Bottlefed baby goats dilemma, need help pleasegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Dairygoats : One Thread
I have been bottlefeeding two baby goats for a week (posted below about that). Now my friend who gave me the goats to bottlefeed has a mother goat (angora) whose babies died. I took my babies down there yesterday, and the mother really likes them. The babies (of course) don't know how to nurse. They are used to the bottle. Yesterday we just held th mother still and worked with the babies to get them to suck. They did a little, but still wanted their bottle.
I brought the mother home with me, hoping to have her "adopt" them. Today, they seem to be getting the idea of nursing, but now there is another problem. The mother does not want them sucking on her! She acts like it is hurting her, she tries to run away and kick them. I have her tied and am holding her still while they are trying to nurse. She also does not seem to have enough milk. One side seems to have some (or maybe is just swollen??), and the other side looks empty. She has her regular feed, a 5-gallon bucket full of water. I even gave her some alfalfa hay this morning.
Should I continue to force her to let them nurse (when she obviously doesn't want to) hoping that it will make her milk production increase if they keep nursing? Should I leave her alone and bottlefeed them? Should I try to milk her instead of letting them nurse and just feed them her milk in the bottle?
Again, she loves the babies and is very protective of them, I just think them trying to nurse is hurting her.
Please tell me what to do!
-- Tracey in Alabama (email@example.com), March 28, 2002
First, I'd milk her out to see if she is actually producing enough milk. If she's bagged up from not being milked, she'll be uncomfortable and nursing might be painful at the start. Save the milk and bottle feed the kids. If she isn't producing enough you'll need to supplement. She should produce more as her lactation progresses. Many goats produce more on one side than the other. If you can ascertain she is producing enough, get her milked down to where her udder is not uncomfortable during nursing, she should accept the kids when she can detect her own "smell" comming out in their berries.
-- Dennis (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 2002.
How long ago did the angora doe's kids die? These kids are probably not hurting her when they nurse, she just hasn't accepted them 100% yet. You will have to put her in a milking stand and make her nurse the kids at least twice a day, more often would be better and facilitate faster acceptace of the kids. It could be that she has had mastitis, resulting in a lopsided udder, or that her dead kids nursed only on one side. I am amazed that you were able to get bottle kids to nurse on a doe. This is something I've never been able to do, unless the kids had nursed on a dam before. My personal opinion is that the kids would be happier with a mother; my bottle kids have always spent a lot of time crying for me longingly (makes me feel very guilty).You may have to supplement with extra milk even after the doe accepts them.
-- Rebekah (email@example.com), March 30, 2002.