Butterfly spent most of Thursday and Friday last week in the house with me. She couldn’t stand up without help and she usually laid with her hind legs stretched out. Despite being largely immobile, she nevertheless kept up a keen interest in everything around her. And is that not the sweetest little face?
Skeeter comes into the basement several times a day to nurse her kids and visit. She’s been a fantastic mother through all of this–never losing interest in her little crippled baby, and always being extremely careful with her and patient to let her nurse her fill.
On Friday afternoon, Phil and I took down our ping-pong table and built an indoor playpen for Butterfly and George. The vet said good footing would be key, so we put down some of those jigsaw puzzle mats used in Sunday school rooms for the kids to play on. It’s soft and has excellent traction. Then we added a thin layer of pine shavings and a box for the kids to feel safe in. The pen is big enough for mama to visit!
On Saturday afternoon, Butterfly was doing well enough that I felt safe taking her outside to the goat pen with supervision. Rita was very sweet. She thought we had brought her more babies and she seemed very delighted, but Skeeter soon put an end to that notion! Skeeter is extremely protective of Butterfly, even to the point of hitting Rita’s babies very hard to keep them away. I don’t think it’s in Skeeter’s nature to be mean to babies, but until Butterfly is fully mobile, other goats young and old are going to have to watch out for the wrath of Mama Bear!
Rita didn’t get much opportunity to hang out with Butterfly, but in those rare moments when Skeeter was occupied, Rita showed nothing but tenderness toward the little hurt baby. I’m so proud of her! Every herd needs good mamas who take care of all the babies regardless of who they belong to.
Skeeter eventually felt safe leaving Butterfly with me and Phil so she could take rambunctious little George for his first outing. The little guy was bursting with excitement and curiosity and thoroughly enjoyed his first adventure with the “big goats.”
I never have to hold Skeeter still to nurse Butterfly. She takes such good care of this little one and makes sure she’s completely finished eating before walking off, and is always careful not to bump her as she walks by. What a good mama!
Butterfly was beginning to get depressed on Friday and Saturday because of her immobility. She was eating less and her ears started to droop. Taking her outside to be with the other kids on Saturday afternoon really cheered her up and restored her spark of life. It was a bit rough-and-tumble, especially when George got into the mix, but Butterfly didn’t seem to mind a bit. In fact, it inspired her to try harder at walking and to pull herself up if she fell or got knocked down. Since Rita’s kids are a little smaller than Butterfly, they make perfect playmates. What a trio!