Sunday, December 18, 2016

Goat in a coat...

Luna goat has had  many struggles.  She was my first goat, and is a sweet spirit. I freely admit she is my favorite. But she has never really been well. In fact, she tends to be a bit frail, and is a constant worry.  I have learned so much about goats under her patient tutelage.  When she came here she was rail thin, with a small buckling at her side. We nursed her to health, but she often backslides, rather inexplicably.   I have read and learned, had the veterinarian out many times, and mostly Luna does pretty well. Until she doesn't. Then she loses her apatite, drops weight at an alarming rate, and makes me lose sleep. She does better in spring and summer, worse in the winter, and cold weather has never been her friend.

This week we had some terribly low temperatures, with high winds.  A most unpleasant combination.  Luna was wearing her goat coat, but was still cold and shivery.

Rachel and I have been taking sewing classes, and I decided to make a warmer coat.  So off we went, and I bought two nice pieces of soft fleece fabric.  I also bought a roll of quilt batting.  When we got home I went to work.
I took her existing goat coat, and traced it.  Then I made a sandwich with the fleece and three layers of the quilt batting, cut to fit under the goat coat.  I stitched up the edges with my sewing machine.  Rachel took some of the leftover fleece and more batting, and made a neck warmer.  I went out in the dark, with its howling wind and bitter cold. The air hurt to breath and stung the exposed skin on my face. The goats were settled in the cozy, out of the wind, with a full hay rack.  I took Luna's coat off, laid the thick new pad on her, and then covered her back up with the coat, buckling it snugly.  The neck warmer slid over her head and fit perfectly.  She took all of this in stride.

The other goats seem to do fine despite the weather. They grow thick coats of their own, and rarely shiver.  I keep plenty of hay out for them, because one way livestock like goats stay warm is through the process of digesting their food.  If they have a rack full of hay to nibble on through the long, cold, Maine nights, it helps them prevent getting chilled. I also have a big heated tub so their water stays wet, no matter how low the thermometer dips.

Here is Luna, snuggled into the straw wearing her new get up. She looks a little overstuffed here, but content.  When I slide my hand up under her coat, there is wonderful warmth.  No more shivering. A warm goat in a coat makes me sleep better when the bitter winds blow. 

1 comment:

Sandra Perez said...

I really love how sweet you are with your pets Daryl!