Posted by: Silver | November 15, 2010

A Goat called Silver

It all started with a couple of entirely separate pieces of bad timing. First of all, the beginning of the harsh Canadian winter is no time for any animal to be giving birth, but boys will be boys, and somehow my host’s buck managed to jump the fence about five months ago, so last Tuesday, two new baby goats came into the world. The little girl was mainly black with little stripes of brown and white, but the little boy’s coat was almost entirely silver, so there was no doubt in my host’s mind as to what he should be called; I felt deeply honoured. 🙂

The second piece of bad timing didn’t seem too bad to start with: my host had to be away from the farm all day on Wednesday, but she reassured me that having the two extra goatlets around wouldn’t make much difference to the tasks I needed to do while she was gone. When I came down for breakfast on Wednesday morning however, it was immediately clear that this wasn’t going to be the case. Mummy goat had inexplicably rejected the two adorable bundles of fur, and – even worse – Silver did not look like he was going to make it. He was cold, motionless, and if you picked him up, his head just flopped to one side; if it weren’t for the fact that you could still feel his little heart beating, you’d swear he was dead already. So, with absolutely no prior experience whatsoever with babies of any species, I was left for over twelve hours in sole charge of twins, one of whom was half dead.

No pressure then…

Actually, the pressure wasn’t so bad, as everybody very gently explained that, since he wasn’t able to swallow, it was only a matter of time before Silver died, so I only needed to concentrate on his sister, who seemed to be doing OK so would just need feeding every four hours. But if they expected him to give up that easily, they shouldn’t have named him Silver…

For the first couple of hours, it did seem pretty hopeless. I cuddled him and, yes, cried a bit, but basically thought I was just keeping him warm and comfortable until he finally went. But shortly before lunchtime, his lifeless little body suddenly started to kick a little, and then – he swallowed! There was still a long, uncertain afternoon ahead of pipetting colostrum into his mouth and rubbing him vigorously to promote blood flow, but ever so gradually, he started to revive, until by mid-afternoon, he was actually standing up! There’s a word in Japanese – oyabaka – that sums up the excessive pride that parents have in their children’s every achievement, and at that moment, I think I truly grasped exactly what it meant.

Within no more than a day or two, Silver was as lively as his sister (whom I named Dessy, after this curious odyssey I’m on), and I was convinced that they were, of course, the most beautiful babies in the whole world…

Sitting up at last, but still very weak...

Standing up for the first time since he was born 🙂

Go on, admit it, you think he's cute too...

Cuddling up with sister Dessy



  1. Thanks for making me cry after I’d just put on mascara!

    Oh, what a story.

    Truly, thank you for sharing it.


    • Oh no! Hope you were able to rescue your make-up! It’s good to know that Silver has touched a few more hearts though: he is definitely a special little goat.

  2. AWWWW!!! :’-) That is SO adorable, well done you!! I think they’re both gorgeous but Silver does have some stunning markings on him.

    Cute kids Silver, well done! 😉

    • I know 🙂 I particularly adore the way it looks like Silver is wearing little fur boots on his front legs…

  3. Thank you so much Silver for sharing that story.

    How to warm the heart on a dreary, cold and rainy day (here in the Kootenays anyway.)

    Congratulations Silver, you must indeed be so proud!

    PS. Luckily, I don’t wear mascara!

  4. your story Silver! Made me cry too! They are both adorable and oh so special to survive. What an amazing odyssey you are on. x

  5. AWWWW 🙂 They are adorable, particularly Silver! Sitting at work during lunch with tears in my eyes right now- hope the mascara will hold!!

  6. I am SO proud of you and yes it did bring tears to the eyes (lovely to have named him in your honour) but I don’t wear mascara! tons of love abby x

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