Posted by: kathandroger | March 10, 2019

Multiple deaths, and Ode to a Goat.

It happens to all of us who keep animals. They die. This week we lost our last two chickens to the fox. My old hen house is very secure, after lining the base with metal after the badger took some hens this time last year. The weak point is the automatic door, which is triggered by daylight, and closes at dusk. Our latest batch of chickens were not the brightest, and sometimes stayed out until after closing time. A fatal mistake. At this time of the year predatory animals have young to feed and are particularly daring, and the view to greet me on Monday was one of scattered feathers all over the orchard.IMG_0420I found a headless corpse nearby, that of Vanessa, the Warren, only Alice our Light Sussex had been taken. Not the badger this time but the fox, who must have jumped up and over our perimeter wall to get access. With only two kills it is much less upsetting than in the UK, when the whole flock of maybe a dozen birds would be killed. I am told it is something to do with the response to flapping which makes the fox kill all the birds.

So it means we will have no more eggs for a few months until I buy some more chicks. I will miss them because each chicken has its own character, and this remaining couple were very friendly and amusing. Still the garden won’t be dug up so much, the bare patches they have made in the gravel courtyard can be tidied up, and I can also repair the holes in the lawn the chickens made. Every disaster has its compensations!

Moins Dix is our male, castrated goat. He has that name because he was born when the temperature was minus ten degrees, and he has been with us for maybe eight years. I don’t know how old he was at that time, but he did have some happy years with Titty, out lovely retired milking goat, until she managed to suspend herself whilst trying to eat some high leaves in a tree, trapped her foot and died. Useless shepherd! Anyway Moins Dix is a bit of a character. He has short legs, like me, runs in a funny way, like me, but can still jump over our fence to eat the farmers’ crops next door. I don’t like eating oil seed rape, and can’t jump anymore anyway. Often passing cars would stop to tell us our goat was out, but he always came back when I called him for food. And he and Hercules the ram, were always good mates and used to go off for manly chats together when the females were occupied with infants.

So I was upset to find Moins Dix obviously dying this week. He had been a bit off colour and even refused some food one day, and then I found him unconscious and unresponsive in our cave. He had obviously gone there to die. I dug a big hole for him.IMG_0421It upset me greatly; he had been with us a long time and was always friendly and would eat out of my hand when he was not trying to eat my trousers. But the next day he was the same, and the day after; not responding to anything, laying on his side with just the odd twitch of his back legs. Even Polly the dog looked upset, and Dennis the cat also came with us to see if he had passed away that evening. Ditto the next morning. So what to do? I hauled the near corpse outside, stood him upright leaning against my legs, and gave him some water. To my astonishment he drank it, and even scoffed a handful of grass. Each time I moved he fell over, but after about an hour, with Polly licking his ears, he was able to stand alone.IMG_0424He even began to eat some sheep nuts and take a few steps. But then Hercules arrived and immediately rammed him over. I am told that animals recognise sick beasts and want them out of the flock, but Hercules was not going to undo my good work, so the sick animal was placed in a newly constructed Intensive Care Unit.IMG_0428And there he remains. He was collapsed again this morning, but responded to being pulled upright. I guess he just likes being got out of bed. So time will tell, but he is an old boy now and death comes to all of us one day, so if he lays down again tonight I may not pick him up again. You have been a good companion, Moins Dix, but I shan’t fill in that hole just yet.


  1. I can’t believe he’s still hanging in there! It must be very distressing to witness, but he’s clearly a determined old coot.

  2. How is “Minus Ten” today
    Sorry to hear about the chooks as well…

    • Amazingly still hanging on . I thought he would die last night, but I said the same thing a week ago! Thanks for your interest.

  3. Very sad, I hope he is not suffering too much.

    • Still with us and enjoying a supper of chard and brussels sprout plants!

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