First of all, I’m a big wuss. I chose to raise colored angora goats because you raise them for their mohair. Twice a year, shear it off, hopefully have some nice enough to sell to handspinners, and wash and felt or spin the rest.
You don’t have to kill a fiber animal to make money. That’s what I want.
However, sometimes they get sick. Sometimes, the goat you think is the toughest and meanest (but with the prettiest fleece), suddenly becomes ill and dies.
Usually, it is because there are too many goats on too small a property. They eat the grass down to the ground, and are exposed to more parasites than if they are browsing in the woods and pastures as mine normally do.
We have a small pasture that was completely overcome with weeds. And I mean BIG weeds. Weeds that were up to 12 feet high. I could not see through them, they were so thick.
I decided to keep the goats in that pasture until they ate all the weeds. They did a darn good job, but I think I maybe left them in a day or two too long.
Two days after I let them back out for their basically free-range browsing, Maisie came down sick. She was horribly anemic – the sign of parasites that have overcome a goat’s system. It could be Coccidia or Barberpole worms, or lung worms – any number of nasty parasites that are always in the background, but seldom take over the goat’s entire system.
It was really too late. I gave her all the stuff you are supposed to, but she was too weak, too sick.
So Maisie died early this afternoon.
And that’s why having livestock can be heartbreaking.