We finally had 5 turkey poults hatch out yesterday only to lose 4 of them to a damn raccoon last night. I was so psyched to post about the success today and even got some photos last evening. There was no sign of the rest of the babies, but there was the unmistakable sign of coon scat. Grrrrrrrr.
We lost our first goat this spring as well. Poor little Cocoa, on top of the truck cap in the photo, was down one morning when Jim went out to feed everyone. Her pupils were fixed and dilated and she was having convulsions. I was positive she'd been poisoned somehow, because it was so sudden, but I just couldn't figure out how. I scoured the area they'd been and couldn't find any sign of diarrhea or vomiting, which would've been likely with some of the known problem plants. But nothing, and this was fast.
The other day, I think I found my answer in the potato patch. Loco jimsonweed. I could be wrong, but the symptoms certainly fit. Goats are usually really good about not eating things that are poisonous to them as long as they have plenty of other browse and grass. I'm not sure how or why she ate it, as they'd been rotated to a fresh paddock. It was young when she ate it, but she was tiny, so it wouldn't have taken much.
I don't think I would have identified it without the telltale flower, and the plants in the pasture never mature enough to flower before being mowed. I knew we had some horse nettle and some other nightshade, which is what I thought this was, I'm sure, but there's a distinct difference in the flower. After doing some research, I found that supposedly the drought we had a couple years back brought this plant back into prominence regionally. One more weed id under my belt, but at what a cost.
At any rate, losing animals is the down side of farming, and I really hate this part.