them corn, too much (if any) feed with molasses, peaches (or any pit fruit), and that they need baking soda/salt mixtures out in their pen. Apparently branches, leaves, and bark are suppose to be their main food (of which I have been given them zero) and they are forages partially to regulate their stomach. They don’t even have teeth on the top of their mouths since they are not grazers! Goats are susceptible to so many kinds of diseases, I don’t know why people would ever keep them as pets unless they had some kind of training or experience handling them first. This is definitely becoming one hell of a learning experience.