Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How 'not' to sell a goat....

Or more aptly, lessons learned when dealing with people who cannot be taught, no matter how you try. You goat folks know the kind- give them all the information they require and then they still will not listen to your advice, then blame you when something goes wrong.

A few years ago, I got a call from someone who had been refered to me by another person who had a few goats they had purchased from me. These Christian folks were already goat owners and were milking the does they did have. I told the lady that I had two or three milk does they may be interested in, but needed to come look to inspect the does before they chose one for purchase- this entails milking the does, looking at the feet, eyes, checking for illness, running your hands over them to get their feel, their flatness of bone and dairy character, etc.

After all, my goal is to make sure that you get the doe 'you' want, not the doe 'I' think you want.

The lady said 'oh no, we can't come look because my father is very ill, could you please pick one out for us.' I asked several pertinant questions such as how are the goats housed, how do you treat them if they are ill, and most especially, what do you feed them (they were feeding oats). I made sure to say that this doe needs to get fed this much a day so she can sustain herself and the kid, and give you some milk too. She seemed to have good answers, so I said I'll do this to help you.

So I picked out a yearling first freshener and her little wether kid. Mind you, this was a family milker doe, not a high dollar animal. We agreed to a meeting place for delivery and I went over all the information with her again, even written down- all feed numbers, etc.- to make sure she was up to speed on how I cared for my animals, so she could make sure the doe transitioned into her herd as easily as possible. All seemed fine as I left.

Two weeks later, I got a call from the father who told me that 'this doe is sick, she has cancer and it's your fault- you sold me a sick doe. She won't give any milk and her gut stinks'. (I'm getting whiff of a seriously dysfunctional family here.)

So, I asked again, what are you feeding her- are you feeding her the feed I told you I fed my does? (No, we are feeding her oats.)Are you feeding her away from the other goats? (No, everyone gets fed together. [goats chase the weakest of the herd away from feed- like little Jimmy Schwartz at school getting his head put in a toilet by bullies]) How about her hay- goats need dry, well kept hay? (The big bale is in the middle of the pen and she can go get it if she wants it.)

Essentially, these folks did not listen to one word I repeatedly had said and then blamed me for their management problems! They agreed to give it one more week and promised to do what I had said.

Forward one week- I get another call- 'This goat is sick! You sold us a sick goat!' So I make an arrangement pick the goat up while also being told 'no, no, no...' over and over again- 'it is not our problem, it is yours!' (The excrement meter pegged all the way over with this one.)

When I picked up that poor little doe, she had lost about 15 lbs.- which is very precious weight for a yearling who is nursing a kid. I took a sample of her urine in front of the lady and luckily, she was not into ketosis from being starved, at least not yet.

I also took pictures of the doe and how emaciated she was- she was a body score on maybe 1 1/2- when she left my place, she was about score of at least 2 1/2, which is not bad for a first freshener just settling in to a lactation and nursing a kid. The doe had no mammary tissue so she could not even make milk for her kid! I fed her as much hay as she wanted- which was a lot, she ate for several hours- and the next day when my vet got here for the annual visit, he checked the doe out and pronounced her healthy, but very underweight.

I never heard from those folks again, who were certainly not the Christian people they presented themselves to be, and I still hear their voices raised in abject denial that they were indeed responsible for the condition of that doe by not listening to nor following my detailed written instructions, and by refusing to hear any portion of the goat management wisdom being given to them. "It's not our fault, it's YOUR fault!'

The doe was re-homed about 6 weeks later when she had gained back the weight and was able to feed her kid. Margarita Rosita went to a wonderful Dr. that worked for 'Dr's Without borders', who was also a pastor. I hope she has a happy and productive life with her new family.

1 comment:

Rosie said...

Yeah, people can be stupid.

I've never really had a problem with your girls that I have...even transitioning them from your management to mine. Anything that's happened with my new goats ...from you or elsewhere...I've been able to figure out. It's usually the damn rhododendron poisoning everyone goes through when they get here.

Don't know if Beaky is going to make it. I've got him on penG, pepto, vit. B complex and gave him a banamine shot yesterday. Wormed him...and am giving subQ fluids. He's still eating/drinking and responsive but is a rack of bones and still scouring. Not sure what's wrong with him. Leonard is the picture of health and he eats the same stuff. Hoping it is worms and he'll stop scouring as soon as the worm load is taken care of.

But he's one sick goat. His hooves are shoeing a bit...his dam had laminitis and I'm wondering if the new grass is part of the problem.