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The One with No Mother

Jan
19

Monday evening, Sprite, who’d been behaving normally all day, was standing in the middle of the goat yard making “I’m in pain” noises. We ran down there and could see she was in labor. We moved her quickly to the goat house maternity ward. She went to the corner and stood and cried a little bit. She finally sat down and we watched as the baby came out. It’s so amazing, every time.

But then–

Sprite walked away.

The baby flopped and mewed for its mother.

Sprite went to the opposite corner and wouldn’t even look upon what had sprung from her flowered loins. Whatever it was, she didn’t want it. I turned her around. She turned back. I turned her back around and pushed her a little toward the flopping, mewing thing. She climbed up onto the table in the goat house to get away.

The baby struggled to its feet, still covered in goop. Sprite wouldn’t clean it.

I thought–maybe she’s having another baby. Maybe she’s busy.

But when we found Fanta the night before, she had just had her second baby. It was still covered in goop and she was cleaning it. The first baby was already on its feet and obviously cleaned off and fluffy. Fanta didn’t wait till she had the second one to clean off the first one.

Sprite wouldn’t even look at this baby, much less go near it. I made her move down off the table. The baby half-walked, half-flopped toward her, crying. Sprite climbed back up on the table.

Afraid it would get chilled as the minutes ticked by, we got a towel and dried the baby off as best we could without, you know, licking it. The other babies came around, nuzzled it and talked to it. Sprite drank some water and ate some hay. And wouldn’t look at her baby. She ran away every time it wobbled up to her. It was one of the strangest, most unnatural things I’ve ever seen.

We put the baby under Fanta, who was still only 24 hours from delivering her twins and would still have colostrum in her milk, and let it suck on her. She was busy eating hay and she has two babies so she wasn’t paying attention to who was sucking on her. And that baby wanted a mommy so badly.

It was drizzling and, luckily, not a very cold night, but there was still snow on the ground. If Sprite had given birth just a little bit later, we would have gone to bed. She would have had the baby in the snow in the middle of the goat yard–and she would have walked away and left it there.

Eventually, when she never showed any sign of delivering a second one, I went inside and found the little goat milk pail. We held her down and I milked some colostrum out of her. Then I thought–why not try the baby? I put the baby under her. We had to hold her. She didn’t want the baby anywhere near her. We let the baby nurse a good long time to get colostrum. I took the colostrum I’d milked out of her into the pail inside the house to store. We stayed with the baby in the goat house for a long time before leaving it for the night to snuggle in with Nutmeg, Fanta and their babies in the dog house inside the goat house. (Sprite won’t go in the dog house with them. She doesn’t want to be anywhere near any of the babies. Especially her own.) Fortunately for this baby, it has three little goat buddies. And two other mommies.

Well, maybe just one other mommy.

Nutmeg: “I’m having nothing to do with this. I have my own baby.”

Fanta: “How many babies did I have????”

Sprite: “What baby?”

The “new” babies–Fanta’s two and Sprite’s one–are baffled and new to the world. They reach their little mouths to any mommy who passes by. Sprite runs from them all. Fanta feeds them all–when she’s not paying attention. She knows that other one isn’t hers. Yesterday, throughout the day, I went down to the goat house repeatedly, backed Sprite into a corner, held onto her with all my might to stop her from running away, and let the baby suck. It needs all the colostrum it can get within the first 24 hours of birth, and especially within the first 12. (If you have goats, see this article about colostrum replacements, substitutes, and “borrowed” colostrum from outside your farm.)

By yesterday afternoon, I was introducing a bottle of Sprite’s colostrum to the baby to get it used to the idea, along with continuing to hold Sprite down to nurse directly.

Baby: “Are you my mother?”

Sprite continued to run away unless she was held in place.

Because it causes her stress to force her to nurse him, I won’t continue to do that. Last night was the 24 hour point for the colostrum intake. We’ll probably let Sprite out of the goat house today–she wants out very badly. She wants as far away from that baby as she can get. The baby continues to nurse sporadically on Fanta–when Fanta’s not looking–and has also taken eagerly to the bottle. I’m going to dry off Sprite. I have two goat mothers that can be milked, and I always have milk from BP.

It’s cute when there are three little tails wiggling back and forth under Fanta.

It’s a boy. A seriously cute little stinker of a boy who was born as big as Dr. Pepper is at a week old.

He’s black with a tuft of white on top of his head and at the end of his tail, and also patches of white on both sides.

We’ve got a bottle baby.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 19, 2011  

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  1. 1-19
    1:53
    am

    He is a very very cute baby. That is a pretty sad story, but I bet it will be kind of fun to feed him all the time! Weird how Sprite wants nothing to do with him. Poor Sprite. And poor baby.

  2. 1-19
    2:13
    am

    Usually when that happens, there is something wrong with either the baby or the mother. Something off about the smell of the kid, or perhaps the mother has something going on internally (worms were usually suspect when this happened to goats in my herd. Or mineral/vitamin deficiency) that causes her to reject the kid for reasons of survival.

    He is very very cute. Keep an eye on him if you decide to leave him with the other does and kids. The ‘orphans’ tend to get picked on by the mothers eventually. Maybe no violent, but little things like being shoved away from warm bodies, and not being allowed to nibble at hay provided. Not their fault. They’re just looking out for their own kids.

  3. 1-19
    2:18
    am

    Oh that poor little guy, he’s probably so confused. I wonder why Sprite doesn’t want to have anything to do with him…has she had kids before?

    It’s too bad you’ll have to go through the extra work of bottle-feeding him, and too bad his mama won’t care for him, but at least for his sake he’s in a good home. :)

  4. 1-19
    2:27
    am

    Geez this is sad. Not only for the kid, but also for Fanta. More work for you, too. And, I’ll wager, a bit of worry added to the work, wondering just why Fanta rejected the baby and if the baby has something he might pass to the other kids. In the long run he’s a lucky kid that you were around, that you know about the importance of colostrum, and that you are the marvelously caring person you are.

  5. 1-19
    2:31
    am

    A couple other blogs I follow (AFTER I read yours, though!) have also told stories of bottle babies and diapered lambs and kids. Isn’t that something for Morgan to take charge of?

  6. 1-19
    2:41
    am

    WOW I didn’t know this could happen.
    I am so glad you were there and you are learning what to do!
    Happy baby goat days!

  7. 1-19
    4:59
    am

    Nature can appear to be so cruel at times. I’m so pleased for that sweet little one that you were so vigilant and spotted Sprite in labour.
    I’ll be thinking of you and the little one over the next weeks, and hoping that all goes well. (It’s good that you can feed milk from Clover and Fanta)…Poor Sprite must seem very confused too – give ‘em all a hug from me! :heart:

  8. 1-19
    5:23
    am

    What a shame :cry: Hope it works out for the baby – bottle feeding a wee baby like that is quite a lot of work. I have done it before with goats and lambs, very time consuming but they are very cute!

  9. 1-19
    5:30
    am

    What in nature makes them abandon a baby? Will the little boy be ok?

  10. 1-19
    5:40
    am

    Oh he’s such a sweetie with his little white splotches. Call him Guiness? Please??! And a big hug from me. :hug:

  11. 1-19
    6:10
    am

    That’s sad. Wonder why Sprite would act like that….but you know there are many humans that won’t have anything to do with their babies. I guess it happens a whole lot less often in the animal world than in humans. :cry: I hope the little one will be ok. He is the most adorable thing.

  12. 1-19
    6:12
    am

    Congrats!! He is so sweet. Funny how some animals are.

  13. 1-19
    6:17
    am

    Aww poor baby. He is adorable.
    So now you get to bottle raise a goat baby :D

    Is he going to be staying around or will he have to be rehomed eventually?

  14. 1-19
    6:19
    am

    Cute babies! In case you’re running low on soft drink names, there’s a company down here in NC that bottles drinks under the name Shasta — I think that would make a good goat name! Also from NC, are Sundrop and Cheerwine.

  15. 1-19
    6:28
    am

    I’ve read about animals that abandon their babies after birth. It’s too bad this happened to the little one. Maybe Sprite is one of those who does not like motherhood.

  16. 1-19
    6:44
    am

    I’m glad the little buckling is doing well. Looks like you have a bottle baby unless one of your other ‘moms’ will adopt him! He’ll do just fine as a bottle baby – lots of work initially – but he’ll make an adorable pet! I would not breed Sprite again. Sometimes you can smear a bit of blackstrap molasses on the baby and mom will lick it off and they’ll bond. I’m not sure that would have worked with Sprite. Thank goodness you had ‘reserved’ colostrum and goat milk to spare! Best wishes! BTW, an excellent goat site/resource is fiasco farm!

  17. 1-19
    6:49
    am

    I’m sure you will act on what Kristine (second comment) wrote. Very interesting. Were this the human world, this is one kid who would have been dropped off at the fire department.

    Let us know if you find that something was physically wrong.

  18. 1-19
    6:51
    am

    I’m always amazed that the things that happen on a farm that you haven’t necessarily scheduled time for. You didn’t get out of bed that day thinking, “how will I get goat collustrum?”. Did you?

  19. 1-19
    7:05
    am

    Aww that is such a sad story but he is so cute. I hope everything works out.

  20. 1-19
    7:11
    am

    Sorry to hear that Sprite isn’t thrilled with motherhood. On the other hand, you’ll have a sweet baby to cuddle. I’m so thankful you were there to save her kid. I guess sometimes Moms’ reject them for whatever reason. He’s a beautiful baby. Congratulations!

  21. 1-19
    7:12
    am

    The animal world is a cruel place sometimes. So lucky she had it before you all went to bed. A bottle baby, in the middle of winter with all those nursing mothers is irony at it’s finest! He’s got the best Mommy though…her name is Suzanne!

  22. 1-19
    7:28
    am

    Awww…poor baby. He’s a cutie, too. Maybe Fanta will eventually just adopt him forever.

    Glad h has you to take care of him.

    @Nancy in Iowa — remember Casper? It may not be a good idea ;)

  23. 1-19
    7:42
    am

    Great job getting there in time to help your new little “bottle cap”, as you like to call them! He is a darling.

    On the plus side, since Fanta seems to allow him to nurse, soon he will start to smell like her, if he gets enough of her milk, and she might even take him in as her own. Best to continue supplementing with the bottle, though, since she already has two of her own little ones to feed, and as they get bigger, they will really drink her dry!

    And, why not keep Sprite in milk? You could milk her while the others are still nursing their kids!

  24. 1-19
    7:47
    am

    Cute baby!
    This happens sometimes. Sometimes it is first timers that do this and then go on to be good mothers with the next kids. And then again some females just aren’t mother material and never think it is a good idea.
    Good that you held momma for the first 24 hours. I had one doe that it took three days for her to decide to except the kid. She went on to be a very good mother to the rest of the kids she has had over the years.
    Bottle babies are charming. Makes for a wonderful pet usually.
    Good luck.

  25. 1-19
    7:52
    am

    One of my girl gave birth to triplets last January and she decided that she was only going to feed 2 of them.
    He would sneak sip form the other nursing doe and 2-3 times a day I would put his mom on the milking stand and feed her while he nursed to his hearts content.
    It just tore my heart out that a mother could reject her own baby. She would even walk by him in the yard and toss him with her horns. (I fixed that by putting a length of hose form one horn to the other and taping the ends on really well.) He grew into a very handsome and healthy goat! Good Luck and Congrats on all of the healthy new additions!

  26. 1-19
    8:05
    am

    He will make the SWEETEST of all (as if baby goats really could be any sweeter) now that he’s a bottle baby!

  27. 1-19
    8:30
    am

    Poor little thing. I hope things will be okay for him. I think his name should be called Lucky, cause he was very lucky you were there or we all know he wouldn’t be with the other goats today, being left in the goat yard.He is very handsome little darling. Good luck with all your babies. Anymore having any babies?

  28. 1-19
    8:39
    am

    Ahhh poor baby, hopefully this isn’t going to be a habit of it’s Mom, so you always have to feed her babies.

  29. 1-19
    8:43
    am

    My friend who raised goats had this happen with a set of twins. The mother would actual nurse off of her mother instead of feeding her babies. They did do both as bottle babies and I brought one home at one month to do bottle feeding. It’s sad but the bond you develop with the goat bottle feeding is amazing. Cocoa is the sweetest, most gentle goat along with his twin Twinkie. I often call Twinkie my gentle giant. They’re both here with us now. My friend just said it’s like human beings – some just aren’t cut out to be moms and don’t want to be.

  30. 1-19
    8:44
    am

    Aw. Poor little guy. Hopefully Fanta will be a good momma to him. *sniff, sniff*

  31. 1-19
    8:49
    am

    I have a Fanta. She walks away and totally ignores her babies. Twice they’ve been born at night and have died. The third year I had twin bottle babies. This year I have a baby monitor so I can hopefully hear her and be there; I hope she isn’t one that doesn’t even groan when she kids.

  32. 1-19
    8:50
    am

    he is adorable, you can sent him over anytime :)

  33. 1-19
    8:53
    am

    aww.. He’s adorable. Too bad Sprite doesn’t think so. Sometimes first time mamas just don’t “get it.” For me, if they do that twice, I won’t bred them a 3rd time.
    A bottle baby isn’t the worst thing in the world, in fact, it’s fun even though it’s extra work. He will be a wonderful pet. As long as you leave him with your other mamas, he will learn to sneak when he can. I would supplement him with a bottle to make sure he’s getting enough to eat.
    You were very smart to force Sprite to let him nurse those first 24 hours. I have found, it’s not worth the hassle of holding them down for each nursing after that 24 hour mark. It’s much easier on you and mama to graft them onto a foster mama or bottle feed. We have 2 goats who will let any baby nurse on them. Even had one raise a lamb for me! LOL Got to love nannies like that.

  34. 1-19
    9:00
    am

    It’s not Fanta. Fanta is a good mother. It’s Sprite.

  35. 1-19
    9:01
    am

    Whatever you do Suzanne, I’m sure it will be right.

    He is as cute as all the others there and I hope and pray you get enough rest with the extra work.

    I’m in agreement with Nancy in Iowa, I think Morgan could do the milking of Sprite and bottle feeding the little one. Your plate us running over already. :dancingmonster: :hungry: :hungry:

    I have 5 baby calves coming Thursday to bucket train, and raise on milk. Can you bucket train goats?

  36. 1-19
    9:01
    am

    plus side is he’ll be a great pet-when wethered-but with ours when it happened-need to keep baby from the other mothers if one doesnt take right to him-cause-could end up with vet bill(we did)-when she gets too rough pushing him away. :sheep: but they are all adorable and beautiful!

  37. 1-19
    9:08
    am

    My husbands mom bottle fed a baby goat once. The baby turned into a dog. :airkiss: She followed pat’s mom around the yard for years, and acted just like a pet dog.

  38. 1-19
    9:11
    am

    Aww, poor little bottle cap. I’ve heard a lot of stories about first fresheners not being good moms, but then doing great with future freshenings.

    If it were me I would milk sprite. It would be much, much better than giving the baby cow milk. According to some other goat owners I know, cow milk can make a baby goat very sick.

    Good luck with it. Maybe you will have a goat that thinks it’s a dog to keep Anabelle company.

  39. 1-19
    9:11
    am

    So from what I understand, mommies know who is theirs by the smell of the baby. Having the baby drink the milk of the adopting mother makes her think it’s her baby. I seem to remember this from a lambing I went to: if a baby died and another was motherless, they would skin the dead lamb and cover the motherless one with the skin and feed the adopting mother’s milk to the lamb. The poop (smelling of the milk) made her think it was her lamb. Am I wrong?

  40. 1-19
    9:11
    am

    Poor little boy. He’s so cute.

  41. 1-19
    9:23
    am

    From 12 years experience as a vet tech (and a lifetime dairy farmer)may I suggest, if you have the time, to continue to milk Sprite to provide for her baby. You may still need to offer a milk replacer, but it would be more beneficial to baby to get the natural protiens and nutrition from its own mama. Maybe you milking her would be less stressful and she may allow it from you with no baby around. However, it is VITAL that any milk given be clean enough for human consumption and that any milk replacer be GOAT milk replacer, NO COW MILK. Best of luck to you all!

  42. 1-19
    9:24
    am

    Oh, the adventures at Stringtown Rising Farm continue… Poor little boy. I hate the idea of him being pushed away by Fanta as he tries to glom on to her. But I can see why she would protect her own over a ‘stranger’. Good luck! He’s a handsome lad.

  43. 1-19
    9:25
    am

    Hmmmm… let’s see… last time there was a cloven-hooved bottle baby on Stringtown Rising Farm, she grew to be a lamb that thought she was a dog (thank goodness it didn’t turn out that way for Little – could you imagine a cat that thought it was a dog? Shudder the thought!). I see the beginnings of a delightful story in the life of this newest little bottle cap! Congratulations on your newest little member of the menagerie, Suzanne :clover:

  44. 1-19
    9:40
    am

    You should call him Joshua…the son of Nun.

  45. 1-19
    9:43
    am

    Poor baby. What a good grandma you are! Thanks for keeping us updated.

  46. 1-19
    9:44
    am

    He is so adorable…..I will take him…..shame on Sprite! Glad you were there…the poor baby.

  47. 1-19
    9:47
    am

    Id suggest trying to milk sprite too. Often goats who lose a kid or reject a kid are the easiest to train to the milk stand.

  48. 1-19
    9:48
    am

    He is adorable, ( I like the name Guiness too, just sayin)

    Maybe he will end up like Annabelle, or maybe he will eventually smell enough like one of Fanta’s that she will adopt him. Hey Ive seen dogs adopt tiger cubs, it can happen.

  49. 1-19
    10:07
    am

    Hes so cute! lucky for you to have been there to help. Maybe you could eventually get fanta to take him on…with cookies! :)

  50. 1-19
    10:10
    am

    He is so cute. I love his markings. I raised sheep for many years. A few times over the years a ewe wouldn’t claim her lamb. I would milk her about the first week, then use lamb milk replacer. I really enjoyed the bonding while bottle feeding. Those were the special babies that I have the best memories with. :sheep:

    MN Mona

  51. 1-19
    10:12
    am

    Thank goodness you were still up or this could have been a tragic story instead of a sad one. But the little guy has baby buddies and a wet nurse, so it didn’t turn out badly. He is a doll. Congratulations on the baby boom.

  52. 1-19
    10:23
    am

    This is a sad story, but at least you were there to take care of him. I hope that Sprite and baby are both healthy and that she didn’t reject him because something is wrong with one of them. He’s very cute!

  53. 1-19
    10:26
    am

    BTW, did I misread Suzanne’s comment about cow milk? I took that to mean she has plenty of cow milk for her own use, so doesn’t need goat milk from Sprite for her own use. I didn’t think she was saying she is planning to feed cow milk to the baby. ???

  54. 1-19
    10:29
    am

    Your life is one big adventure!

    How sad that Sprite wants nothing to do with her sweet baby.

  55. 1-19
    10:49
    am

    I read it the way you did..that with 2 other goats in milk and bps milk she didnt need to leave sprite in milk. Without a kid to nurse when you dont want to milk it can be a real hassle to have one in milk if they dont have kids.

  56. 1-19
    11:17
    am

    At least there is less mystery about it. If you hadn’t checked on her when you did, and waited till morning then found a dead baby, you wouldn’t ever have known for sure what happened and why the baby died. In some ways that is one lucky kid. Due to her limited experience, maybe Sprint thinks that is poop that is trying to follow her around, and she thinks “Yuck! Go away!”. The previous comments are interesting and offer some good advice and words of experience, it seems to me. Good luck, Suzanne. If we don’t hear from you again for a while, we understand. Wish all of us could line up to take turns feeding the bottle baby.

  57. 1-19
    11:24
    am

    Suzanne, we used to raise sheep (as many as 5000 at a time) We always had at least 15 or 20 “bummers”. lambs whose mothers would not accept them. Sometimes a mother can sense a problem with the newborn, and won’t take them, sometimes they are too young to be mothers, and sometimes they are just plain ornery and don’t want to be tied down!!!(Like some women) lol…
    He is a beautiful little bummer, and I hope he can thrive and grow up to be a magnificent leader of his herd!!!

  58. 1-19
    11:31
    am

    Sweet boy. You have had many suggestions, and I’m sure you will do the right thing.

  59. 1-19
    11:33
    am

    #23-#41: I agree, If you can’t get baby and mama to bond…put Sprite on that milk stand, and drain her every time. Keep her in milk, store up as much as you can. Milk replacer isn’t cheap and she’s producing it for the cost of her feed and cookies. Baby will be better off with the real stuff. You’ve got plenty of girls there that will be good mamas, so NO more breeding for her.
    Just one sheep-herders opinion.
    Good luck with your decision. He sure is a cutie.

  60. 1-19
    11:37
    am

    Awww, poor little buddy. Glad you and your team are there to look after him!

  61. 1-19
    11:52
    am

    Oh, that was such a heart breaking story. I believe that I would have to bring that little baby into the house with me!

  62. 1-19
    12:12
    pm

    Thank you for always sharing the heartbreaking stories right along with the heartwarming stories! Being a farmer is not always easy or fun and I love the fact that you are very real. I grew up on a farm with goats, chickens and pigs and it was the most rewarding experience of my life but also provided a few of the saddest times also. Good luck to your newest adventure! I’m sure you will prevail as you always do!

  63. 1-19
    12:20
    pm

    I admit I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe this has already been covered, but here goes, just in case:

    Is this her first time to kid? We’ve learned that first time mothers don’t always “get it”. This has proven true with other animals besides the goats, too. Our two does both kidded for the first time last spring. One of them did exactly what you describe, and NEITHER of them would nurse, even when we tried to force it. They kicked and stomped and it just became too dangerous. We’re hoping they do better this year, now that they know better what to expect.

  64. 1-19
    12:59
    pm

    It’s good that you were there to take over that new baby! Poor baby, poor Sprite. She just doesn’t know what she’s missing in the Mommy dept. Hope the new kid does well with Fanta and all the other kidlets.

  65. 1-19
    1:08
    pm

    Aw! Well, he is a sweet looking little boy, anyhow. We vote for the name RC. As in the off brand RC cola, since he’s getting “off his brand” milk. :) Best of luck, Suzanne! Sounds like he’s in super good hands/hooves.

  66. 1-19
    1:31
    pm

    Why not milk Sprite? Otherwise what’s the point in having goats? Pets I guess. Won’t be long and you’ll be over run with pet goats though. Maybe I think too much with the mindset of a farmer. All animals must be of use. Milk, meat, eggs, fiber, etc. Even the dogs and cats had work to do on the farm.

  67. 1-19
    1:34
    pm

    My step brother used to raise goats. Often, for no discernible reason, the mother would abandon a new baby. He gave those to me. If I wanted to go through the aggravation of tending a bottle baby, he’d provide the powdered formula and I could have them. We went through three in as many months. The first was Fred, who was absolutely hysterical. I pulled out a load of my old stuffed animals from the attic and shoved them under a desk. He would crawl into them and snuggle up. It reminded me of ET hiding in the toys. We did well with Fred until he got into a bucket of feed belonging to an older kid one night when he finally went to the barn. The grain hit his belly full of milk and swelled up, as grain does. You can imagine the outcome. Life deals you hard lessons. Goats are weird. Easy in some ways, hard in other! Good luck!

  68. 1-19
    1:42
    pm

    Sending you lots of prayers for the new little one, sorry that Sprite does not want to have anything to do with her baby. :snuggle:

  69. 1-19
    2:19
    pm

    I had a mama cat like that. In those days they didn’t fix a kitten until they were at least 6 months old, and by then she was already pregnant (she was a little hussy). She refused to have anything to do with her kittens. I had to catch her, hold her down, and plug in the kittens for her to nurse. Our big male German shorthair dog took over all the other nursery duties, washing and tending them, and they bonded to him.

    Before she was finished nursing the kittens, the cat was pregnant again. That time she figured out that nursing provided her with relief, but instead of getting into the box with the kittens, she would come to me to put her in there and plug in the kittens. She still didn’t want anything else to do with them. And when we found homes for them, instead of grieving, she celebrated. She was simply a bad mother, and a trollop. Even after she was fixed, she would give the tomcats that come-hither look and they would be smitten.

    Suzanne, if you do end up having to bottle-feed Son-of-Sprite, won’t you want to milk her, to have enough goat’s milk for the kid?

  70. 1-19
    2:29
    pm

    Ohhhh Bottle babies are the sweetest…we had 4, now 2 years ago.
    2 boys and 2 girls..they are the most snuggle babies we have ever had..and the girls still are here…they are still very into humans.

    They are with the Billy right now..so I hope for babies around somewhere in May.

  71. 1-19
    4:22
    pm

    We had a Brown Swiss cow like that. Tabby calved 4 different times that I can remember. The first time was in the winter in the barn in a tie stall. She about tore the manger out and did scrape herself up in an effort to escape the calf. She would have nothing to do with it. Bellowed like the calf was attacking her when it would get close. Second time dad thought that maybe she had been frightened because she was tied up (#1 calf was early) so she was loose in a box stall when she had #2. She took out a barn door to escape that calf. She also developed the habit of bellowing in fear when any of the other cows calved and she saw the calf. For the 3rd and 4th calves she was bred so that she was on pasture and just dropped them and ran, literally. She was a good milk cow, good cow in general, just not a momma cow. At least she never attacked the calf, she was scared to death of them. She had one heifer and she was a good mother, Tabby’s sister Lulu was a good momma, and her momma, Sally, was a good momma.
    At the other end of the spectrum was Bell. Bell took possession on all baby calves that she could run the mother away from. Since Bell was boss cow (and a really big Swiss cow with a good sized set of horns) she could make most of the others leave their calf. She thankfully wasn’t opposed to letting us get near the calf but she sure worked at keeping the other cows away. She was the last cow we had with horns and part of the reason all calves were dehorned was her possesiveness of the calves and the wounds she inflicted on the real mommas in running them off.

  72. 1-19
    4:29
    pm

    I’ve heard sometimes it takes a little “shift” with their innards. A vet I heard of stuck his hand in a pig that wouldn’t nurse and “shifted” something. The pig started to nurse directly afterward.
    I really hope the new beautiful baby finds comfort in the other goat mommies and babies. Poor guy.

  73. 1-19
    4:43
    pm

    WE have a herd of cattle, and at least one of the cows does this every year. It’s so annoying, maddening, and sad. We try penning mama and baby up for 24 hours or more, and sometimes this works. And sometimes the calf learns to “thieve” from other mamas when they aren’t looking. But sometimes we just end up with a bottle calf. Oh, and we sell off the bad mamas. No need to feed and house someone who’s not pulling their weight.
    Suzanne

  74. 1-19
    5:31
    pm

    Awwwe – poor lil’ kid.

    I read a story once about an orphan foal. (Yes, it was a STORY – so I don’t know how accurate this would be…but it sounds like a good theory, so I’ll pass it on.)

    If the baby smells like the mama, its more likely to be accepted. If you rubbed something on the kid & around the mom’s nostrils – she would hopefully accept it as her own. OR if you rubbed something on one of the other kids & then it’s mama’s nostril area…would this kid be accepted by the other mom? Both kids would smell alike.

    In the book they used myrtle, a common shrub in the area.

    Just a thought…don’t know if it would work, but thought I’d pass it on. It might be worth doing some more research. I fully acknowledge my lack of goat mom/kid experience…but it was a nice story. =)

    Good Luck!

  75. 1-19
    6:44
    pm

    :cry: So sad, I hope he will be ok, he’s beautiful. I just feel sorry for him. I know you will do your very best to take care of him.

  76. 1-19
    8:38
    pm

    Maybe you should change her name to “Spite”. I know you’ll do a great job raising the wee one and we’ll all be the wiser for your efforts.

  77. 1-19
    10:03
    pm

    I can’t help but feel sorry and sad for the motherless little guy, but there’s usually a reason for all that happens in nature. Only Sprite knows. But at least he has a surrogate mother for the time being. I’m so happy you didn’t go to bed last night before learning of the birth. You’ve got yourself a baby Suzanne. :yes:

  78. 1-20
    12:43
    am

    I don’t know too much about goats and kids, but I do deal a lot with new (human) mothers as a childbirth doula. The Baby Blues is common in 80% of all postpartum women. Is this actually a case of postpartum blues or even depression, but in a goat?

    And an even stranger question, (if you are weak stomached, skip this paragraph!!) did the third stage of labor go well (placenta delivered, no hemorrhage?) I know most mammals, with the exception of kangaroos, camels, whales and dolphins consume the placenta. Did Sprite do this? Just a theory I have…

    I recently discovered your website and I am absolutely addicted. It reminds me of home and my grandmother and I miss her so very much. You’ve helped me reconnect with a part of me I thought was long lost! Keep up the marvelous work – love it!

    Congrats on the birth, even if it has been challenging, it’s still something to celebrate!

  79. 1-20
    2:26
    am

    What a lucky little bottle cap to have a mama like you, Suzanne! Life on the farm is never quite easy, hunh? He’s adorable.

  80. 1-20
    2:46
    pm

    Poor little baby. Although I am surprised that we don’t all do this. Childbirth hurts, goatbirth, too. Sprite was probably scared by this little heap of ooze that came out of her. I’d give her one more chance with the kidding and then bid her a fond farewell if she was a bad mama again. Perhaps a children’s petting zoo somewhere.

    Hope baby is okay today.

  81. 1-20
    8:00
    pm

    How is he doing now? I need an update on that little doll baby!

  82. 1-23
    8:26
    pm

    the most adorable little guy!

  83. 1-25
    9:12
    am

    what a handsome little furbaby!! It makes me sad that his mom rejected him. :(

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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