A lot can happen when you least expect it. In the past month, our lives have totally changed with the addition of 4 BIG goats, a pot bellied pig, and a silkie rooster!
There is certainly a lot to this story, but for now I wanted to share some pictures of these wonderful animals. They were raised by Rolly, a man who had devoted much of his life to the care of many different animals. In the short time we’ve gotten to know Rolly, we have learned about many of the animals he has helped and healed. Right now though, he is going through some difficult times with his health, and because of this, we were contacted in early December by a mutual friend about the possibility of taking in a couple of his goats.
The plan originally was to bring home two large Saanen-cross goats (a doe and a wether named Sophia and Frankie). However, over the course of the past month, other circumstances changed and we were asked if we would consider taking the remainder of his herd: two Angora-cross goats (Poco and Priscilla), a very senior (20 year old) pot bellied pig named Charlie, and Charlie’s best friend, Blue (an older Silkie rooster).
We had a few reservations (the Angoras have some pretty big horns which we aren’t used to being around, and we just don’t know anything about pigs – especially caring for an elderly fellow like Charlie!), but we decided to help out as best as we could. If you’ve followed any of my articles, you may have seen our little barn that we built for the bucklings we are planning on getting. It was currently housing our youngest Nigerian Dwarf does, Amberle and Eretria. We were already in the process of integrating them with the other does, so we moved ahead a little quicker, and made room for the new (unexpected) family members. We are not in a big rush to get our bucklings, so it must have been fate that we had this space available (considering it’s the middle of winter and pretty challenging to build any new housing right now).
Anyway, during this transition, we’ve taken a few trips out to Rolly’s place (which is about an hour and a half away). We took the kids out to meet the animals a couple of times, and we also met with a local vet, who checked out Charlie to make sure he was up to the trip. The vet also gave the goats some basic vaccinations (just to be on the safe side). These trips also gave us a chance to get to know a bit more about the animals, and Rolly was full of great stories about all of them. He has even shared some wonderful pictures and videos of them, as well as some other animals he worked with over the years. I’m hoping to eventually share some of those through this website.
So we had planned the big move for Saturday, January 16. And wouldn’t you know it – that morning we found ourselves in a huge blizzard. Not wanting to take any chances, we postponed the move until Sunday. And then Sunday morning, the same thing happened – it started snowing again, so we decided to wait until the following weekend. Fortunately, the move was not an emergency, and there were some very patient and caring people helping out with this, so the delay was not such a big deal.
Finally, this past weekend, we made it out to Rolly’s place. We got there ahead of the trailer, and loaded up the remainder of the hay and other items that Rolly had prepared for the animals. Everyone moved quickly and we were able to get Charlie loaded into a large animal carrier (although he was quite vocal about not wanting to do that), and Blue was loaded into a cat carrier (and rode with us in our truck). Even the goats were loaded up into the trailer with little problem. And although the weather got a bit crazy on the way back, we all made it home safely.
It was really quite wonderful to see them come out of the trailer. The Saanens hopped out first (Sophia and Frankie), and made their way into their new home. Poco and Priscilla (the Angoras) jumped down and followed the others into their new pasture. They managed to find the hay manger we had set up for them, and were quite happily munching away while we unloaded Charlie (who made his way into the barn after we slowly “poured” him out of the animal carrier he was in). We brought Blue into the barn right after, and he and Charlie seemed very happy to be reunited. It didn’t take long before Charlie had rooted into the bedding in the barn and took a little nap.
As for us, we’ll just be figuring it all out as we go along. Lots of “pig” research to do still, to make sure we give the best care that we can for Charlie. And continuing to learn what we need to about these BIG goats. The first couple of nights have been good. All the animals seem to be doing well, and the goats have been “talking” across the fence to our little does all day today. We are hoping Rolly can visit soon too. I’m sure the animals will be very happy to see him!
We do think however, that we’ll need to build a bigger barn in the spring…
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