The Return of Gertie and Wiki


So yesterday we picked up Gertrude and Wiki from a local goat rescue.  We had sold them as kids in 2007 but apparently have since been badly neglected.  Their health, maintenance and nutritional needs were not met, and animal control and the rescue got involved.  I saw photos of them on the rescue’s facebook page and recognized Wiki.  The rescue’s owner was kind enough to let us take them back.  She had already trimmed years’ worth of hoof overgrowth and treated their extensive lice.  They are still have some trouble walking and have open sores and missing hair but are on the road to recovery.  They are understandably quite fearful, especially Wiki, but hopefully will settle down soon.  I am not sure if they will recognize us or not, but at least they will have a good home.  Sadly, the third goat kid we sold them, Little Queenie, had died.

wikiThe next issue is that the “farm” that had these goats still has sheep that are also neglected, including three that I sold them.  These sheep are all pictured as lambs in our blog’s banner.  I am desperately trying to get these sheep back as well, working with animal control and 2 rescue groups.  They apparently have not been sheared in years and presumably have the same hoof and nutritional issues.  Wish us luck trying to get these sheep better homes before any more die.

This all brings a very sick feeling to me and to Tom.  We love animals and try very hard to take good care of them.  To have animals that we brought forth into the world and carefully raised suffer neglect like this is hard to stomach.  So, because we obviously cannot tell good home from bad ones, we are going to quit breeding animals for sale.  This will be a financial hit for us as the majority of our farm income is from these sales, but we will try to offset the difference by increasing our sales of our other products, including meat.  We will also stop providing breeding services (another financial hit).  Unfortunately we already bred last fall and do not have the space to keep these lambs and kids so one more time we will try to find them good homes.  I am considering having a signed contract from the buyers.  We will wether our bucks and let our rams retire.  We have had enough.


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24 Responses to The Return of Gertie and Wiki

  1. Michelle says:

    I understand completely; that is why I still have wethers and non-breeders here and didn’t breed last fall. I’m not willing to send them to market and am very picky about the homes I will sell to – and there’s only so many of those….

    • Donna says:

      Thanks for understanding our predicament Michelle. I feel like a bad farmer. But I have to be able to live with myself and look at my animals in their eyes.

  2. Tammy says:

    Oh Donna,
    I’m so sorry. I have had enough too. I try and keep track of the lambies I’ve sold, but some you just never really know and I always fear this could happen. People can tell you anything then turn around a week later and have completely changed. I only bred a few last year and none this year, and this is really the major reason—it’s so heartbreaking. You are NOT bad farmers, the people who bought your animals are the bad people—you are trying your hardest to right a wrong, and I pray you can get the sheep out too. Again, so very sorry. It’s awful and I’m so sad for you and the critters–at least now the little goats (and hopefully the sheep soon too) will have a decent life.


    • Donna says:

      Thanks Tammy! You are very kind and obviously understand my feelings. I hope the goats and, if we can get them, the sheep will have a better rest of their lives.

  3. Sharrie Brockhaus says:

    This is an unbelievably bad story. So sorry you are so involved in this predicament. Hoping you can get the sheep out and care for everyone. Another example of the sad state of the human race.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Sharrie! I have not even mentioned the worst of it. I do not want to jeopardize our attempts to get the sheep. I am really disappointed by people right now (not you, of course).

  4. mcfwriter says:

    I’m so sorry, Donna. I know you and Tom do the best by your animals (witness the fact that you retrieved them from rescue – not everyone would even recognize their own stock on a rescue site (or be looking!), never mind go and get them back). I purposely didn’t breed this year as I didn’t know what I’d do with what would surely be surplus; not having any kind of “line” or reputation within the sheep world, it would likely be the Craigslist crapshoot for anything produced. Heck, it’s how I got my two ewes, from a woman who’d purchased them from the farmer/breeder but had had them only two or three months before she decided sheep weren’t for her. I feel lucky to have found them (and knowing how rarely I see Shetlands on Craigslist, can only think it was meant) but also cringe to think that they could have gone anywhere. (And not to knock Craigslist – I’ve met some very nice people via the farm and garden and pets categories, and gotten a great dog I adore and of course two wonderful Shetland sheep.) Good luck getting the rest of the stock out of there – let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Maureen. Your sheep are lucky. I am told my and the other sheep might go to auction if we cannot get them. Let me know if you would like one or more Jacob or Navajo-Churro ewes.

  5. Holly says:

    Hugs. I’m just glad there are such kind/ethical animal people in the world such as you. I agree with the signed contract. I was assured that a horse I sold would come back to me (buyback) if there were ever any issues. Luckily, an ethical dealer got him at auction a couple of years down the road, knew what he had (he was in … ok shape), and called me (last registered owner on the papers). He wound up in a good place as police horse!. Still. My mother’s Dr. (Spinal surgeon – I don’t know how they got on the topic) and she were talking about my cat that died last summer after a sudden decline (probable lymphoma). This was after spending a lot of money on her on a tight budget. Dr. said, “But she (cat) trusted her (me)”. And that says it all for me. Eli trusted me to take care of her, and trusted me in to make her not hurt. That trust is an incredible gift that I hold precious. Go and skritch your animals and breathe.

    • Donna says:

      Wow Holly, thanks! These animals trusted me, and I failed them. I know I cannot make it right, but at least I can help. I have been skritching Gertie a lot (cannot get close to Wiki yet) but do probably need to breathe.

  6. Krista M says:

    Sorry to hear about Wiki and Gertrude but happy you found them. I saw Ellens post last night that 2 goats had gone back to their breeder’s home, didn’t know it was you.
    I had a similar situation happen this last year. Sold 2 wethers to a friend(so I thought), actually the husband and the daughter(my daughter’s friend) wanted them. I had to beg them to pick them up, as it was costing me to feed them. Well, come November, I saw them on Craigslist. I was so mad, moreso knowing that the daughter had called here the night before asking my daughter what kind of goats they were(I was on my way out the door when that call came in or I would have probably questioned it further). I figured she was just asking, as she had forgotten. Little did I know it was because they were listing them for sale. They didn’t deserve to be there to begin with, now we know. We tried to buy them back, but they said they were sold. Now I have to live with that, and like you, know that I fear where my kids are going when they leave here. Most go to good homes, some have become great 4H showring goats, and a few, I haven’t heard a word. I am going to put in the purchase sale agreement that breeder should have first right of refusal on any sale. This family’s response was, “Well, I didn’t think you wanted them back because you were in such a rush to get them out of there.” Well, yes, at 12+ weeks old, and I am still feeding and caretaking, it does become an issue. They chose them at 3-4 weeks and had more than enought time to prepare for them. They shouldn’t have ever had them, not farm people, never will be, and I sure wish I knew where my boys went. We miss them, and prey they did go to a good home and don’t end up like Wiki and Gertrude.

  7. Donna says:

    I am sorry you had a bad experience. A contract might have helped your situation. I hope they are OK. Maybe you could take out a Craigslist ad, just that you want to hear what happened to them. Maybe you’ll get a response. I do watch Ellen’s page to see if any ND goats show up there. It was worth the effort.

  8. sheepsclothing says:

    poor critters. so sorry to hear about the situation the goats and sheep ended up in . that is very disheartening. It’s amazing that you found them again through the rescue. I’m sure they will both be very receptive of scritches once they fully have time to relax and feel safe and cared for again.
    I can completely understand why this would make you not want to breed for sale anymore. Its got to be really hard to know who is going to provide a good home.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Denise! It is disheartening and one of my biggest fears. Now I am worrying about the sheep. One is a sister to Diddley. I really need to get them out of there. But then there are homes like yours and the ones above that warm my heart. I wish they could all be like that.

  9. Mary Ann says:

    I just found your blog through Michelle’s at Boulderneigh. When my husband and I moved to the country, we bought an older stallion and two mares, all mini horses of good breeding, registered. Then our vet sat us down and talked reality to us. In short order, we returned the stallion and one mare… free of charge, to the former owners… because we realized that we were not cut out to breed backyard animals and never know where they were going. I am sorry you are taking a financial hit on this, but you have proof that no matter how nice someone seems for the short time you meet them, you really don’t know where your animals are headed once they leave you. “Real” farmers don’t mind this… production is their goal… and they forget the animal once it has gone on… but people with heart always carry their animals within it, and you have heart.

    I think your post was wonderful, and your sacrifice the same.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Mary Ann! You are very kind. I just wish I had figured this out sooner like you guys did and my goats and sheep did not have to suffer.

  10. thecrazysheeplady says:

    I’m glad you were able to rescue them and hoping for good news on the rest. That’s why we don’t breed here either. Grrrrrr :-/

  11. Beth Forbes-Smith says:

    This is so sad. We have a deposit placed for two ewe lambs from this spring, and would be happy to sign a contract concerning them, Also want to reassure you that we will provide a good home for them, but it makes me angry that those who neglect their animals make it harder for those like us to get good stock to start with. Hope you can get your sheep back. Please keep us in mind if you need to place some of your flock. We will be moving in mid-March and will have pasture and fencing ready by the end of the month, so could take one or two additional adults or whatever then.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Beth! I don’t think we need to have you sign a contract. Just let us know if things are not working out with the sheep. I do not know if you have any interest in some wild and woolly Navajo-Churro or Jacob ewes. If we can get them out of their situation they will need good homes.

  12. Jackie Craw says:

    Donna, I am so sorry about what happened. That would do me in too! If I had to be an animal, I’d want to be one of yours! Fortunately, the few lambs I DID sell 2 years ago went to wonderful homes, and I keep in touch with the new owners. When i had to disperse my flock this last fall, I worried a lot about what would happen to them when they left our place (thank you, thank you for taking Madison!!). I try not to think about it now, and have to trust they are being treated well. I would feel horrible if I found out what you did. You are an amazing animal owner, and Tom too!

    Update on us: I am renting a barn in Chelan for the 3 sheep (my Reagan, your George, plus Madison’s first ewe lamb, plus another ewe), 2 llamas, 17 chickens. Unfortunately, the old farmhouse with it is under renovation so we have to rent another house 20 minutes away, but can have the 3 dogs, 5 cats there. the landlord LOVES animals. I have bought some acreage (8) 15 minutes away from Chelan, up a mountain. We are going to have a house built this spring/summer. there is a structure on the property that I can use for a barn. The property is on a county road that is snowploughed in winter, we won’t HAVE to snowmobile to get there and has electricity and garbage pickup! I’m not sure if I will breed sheep again. I would love to because I enjoy the lambs so much, but realistically, the kids are about 2 years or less from going away to college so I would be doing everything by myself, with a bad back. I will just have to see. knowing me, I would probably be too attached to sell the lambs.

    I hope you can get the sheep back from that place, I know they will be well cared for if they go to you guys.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jackie for the nice compliments. It helps. I hope we will have some attrition before we get to the point we have to disperse them. It is a worry of mine too. Thanks for the update. I, of course, am thrilled to hear about the plowed road and utility services! It will be nice to have you, your kids and your animals in your own place again.

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