Goats, Livestock, Rabbits, Urban Homesteading and Self-Reliance

Drawing Blood and Checking Bunnies

Today was a busy day for the livestock at Half-Pint Homestead.  For marketing reasons, I decided to test Hush, Mocha, and Midnight for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE).  CAE is a viral infection that can manifest in multiple ways, but generally shows up as arthritis in the knees.  This disease has had a lot of publicity in the goat community and there is a lot of emphasis placed on CAE tested herds, especially with registered animals.  Personally, I feel that rather than trying to eradicate a disease that has doubtlessly been around for as long as goats have is probably impossible.  It seems to me a better plan to try to breed resistant animals.  Still, I can charge significantly more for an animal that has tested negative on this $6 test, so I drew blood today to send to a lab.

I haven’t drawn blood for a long time, so it was a bit of a challenge.  I was hoping I wouldn’t have to get the clippers out, but the goats were just too furry to see the vein.  Out came the clippers.  Tony offered to help hold the goats, but he had some errands to run so I went ahead and did it on my own.  This took a little juggling, but isn’t as hard as you’d think.  Straddle the animal  and back her up against the fence.  This will keep them from backing out of your hold.  I’m right handed, so I tuck her head under my right elbow.  Then I press my left thumb into her neck where the artery runs.  It quickly bulges out.  With my right hand I slide the needle into vein almost horizontal to her neck.  Once the blood begins to flow, I push the vacuum tube onto the needle and let it fill with blood.

I also gave the new bunnies a really good examination today.  I check for any deformities, that they have full bellies, and no injuries or navel infections.  During my examination, I realized that some of the kits don’t look like full Champagne d’Argents.  They are black on top, but have bright pink bellies.  This leads me to believe that they might have white bellies when their hair comes in.  I’m very interested to see how they color up as they mature.  There are a couple of kits that are a little smaller than the rest, but they all seem healthy and well fed.

So with the blood on it’s way to the lab and seven healthy kits in the nestbox, I can sit back and enjoy a hot cup of tea and thank God for my beautiful life.

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