TonyTheGoatThis was supposed to be a vaguely funny post about how we have a goat at the farm called Tony, which by coincidence is the name of a friend who writes a very entertaining blog called Tales From The Rock about his life smallholding in Wales. Tony of the Rock is probably responsible for getting me into working here in the first place, and has consistently told me to avoid keeping goats.

Unfortunately just after I took this picture, Tony the Goat was found standing stock still and staring into space, ignoring all attempts to move him. Even giving him his favourite elderflower leaves elicited no more than a half-hearted nibble. He stayed stock still while I cleaned out his pen, which is usually a hazardous occupation, and later we found him lying on his side, having made a small but very runny poo, in contrast to the shotgun pellets he usually gives me to sweep up.

Tony of the Rock will have already recognised what he calls UXG: unexploded goat syndrome, or to give it its scientific name, Entrotoximia, where the rumen in a goat’s stomach turns acidic, the natural bacteria which normally help digestion eat at the stomach walls. What we don’t understand is how this happened, when Tony and his two friends haven’t been outside of their run in a few weeks.

Tony the Goat didn’t make the night: all that I found when I went to work the next day was the little blue collar we used when the children took him for a walk.

Children learn lots on the farm: some lessons are harder than others.