From Ready Nutrition:

If you’ve already read, So, You Want a Goat? Here Are the Challenges You’ll Face, you already know that Stella, our herd queen, is no shrinking violet.  She rules over her herd with a no-nonsense approach that maintains order through ever watchful diligence and by quashing uprisings and disputes before they get a chance to escalate.  Stella is so firmly established as the Law within the herd that she rarely has to become physical.

Stella is always first up in the morning, first out to browse, first to the gate and first to the goodies.  She leads the herd wherever we want them to go and they follow her obediently.  Within the herd, she’s a force to be reckoned with.  She’s everything we could hope for in a queen that must rule over a pastured herd.

We have gotten to know Stella and her winning personality and come to expect certain things from her. It was because of this indomitable spirit that we realized something wasn’t right with Stella.

It started a few weeks ago one evening as we called the herd in.  There was Stella, as usual, leading the way, but she seemed a little off- nothing we could put on finger on – just a sort of malaise.  She wasn’t as loud or as brassy.  She almost seemed quiet.  Her step wasn’t as quick and it seemed like she was struggling a little to stay in the lead.  The other goats were gaining on her as they all came up the hill and Stella seemed aware that she was losing the comfortable lead she normally has between her and the rest of the goats to be first in line for treats.  We watched her for a few minutes after we had them in the shelter, but nothing seemed amiss, so we shrugged it off and went home for the evening.

The next morning when we showed up to let the goats out to forage, she seemed perfectly like Stella.  She headed out to forage down the hill with the same confidence and speed we were used to seeing in her.  But again, come evening, something was wrong.  The next morning would be uneventful as the last, but by evening, we knew something wasn’t right.  Stella had slowed down considerably.  She didn’t want to walk up the mountain to the pen and seemed very distressed that she was falling behind the rest of the herd.  About two-thirds up the hill, she stopped completely.  She stood rooted to her spot and calling out to us.

We hiked down the mountain to see what was wrong with her.  We checked her feet, her eyelids, ran our hands over her body trying to find tender or swollen spots, and even flexed her limbs looking for a sprain.  We looked around to see if there was a hidden danger like a snake or a predator hiding in the brush or trees.  Everything checked out fine and we were flummoxed.  Unable to find anything wrong, we…

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