The vet said she was beyond hope...
We have had straight-up, honest-to-goodness, miraculous healing here on our farm. Of our goats. God loves ALL of His Creation, even His stubborn goats. Can I get an Amen here??Can anyone else out there identify with being a stubborn old goat? No? Just me?? Well then....
We have had. a. time. here on our farm the last few months. I'm not even sure what precipitated everything.
We have been working, for a very long time, towards being able to rotate our goats daily. So far, we've kept them rotating on different large paddocks frequently enough that we have not yet had to deal with internal parasites. But the goal is, and has always been, to rotate daily, utilizing ALL of the land that we purchased--specifically so we could get animals on it!
As of December 2019, our 3 original nannies birthed 6 kids--5 girls and a boy--for a farm total of 2 bucks and 8 nannies. In March, our herdsire got out of his buck pen, and knocked up 3 of our nannies--including one of his daughters. Who was only 3 months old..... So to increase our genetic diversity a tad, we purchased another yearling buck, and 5 nanny kids in late July.
In late August, all 3 pregnant nannies gave birth. Our 2 breedable nannies had twin boys, as did our herdsire's daughter, for a total of 5 buckling kids. Unfortunately, our doeling's kid died due to Failure to Thrive.
In September, we got a large chunk of fencing done. In late September, we checked the health of the nannies and kids. We ran FAMACHA (checking inner eyelids for signs of anemia--typically caused by a barberpole worm infestation) on some of them, and mistakenly assumed all the goats were fine, based on the ones we spot-checked. What. A. Mistake. We put all the goats out on a new pasture, and began daily rotating. YAY!!! Finally!!!!! Frequent rotating is a key to reducing and keeping parasite loads down. In the 2+ years we've been raising goats, we've learned lots of things, and had several issues (predators, drownings, one goat just dropped dead one day--no known cause), but we've never had an issue with intestinal parasites. We were confident that we were keeping ahead of that one. We even added Basic H, and Justin Rhodes's Magic Water recipe of apple cidar vinegar, raw garlic, and honey to their water, just to keep ahead of parasite overloads (it is normal for animals to carry some parasites--the danger is when they become overloaded), and provide them with the extra energy and electrolytes during this time of change.
In early October, maybe a week after getting the goats out on new pasture, and rotating daily, we pulled up 1 of the kids we purchased in July due to sluggish behavior, and being off by herself. We checked her eyelids, and they were WHITE. I was shocked and dismayed. I keep herbal treatments and oils on hand, as well as synthetic dewormers, just in case--even though most parasites now are completely resistant to synthetic dewormers. Due to her eyelids being white (which means she had a fatal parasite overload), we weighed the doeling, administered an oral drench of dewormer, complex B vitamins, and an iron supplement, and copper bolused her (which we should have done when we brought them home, but did not...). I watched her die later that night.
The next day, we checked all of our goats one at a time, and brought up another doeling--from the same group we purchased in July--that had pale eyelids. This time I tried the herbal supplement protocol that I had. I held her while she died the next morning.
2 weeks later, a predator--we're thinking a coyote--managed to get UNDER our electric netting, and attacked a 3rd goat--FROM THE SAME GROUP. The predator "only" managed to cut the jugular. Judging by the lack of any other injuries, and the electric netting being all messed up, we're guessing that our guardian dogs jumped over the fencing, and scared off the predator. Either way, back up to the house came the nannies. Things only got worse after that.
Once we brought them up from the field, we experienced a weeklong cold front accompanied by rain and freezing temps, followed by a warm front. As soon as it warmed up, a 4th goat from our July group developed diarrhea (of the original 5, she was always the slowest anyway--but still not slow!), and 2 of our August bucklings and their mom seemed lethargic, and like they were losing weight. So we pulled those 4 goats plus the 5th goat in our July group up to a different paddock by the house, one that hadn't had any goats on it for a a few months, and one that our chickens roam freely in. We copper bolused the entire herd, and re-ran FAMACHA on all goats. The 4 that looked like they were not doing well all had pale pink or white eyelids. Oh my gosh y'all..... I didn't even know what else to do.
In doing continued research that day, I ordered some Red Cell, because that has additional iron and vitamins in it that I guess are more bioavailable than the injectible stuff you get a Tractor Supply. The iron and b-vitamins are crucial for the copper uptake in goats that makes their rumens inhospitable for parasites.
The next morning after separating goats, one of the bucklings was dead. 2 days later, after receiving the Red Cell, and beginning giving the goats this additional supplement, the other buckling was dead. Dewormers weren't working. Herbals weren't working. Basic H wasn't working (it's not meant to be used as an aggressive dewormer--only as a minor one, or for a preventative). Nothing was working. My nanny goat that was in quarantine was so emaciated that I could stick a finger on either side of her, in front of her hip bones, and feel my fingers touching each other underneath her spine. Nothing but skin between my fingers.
I found fresh feces--not sure which one of the 2 sick goats it was from. But I collected in and took it to the vet for a fecal test. They can do it faster than I can. 15 minutes later, the vet came out and told me he was sorry, but there wasn't a medication on the market that would work. Whichever goat it was from was beyond help, and would be dead within a matter of days. He suggested I sell her off to market. For date reference, this was Monday, November 2, 2020.
Y'all. I don't do well with "it can't be done," or "there is nothing you can do." Or really, just "no" in general. The vet's answer was completely unacceptable to me. So I came home. I did my own fecal test. It was ridden with parasite eggs. I prayed. And it "dawned" on me that the one thing I hadn't tried yet was essential oils.
I have no background training in essential oils. I don't sell them. I don't promote them. I use them on occasion--if I don't feel well, or if the kids have an upset tummy, etc, I will turn to them. Minor things, basically. But I was desperate. I understand that certain oils have anti-viral, anti-parasitic properties--but they are "hot" oils. I understand that frankincense can repair damaged cells. Lavendar is supposed to be calming, and peppermint can settle an upset tummy. Clove can numb. Oils need to be diluted. More research to figure out whicih oils, dosing and suggested protocols, then more prayer.
I began giving oils orally to both sick goats every 2 to 3 hours, and 6 cc Red Cell to the momma goat, and 4 cc to the doeling, 4 times daily. I prayed over my goats (I pray for them, and everything on the farm, routinely anyway--but realized I don't normally pray OVER my goats). Then I asked other people to pray for my goats.
Tuesday, a friend of mine came to my house, bearing another animal-specific, already diluted oil, specifically formulated for internal parasites. I added that to my protocol.
Wednesday, I gave the goat with still-horrible diarrhea a bath, and trimmed her hind-end hairs that were just covered in dry diarrhea. I won't lie. That's probably one of the grossest and most unpleasant things I've done here! I also ran a fecal sample on momma goat. I saw no sign of parasites in her sample. Convinced I did it wrong, I stored the rest of her sample to retest the following day, when I had more time. Which, I still haven't gotten to...
Thursday, my emaciated goat ran from me. Except she wasn't emaciated-looking, either. She hadn't had energy to run from me since I separated her. Not only did she run from me, but her hip bones were no longer as pronounced as they were. I stood out there for 30 minutes just staring at her from every angle, before I dosed her. I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. When I gave her her round of oils and Red Cell, I pet her withers and ran my hand all over her body (like I had been doing daily, every time I dosed her). She was actually, for realsies, gaining weight back. Her eyelids were still pale. But she was absolutely putting on weight. I wish, now, that I had a "before" picture for y'all.
By Friday, diarrhea-goat was pooping almost normal, and had no more dried diarrhea on her. And, she and the momma goat both showed eyelids that were pinking back up.
Did I mention this is the same area that our chickens free-range? Chickens are God's natural farmstead sanitizers. They just love to scratch in the dirt, looking for bugs of various kinds. And they have been no different with these goats being in this paddock. Most of the goat feces has been scratched up and spread out, exposing eggs and larva to the sun, thus killing both. We put the goats here because we were trying to get them onto the cleanest pasture, closest to the house, for the frequent monitoring and dosing. In doing so, we unwittingly--and blessedly--put them in with the animals whose very job it is, is to sanitize pastures and clear out pathogens--which reduces parasites in a given paddock.
So, we have lost a total of 6 baby goats since late August. This is a devastating loss. Financially, yes. But emotionally, it has taken it's toll on me. But right now, I can't stop rejoicing over the not one, but TWO goats, who were literally on the brink of death, goats that we were recommended to simply get rid of, by the experts, because the goats were beyond hope--goats that are being healed before our very eyes.
I do not believe in coincidences. I do believe in miracles. And angels. Call me crazy--I'm quite ok with that! I see and hear about miracles on a routine basis--and I absolutely live in a constant state of awe and wonder at my Indescribable God. What a wonderful world to live in!! God has shown his love, mercy, and faithfulness to me time and time again, and there is never a point in time that I deserve any of it. But He sees fit to pursue me and bring me back when I take my eyes off of Him and am consumed by the storms in my life. He reaches His Mighty Hands to pull me out of the violently tossing and turning waves I sometimes find myself in. He shields me under His protection while His army of angels fights my battles for me, when I can no longer fight my own battles (because I was designed to fight my own battles all by myself). He sends angels to rescue me from myself when my stubborness lands me in the wilderness. He reminds me that I am, in fact, His strong, capable, and mighty warrior--but that even warriors need an assist. And most of all, He reminds me that I am His. He will not abandon me. He will not forsake me. Before He even formed me, He knew me--with all of my flaws and weaknesses. And He uses my stubborn goats to remind me of His mercies. If He sees fit to heal them, how much more will He provide for my needs??
I try not to write novel-length blog posts, I really do. But short, sweet, and to the point is just not in my God-created DNA! I just cannot keep silent about the things He does in my life any longer. For the longest time, I have--perhaps I've taken the commands in Matthew 6 a bit too far, in terms of not letting others see me fasting and praying, but to do it in private. But God has been calling me to speak boldly for Him for some time. Which....as an introvert......is almost impossible for me.... But that's a whole other blog post!! Not all my posts will be holy-roller posts--sometimes my kids are just funny, or some other project will be highlighted here. But be aware, I will be using this platform to sing my God's praises!!
Today is Tuesday, November 9. In just a bit, I will collect another fecal sample from both goats, and see where we're at. Stay tuned for more news of miraculous healing!