We hadn’t had Nellie long, but she had already made herself a big part of our herd. She was a beautiful Alpine doe in milk we bought from Sunrise Farm. She scored well on her Linear Appraisal (a type of judging for registered goats) and was our best milk producer. We were looking forward to starting our Alpine herd with her and seeing the kids she would produce for us. We were also looking forward to watching her grow and mature as she was only a yearling.
Her best feature, though, was her lovable and loving personality. She had already become a favorite around here for being one of the first in line for chin scratches and for wanting to be friends with everyone she met, human and goat alike. She even semi-adopted the Nubian kids we recently got (though she didn’t let them nurse nearly as often as they would have liked), and I would often go out in the morning to find the three of them in their own goat pile.
This morning, there were signs she had been scouring (diarrhea) during the night and she didn’t eat as much as usual while being milked. I thought she had overindulged in the new hay, so I gave her some probiotics and asked John to keep an eye on her. I got a call this afternoon that she was having trouble walking. I told him to call the vet while I drove home. By the time I got there, she was convulsing. The vet was not available, and the next closest vet who treated goats was in Marion. My goat friend and Nellie’s breeder, Ziggy, suspected enterotoxemia and rushed over with CD antitoxin, but it was too late. She died in my arms.
John and I are both second-guessing each of our decisions today and feeling guilty about her death. But we both know that’s not productive. We’re trying to focus on finding answers and preventing anything like this from happening in the future. We took her body to the NC Diagnostic Veterinary Lab after she passed, so we hope to have some answers soon.
We were so lucky to have Nellie in our lives, even if it wasn’t for nearly long enough. I’m heartbroken right now, but I hope that some day we’ll be blessed enough to have another doe with the beauty and personality of Nellie.
Rest in peace, dear, sweet Nellie.