Wednesday, February 17, 2010

To Cull or Not To Cull...

Culling is a hard thing for most folks.  Some have a much tougher skin in that livestock and homestead area.  It is just the nature of the lifestyle for them.  Others, though, struggle with the idea of culling.  Culling = failure.  Your genetics aren't the quality you planned for, bought for, bred up for, etc.  You have problems crop up that you simply cannot resolve.

I don't like culling.  I don't do culling well at all.  I will argue, fight tooth and nail, and then some against culling.  I'm far too emotionally attached to my homestead and its occupants than any true homesteader can or should be.  I don't do the hard stuff well at all.

Surprise...I'm just not wired to be accepting of the word NO.  Ask my mom.  Ask my aunts.  They will nod like bobble-headed dolls at that confession there.  I don't like the whole concept behind the idea and word NO.  It indicates a lack somewhere in my mind.  I'm a walking contradiction, I know.  How many times have I said that life is Black and White...there aren't really any Gray areas to be found.  Things simply are what they are.

Yet, I'm the first to say that there is almost always something that can be done in a given situation.  Most folks will opt for the 'NO' route simply to make things easier for themselves.  Most folks like NO because it releases them from involvement.  They don't have to extend time, money or effort into a situation if they accept NO.

I don't believe that.  Call it a lack of Faith or whatever, but I don't believe that NO occurs nearly as often as we would like to think it does.  Take Rachel and her abscess we are dealing with now.  Is there a NO in this?  Where do you draw that line and say enough is enough and it's time to cull?

We have done the 3 day penicillin run.  We piggy-backed that with a 3 day sulfa bolus.  Then a 5 day Baytril (which I'm not saying is right or wrong.  Some goats are sensitive to Baytril...caution as always).  And now, another 3 day sulfa run, this time doubling the efforts with 2 pills daily.  I will not, cannot, lance her abscess.  It is in the area, for this lay-anatomy person here, of her lymph system and I just can't rip it open and subject her to either death by mistake or bleeding out, or introducing her entire lymph system to the various diseases and air-born stuff out there.

The Vet isn't too keen on opening it up either.  However, if I press, we can surgically remove it.  But we're talking money.  So, you have to start thinking different.  Now you start thinking about past, current and future costs for this one particular goat.  Sure, she has good bloodlines, and she has terrific potential.  But, she's a goat.  She is worth a good deal of money, but the surgery is around $200.  Whose to say it will remove the abscesss?  Whose to say the abscess hasn't already 'embedded' throughout her lymph system and it's all moot at this point?  What if it bursts during removal spreading the infection?  What if she simply dies as a result of the surgery itself?

Variables.  There are a lot of them.  What I'm leaning at right now is this...she is not weak, she is not showing any signs of, alert, eats well, and so on.  She simply has a growth on the neck and around.  Were she suffering visibly in ANY way at all, I'd say drop her and put her out of her suffering.  But she isn't, so I just can't see culling yet.  I need to give every other option I can find a try. 

Cost-wise, I can't see doing surgery to remove the abscess.  I have to make that decision and live with it, no regrets later.  It's just not feasible at this time.  The cost of the surgery would purchase another goat with just as good a 'pedigree' to her name.  I can do a few more boluses and hope for the best.  I can try to find out the exact worst- and best-case scenario for lancing the abscess, even if the Vet is the one who does it.  Obviously, worst-case is she dies then and there. 

I haven't seen anything really confirming a practical, realistic recurrence rate.  If lanced and dealt with , are the potential for more in this same area higher?  I can deal with other abscesses, I'm just not comfortable with this one's location.  Too much closeness to vitals that I'm not prepared to deal with. Bloodlines are great, like I said, and I'm not discounting that, but seriously, I lucked into good bloodlines...I am not necessarily looking to breed and sell.  I'm looking at milk production right now.

What would you do?  If this was your situation, your goats, your homestead?


Innisfree in Alaska said...

sister you know the answer. be at peace. - Briana

Paula said...

I'm sorry for the decisions you're going to have to make. I was raised in town and pets were pets and you did whatever they needed. Now that I'm a farm girl, that's what I have the hardest time to deal with. It's a much different concept of pets and animals. I'm very lucky that Colin is our 'animal guy' and is the one that makes the hard decisions and does 'the deed'.

I hope you come to the best decision.

Sharmayne said...

Deanna, You've been struggling with this for a good time.Taking Racheal out of the problem for the moment.... If I was using a goat for my family's milk supply, then I want a healthy goat. Nothing about bloodlines, looks needs matter if the goat is serving the purpose of milk supply, except that it provides healthy milk. You can't use the milk if it is full of all types of antibiotics (toxicity levels), ? disease carrying. What types of goats do best for milk supply in your area? Praying for your decision

Rose said...

I was in a similar situation, but with a dog. She gave birth almost 3 weeks ago, got an infection in one of her breasts, and despite being on antibiotics, it burst open. ( BIG GAPING HOLE)! I mean the breast was gone. And another one was getting infected. Nothing could be don. Oh, the vet talked about surgery, but he had said that he really did not want to do it, so I felt that I didn't have any choice, and I had her put to sleep. We are now bottle feeding the pups.

Bean said...

we had a "rescued" calf that had an umbilical infection, it affected it legs, it could hardly walk, after a heavy course of antibiotics it improved slightly, but eventually died a few months later. We co-owned the calf with a neighbor, in hindsight we should have let the calf be put down, I believe the calf suffered in our attempts to "save" him, he never ate well, he never walked much, and he seemed to be in pain most of the time. It was a relief when he died.


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Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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