Sep 29, 2010

Goat Profile--Tea Rose

Tea Rose (called "Tea", pronounced "TEE-uh") came to us July of 2005, from Maine, of all places! I saw that she was for sale on an email list that I was on and liked what I saw--a finished champion, she had her milk star, denoting a good solid milker. (For those in the goat world she appraised 90 EEVE.) It seemed like she would be a good addition to our small herd (3 strong at that point) and my father-in-law offered to buy her as a birthday gift for me. We hired a livestock transport to bring her down to us and we were able to follow her progress on the two week long trip via email updates from the shipper as well as from folks along the way who saw her as their animals were dropped off. Several people milked her along the way and I got almost daily emails stating "whoever is getting the red doe--she is a beauty!" or "just milked that red LaMancha--she is wonderful, so sweet!" so that by the time she arrived I couldn't wait to see her!

She came off the truck looking rather ragged after 2 weeks on the road in the middle of Summer, but she quickly settled in and settled down to doing what she did best--making great milk and beautiful babies. She also came to share herd queen status. Each herd has a queen--but interestingly for those years we had Tea she shared that role with Nyla, our first goat. You could literally see them share keeping the younger goats in line. I would watch them as a younger goat did something that pushed their buttons, and Tea and Nyla would look at each other to see who was going to put the young upstart back in their place, teach them some manners. Sometimes it was Nyla, sometimes Tea, but they always looked at each other, seeing whose turn it was.

We liked what we saw so much that we kept a series of sons from her and used them rather heavily so that Tea is in over half our herd now. Her mark is clearly seen by her offspring's distinctive solid and strong body shape along with great milk production. Her sweet and friendly but undemanding personality is also evident in most of our LaManchas.

Tea Rose died in 2008. She was not very ill, just 'off', not herself for a few days, finally after we tried all we could think of we took her to the vet. The vet felt she had some kind of obstruction keeping her from being able to bring up her cud. He bragged that his new 'toy', a super-duper X-Ray machine would show us exactly what was wrong. He seemed embarrassed when he told us they didn't get a good picture, needed to repeat it. Then again. Then again.

Finally he told us that they repeated it because they didn't believe what they were seeing, assumed it to be a mistake with the machine, but it wasn't. Somehow Tea had ruptured her diaphragm, likely in headbutting another goat to keep them inline a freak blow to the chest did irreparable damage. They had never seen it before and could not believe that she was even on her feet! It explained why she hadn't wanted to lie down in the last few days--she couldn't breathe well that way! We put her down to end her suffering.

We still have her son, River, and hope to see many many babies form him in January--each one a reminder of our sweet Tea and the excitement and promise she brought to our herd.

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