Is it a pet?

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The question “Is this a pet or a farm animal?” was posed to my husband as he sat with our Nigerian Dwarf doe, Sushi last fall.  Why does this question even register as something to consider, exemplifies the learning curve he and I have been on as we began the our small farm.

A pet, is defined as a domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship. Well,  our goats live in a pen or pasture outdoors, we provide for all of their needs and we decided that they are to be treated as a farm animal. According to the online Free Dictionary, a farm animal is any animal kept for profit or use. In fact, the accompanying graphic shows a goat.

We hope to sell their milk, products made from their milk and offspring.

So as my dear farm guy sat with our frightened doe in the waiting room surrounded by large, snorting, drooling pigs on leashes someone else called their pet, he replied, “she’s a farm animal.” The vet suggested that her limp was the result of a strain or simple injury, recommended against intervening and suggested that she would baby it till healed.

Crisis averted. No lame Herd Queen. Phew! So as we proceed with our farming venture, it will be observed that some decisions we make in regards to the health and wellness of our livestock might not mesh with how others treat their animals. I think it might boil down to how they view their farm animals.  Is it a pet or a farm animal? Prior to going this route you have to decide or you can quickly find yourself down the rabbit hole of costly treatments. Yes, Sushi could have received injections in her joint to relieve pain for multiple days. She also could reinjure herself or worsen the condition by not feeling the injury and going about her daily goat activities of frolicking, jumping and head-butting.   As it was, she spent 3 quiet days watching from the sidelines, basking in the afternoon sun in her favorite spot and enjoying extra ear scratches from all of us.

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Jim King ()

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