This week we celebrate Heidi and Adeleide, our two rescued SPCA goats whose quiet arrival at the Lewis Oliver Farm more than two years ago has turned out to be anything but!
Despite the chaos and disruption that ensued after their arrival, we simply couldn’t imagine life without them. Just like all of our animals, they bring their own special light of joy to the farm which we look forward to and appreciate each and every day.
Heidi and Adeleide, along with several horses and other goats, were seized by the SPCA from a farm on eastern Long Island due to neglect and poor living conditions. When they first arrived here at the Lewis Oliver Farm, they were two shy and skinny goats who nervously clung to each other as they explored their strange, new surroundings.
We were intrigued by their human-like, expressive faces which seemed to hold a perpetual grin and by their nearly non-existent ears; both nods toward their Lamancha lines.
Heidi and Adeleide arrived at the farm in March of 2010 and as the first couple of months went by, we were pleased to see them slowly coming out of their shells and steadily gaining some much needed weight. But when the weight seemed to keep coming to the point where their bodies began to resemble barrels and when their udders became suspiciously swollen, it became clear that both girls were not merely filling out from the hay and veggies they received each day, rather, they were both pregnant and went on to give birth that August just days apart to a total of FOUR baby goats.
A Whole Lotta Goats!
Adeleide was first to deliver giving birth to brothers Big and Blaze. Due to a virus that affected her udder, she was unable to nurse her babies which meant we had to bottle feed Big and Blaze around the clock until they were about three months old.
Three days later, Heidi gave birth to Oreo and Swan, the only female baby born. Luckily, Heidi had a healthy pregnancy and birth and was able to feed her babies on her own.
In the days following Big and Blaze’s birth, Adeleide’s udders got increasingly worse. They were severly engorged to the point that she had difficulty getting up and she was at serious risk of infection. She needed help and at the time, the only goat specialist we knew of was a veterinarian located on the eastern end of Long Island who didn’t make barn calls to our neck of the woods. The only way he would be willing to examine Adeleide was if we were to bring her out to his medical center.
Adeleide, with her enormously swollen udders was a pathetic sight to see and clearly needed the proper medical attention to bring her back to health. Thanks to Wanda, one of our dedicated (and brave!) volunteers who loaded Adeleide and both of her babies into the back of her Subaru to drive them out east to the goat specialist, Adeleide received the treatment she needed and made a full recovery.
We’ll never forget seeing that car full of goats roll out of our parking lot and toward the open road ahead. In fact, later that same year, Wanda submitted a picture to Subaru which showed her sitting behind the wheel with a grinning Adeleide peering over her shoulder from the back seat. The picture wound up getting posted on Subaru’s website.
Bet you didn’t know we had a celebrity goat-spokesmodel among us?
From Shy Wallflowers to Rambling Roses
Adeleide and Heidi have come a long way in the last two years. While Heidi is still on the shy side, she is by far one of the sweetest goats we’ve ever met. Interestingly, her own two babies seem to have taught her to be more trusting of humans and we continue to see her opening up a little more each day.
Last week, Heidi unfortunately came down with a painful urinary tract infection which landed her in solitary confinement for the week where we have been giving her 2x/daily injections of antibiotics. This unfortunate circumstance has allowed us to spend some quality one-on-one time with her and as a result she has come to trust us even more. She seems to enjoy the close contact and now allows us to brush and pet her for long periods of time whereas before she would nervously back away after just a few strokes. During this time, we have also learned that Heidi loves to nuzzle us with her nose and give puppy kisses!
Adeleide is generally more confident and outgoing than Heidi which is evident during feeding time and in her overall behavior toward us. However, when it comes to hoof trims or vet visits, she cowers and shakes like a leaf unlike anything we’ve ever seen from the other animals. It’s sad to think this fearful behavior might stem from her past experiences with humans.
As different as their personalities may be, one thing’s for sure, both Adeleide and Heidi are AMAZING mothers. No matter how wild the barnyard can get with the boundless energies and crazy antics of six goats, when the dust settles, we will always find them peacefully grouped in their family units. Heidi with Oreo and Swan. Adeleide with Big and Blaze. Their quiet contentment as they lie next to each other with their necks entwined, is one of the most heart-warming sights to see.
Now that you know the family dynamics of the Lewis Oliver Farm goats, take a look for yourself the next time you visit and you will see the special bonds of love that surround us.