Point here is that Minerva gave birth. You all know this. They are sweet little potato buds, and I think one was already on the computer, sneaky little monkey, but they're doing fine. Minerva......not so much. After having the babies, her udder just got gigantic. But hard. So, so hard. Inside was fibrous, even muscular, in feel. Being a noob, I had no idea what that was about. Maybe that was normal? I've milked a goat once in my life--kinda-- what did I know? So I looked into it, and nope, that's not normal. She should have a nice firm udder when full, but hey look at that, it's supposed to feel empty when she's been milked. Neither one of those is true for Minerva. Hard and fibrous on the inside when I start, almost no milk comes out, and it's hard and fibrous when I'm done.
|We is completely adorable!|
I finally broke down and emailed Teresa over at Eden Hills. She found out she has CAE in her herd last year, so I thought I could talk to her. She was wonderful and emailed me right back and said, yes, CAE can cause the hard udder, but Minerva should still have a good amount of nice milk and we can drink it, and it can be ok. So ok, I thought, I knew part of that, so that might be it. If that is the case, I guess I'll wait and see how much milk Minerva can produce even with her hard udder.
|Peoples, I said we is ADORABLE! And evilbad. he he he|
You know how it is when you have a new baby, and the baby cries all the time and you get totally stressed out because you just don't know what it wants, and nothing you do helps, and it won't stop crying? Welcome to my world, baby. ALL. THE. TIME. It was obvious that she was distressed. I did not know why. I took her temperature. Nothing. I increased her feed, maybe she was hungry. Nah, but she didn't mind most of the time. Other times she said "no thank you" and didn't want it. The only time she stopped crying was when I was near. Or on the milking stand. When I milked, she didn't cry. I'd get her requisite cup, and she was ok during the time. Then I put her off the stand, and she'd start yelling again.
|Help! Goat overboard!|
And guess what? It can be one of three things: CAE, mastitis, or edema. Ok, that I knew. But, she broke it down for me, and I understand better what my options are, and that's a life saver right there. Plus, she gave me meds I didn't have. BONUS!
Here's the deal. If it's CAE, there's nothing I can do. She will always have a hard udder and may never give more than a cup of milk. Did the vet say "let her go"? Yep, she did. But I said "Not an option", so she said that her suggestion would be either continue milking her or don't, but eventually dry her up and don't breed her again. If all she will give is a cup, and I'm after the milk and not the babies, that would be the course of action for us. Luckily, Minerva is one of the two goats we own who understands cart horse commands-and will actually obey them. Lilly is the other. If this is the case for her, Minerva will be the cart goat I was wanting. She will be the pack goat. Minerva is very, very smart. She can handle it without a problem. She will earn her keep in another way--not the way I'd like, but it's something.
|I did take the babies away from Minerva. She was so unhappy and their presence seemed to make the situation worse, so they've been separated. She noticed a little, but she's not as upset as I would have thought.|
The other two possibilities are the ones I'm hoping it is. I know, that's horrible. I hope it's mastitis or edema. What kind of monster am I? But those two things are treatable, and would mean that once cleared up, she should be a normal and hopefully excellent milker. In case it's mastitis, the vet took a culture to be sent off for a mega test that beats my little at home test, and Minerva's being treated with a mega dose of penicillin every day to help fight it. If mastitis is confirmed, there will be more antibiotics to follow. If mastitis is not the case, it could be edema. And so the vet gave me Banamine, which I did not have, and is an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Little miracle in a bottle. There's a course of that to be given as well. If it's edema, it will make the swelling go down.
|Strike a pose! This one is a hambone.|
I don't know what's wrong with Minerva just yet, but I am thrilled she's stopped yelling at the top of her lungs all the time. I hate to have an animal suffer, and it just put my stress levels through the roof. As to the plan of what to do with her and what her job will be, I don't know until I know what's going on. Right now I'm just collecting her little cup of milk and freezing it. Goat milk soap will abound from her milk. And I'm crossing my fingers that Lilly doesn't go through any of this. What are the positives for this? Well, Minerva did make some pretty flippin' cute babies, you will all learn more about CAE from me than you (or I) ever wanted to know, and I love to milk. Love love love. It is relaxing and wonderful in a way I can't describe. I'm totally addicted. Fear managed!