Collars and Green Slime

Fun-filled, exciting night.  Okay, maybe the fun part isn’t true except where the birthday is concerned.  It’s birthday week: eldest son, youngest son and eldest grandson.  Last night, we were celebrating the eldest son and the youngest son was opening his presents since my eldest couldn’t come back up for a while due to his work schedule.  I spent most of the day shopping for food and doing the usual preparations around outside work.

Since the goats don’t have horns and look alike, they wear collars so I can identify who is who and have something to grab on to when I need to.  I was in the yard checking water since Maine has decided to be it’s usual fickle self concerning weather, and it had shot up to over 80 degrees.   I left the enclosure and happened to see Simon trying to play with Amy and his collar got caught on her horn as she jerked back. He found himself hanging from her head, but she brought her head back down, and he was able to release himself before I got to him.  I had already decided to put the sheep in their own area since, other than the kids, the adult goats were not accepting them.  This put it #2 on the list after birthdays.
During a late birthday dinner and “party” for my eldest son (30 – whoo hoo), I had to leave long enough to put everyone away for the night. Amy and Lia go back into a stall, so they have a break from the goats. I filled their hay bag and water, open the gate and they ran in (they’re getting the hang of it).   A short time later, I heard a noise, noticed Amy was inhaling hay like crazy, and made a mental note to get the little hut finished and get them moved into their own space.   Obviously, the goats aren’t letting them eat much.  I know I’ve seen the queen chase them down and headbutt them while grazing.  Since goats aren’t grazers, I’ve yet to figure out what the big deal is other than her being a snot.
As I’m leaving the enclosure, I hear coughing. I almost ignored it, because Jupiter tends to cough off and on when she eats quickly.   I stood there for a bit and realized it wasn’t the goats. It was the sheep. I went back in to check on them. Halfway to their little barn, it was quiet.  Coughing then quiet sometimes isn’t a good thing. I decided to check on them anyhow. Switching on the light, and glancing down, Amy was standing there with big eyes, mouth open and neck stretched.  I looked at her sides. They weren’t moving.  If she had hands, I’m fairly certain she would’ve had them around her neck or banging on the milk stand next to her.  Even if I hadn’t dealt with this before when a goat choked, I would’ve recognized the signs.
Goats went flying in all directions as I shoved them out of the way and got the gate open.  She hadn’t moved.  She was like a statue which was a bit freaky.    Grabbing her, I locked her between my legs, and started massaging the daylights out of her throat.  I kept rubbing her, and foamy green was coming out, but no hay or cud.   At one point I thought the cud went down, and she was clear.   She was breathing some, but it was obvious she was still choking.
By this time, my youngest son had heard and saw me over the barn camera in the kitchen, so he came flying out to help.   I’d gotten her throat a bit more clear, but she was still obviously having issues.  I told her, “Dang it, Amy.  Do not make me have to tell Amanda one of her ewes died.”  I did the only thing I could think of: I gave my sheep the Heimlich maneuver. Oddly enough, one of the Facebook groups I’m in had a member with a choking donkey, and I found a video for her on how to do it. Good thing I actually watched it, though I did it from behind.

By the time I was done, Amy was breathing and seemed like she was done choking (sometimes they fool you), Lia was freaking out and trying to go anywhere but where she was.  Green cud-smelling slime was all over Amy, me, the stall and the hay bag.  Her breathing was much better, and she called her sister with a very weak creaky voice, but she was breathing and making noise which was all I cared about.  Lia ran over to her and stood between us like she was daring me to touch her sister again.  I told her I was on her side, and I didn’t want to do that again any more than she wanted me to.  I sat with them until I was fairly certain Amy was okay and done choking.
 I checked on her before I went to bed and first thing this morning to make sure she was okay.   Two animals choking in one day.  Yeesh.  Both have the same solution.  I’ll be working on that today.

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