Update on Sprite


Since Sprite rejected her baby, I’ve been holding her and making her let her baby milk so he could get the colostrum. Today I thought if she was still fighting me, I’d let her out of the goat house. Sprite is a pretty calm, quiet goat. She and Fanta both have peaceful personalities. They stay out of Nutmeg’s and Clover’s way. They memorize Bible verses and sing camp songs. That Sprite should turn out to be such a bad mother was a real surprise. She is young, about 1 1/2. This is her first kidding.

I decided to keep trying today to let her milk him–his own mother’s milk is the best thing for him, and the best way for him to get it is directly from her. She has not fought me as hard today. I have to hold her, but she tolerates it with less stress. She still won’t allow him to nurse unless I’m holding her, but she is letting me hold her without fighting me (much). I have also given him the bottle today, just to ensure continued acceptance of the bottle in case I do have to take him away from her completely.

He’s also still nursing sporadically on Fanta. And what was really a little bit funny this morning was when he was nursing Sprite on one side while I was holding her, one of Fanta’s babies came over and started nursing her on the other side! Those babies, they’ll take candy from anyone. Goat mothers, even good ones, don’t stand still long, so when I’m holding Sprite, she’s an open tap. The mother who doesn’t want to nurse anyone is nursing everyone.

Well, to a limited extent since she will only tolerate it when I’m holding onto her.

So, I’ll take it day by day, making repeated trips to the goat house to help Sprite be a mother. Whether she likes it or not. If things start to get rough with her behavior, I can always take her out. She seems calmer today rather than rougher, so for now, I’ll give this a try–AND keep him accepting the bottle. The longer he can get her milk right from her, the better. And he’s a persistent little devil. He wants his milk.

All the babies–Fanta’s two on the left, Sprite’s baby behind them, and Dr. Pepper on the shelf in the background.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 19, 2011  

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38 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-19

    They are so adorable!!

  2. 1-19

    They are simply adorable! I hope Sprite decides being a Momma goat isn’t so bad and accepts her little guy. He sure is a cutie!

  3. 1-19

    Dear Suzanne, I’ve followed you for quite sometime but haven’t posted. You’ve given me and my daughter hours of laughter and lots of good ideas and recipes. Today I’m posting to say thank you. Here you are up to your elbows with babies and bottles and a reluctant mom and yet you took time to post a second time today to update your readers about Sprite and her kid. Here we (your readers) are out here sending up little prayers and pulling for you and the animals, and you remember to keep us in the loop. You are an incredible lady. Thanks so much and best wishes.

  4. 1-19

    I hope Sprite will take her baby soon.
    I know growning up, my parents had one cow that would never take her calf without a fight. However, after she had accepted it, she was the best mother in the herd.
    Good Luck :clover:

  5. 1-19

    You mam, are the queen of persistance.

  6. 1-19

    Those are some gorgeous goat babies! I’m glad the littlest guy can at least get some milk straight from her, it sounds like it’s the best thing for him.

    I love the goat house btw, it’s great. I’m taking notes for when we finally get our farm!

    Did you get any girl kids this time?

  7. 1-19

    Maybe Sprite is just scared and nervous about being a new “mommy” now….keep up the good work…..maybe Sprite will catch on and come around soon. She just needs a little help! :yes:

  8. 1-19

    Good. Even if she rejects him, if she associates his nursing with relief to a full udder, maybe she will start to tolerate feeding him. Good thing he has you and Aunt Fanta to give him cuddles and socialize him. And of course, his cousins (uncles?) to play with.

    Is the son of a sprite a pixie?

  9. 1-19

    Glad she’s a bit more settled today – not quite resigned to her fate, but maybe a wee bit closer? :) I’m glad you’re using her milk to feed any baby that you can! Sounds like they could all use it! :)

  10. 1-19

    I’m now addicted to the “As The Goat House Turns” updates. The babies are adorable. Glad they’ve got someone like you fighting in their corner.

  11. 1-19

    Lindsay, both of Fanta’s babies are girls.

  12. 1-19

    Just imagine if we had no idea what was happening with our first child! I can understand Sprite thinking “That thing hurt. Keep it away!” Glad she is becoming more tolerant.

    Kudos to you and Fanta for helping her in her first round. I’ll wager she will be much better next time around.

    “BLEATTTTT! Oh lookie here, I’ve gone and done it again! How does this happen?”

    Absolutely gorgeous bunch of kids!

  13. 1-19

    sometimes you get what you ask for……4 baby goats….congrats on the new additions…they all are very cute

  14. 1-19

    Love that – as the goat house turns. :) Glad she is letting you hold her so she’ll nurse. Sounds like she is moving in the right direction. Are you gonna start making Feta? :fairy:

  15. 1-19

    I agree with Sheila Z. Unless you are going to have a business of selling milk and making cheese for profit, Probably more than two nannies are too many. You can’t eat them, (and who would want to?)and the bucks are good for nothin!!!except more babies….

  16. 1-19

    Well hopefully she’ll just give in and be a momma.

  17. 1-19

    You’re an excellent Shepherdess Suzanne!

  18. 1-19

    We have had cows do this, and usually after a few days they accept their calf and go on to be good moms. Once a calf/kid gets mom’s milk going through them, Mom instinct kicks in..
    Being a first freshener is probably the issue….so many new feelings.
    Be persistent…she’ll come around. Even if she doesn’t sounds like the little guy is already quite resourceful.

  19. 1-19

    Suzanne, I think Sprite definitely should get a cookie when you go visit and hold her. In spite of everything, I think she deserves a few cookies. She’s scared.

  20. 1-19

    Glad to hear that you are able to allow him to nurse for a little while, I have never owned goats and never been around them, so I really have no advice. But I would like to say that I think you are doing everything right as far as what I could see…haha (coming from the one with NO experience) Other than being a momma my self. I hope she will start to allow him to nurse if for nothing else then your own time and sanity. I know its got to get old with everything else that you do to make a trip out to the goat pen! Good luck with it all and I’m wishing you and Sprite the best!

  21. 1-19

    You are doing the right thing. It’s a lot of work, but you do it because you care. Thanks.

  22. 1-19

    With our cattle, sometimes a cow who has rejected her calf will grudgingly accept it. They won’t be a loving mother, but they’ll let it nurse which is what really counts. It really helps if the baby is a fighter, and it sounds like Sprite’s little one is a fighter, so that’s a good place to start.

  23. 1-19

    Maybe it’s time to associate nursing with COOKIES! :yes:

  24. 1-19

    I’m so sorry that Sprite is having a tough time being a mother to that cute little guy. Do goat mommies get postpartum depression like humans?
    I know that you have your hands full now, but we are all glad that you can take the time to keep us up on the babys progress. My thoughts annd prayers are with you.

  25. 1-19

    Suzanne, God bless you, you are so good with those goats. I surely pray this works for you. If it does of course, you can go back to life like it was except for an occasional check on them, right?

  26. 1-19

    Holding her will work like a charm! Good job! Enjoy the babies!

  27. 1-19

    I, too, am addicted to this new soap opera of a farm yard! My littlest just hopped up on my lap and said “Oh! I want to sthee sthome baby duckths!” She recognizes the site alright! LOL!

    Although I’m sure you’ve been super busy with the new little ones…any names for them yet?

  28. 1-19

    See? It does take a village to raise a kid!

  29. 1-19

    Like everyone else, I’m loving the goat saga! Hoping that Sprite’s bonding issues are short term and the other mommies give her some mothering tips soon!

  30. 1-19

    A couple years ago, I finally figured out why some goats reject their babies. There are a few reasons that I’ve figured out, but maybe this will help you: http://antiquityoaks.blogspot.com/2008/06/sucking-disorder-in-goat-kid.html I was a lactation consultant in a former life and never expected to use those skills with my goats, but oh well!

    As for how many goats you need — we also have NDs, and last year we were milking 14 and making all of our own dairy products, so you’re a far cry from having “enough” goats! LOL Nine years ago, I thought I only needed a couple of goats to make some cheese. Ha! Now we make chevre, yogurt, buttermilk, cheddar, gouda, mozzarella, gjetost, parmesan, queso blanco, and probably a few more that I forgot.

  31. 1-19

    Well I think all the goat mothers deserve some cookies – especially Fanta who is feeding the new baby that isn’t even hers. And give yourself a cookie while you’re at it – you are quite a good goat mother yourself!

  32. 1-19

    Beecie, ROFL at “As The Goat House Turns.”

  33. 1-19

    Well, now I just saw the post about the little guy’s birth, and it certainly doesn’t seem hopeful. The only time we’ve ever had a goat act like that was one that gave birth two weeks premature, so her hormones hadn’t kicked in yet, and she looked at her kids like they were from outer space. This little guy doesn’t sound like he’s a premie, but it sure sounds like mama doesn’t have any hormones on board to encourage her to be motherly. That’s exactly what our premie mama did — stood up, walked away and stared at them like they were aliens.

  34. 1-19

    I would not give upon Sprite yet. I have known shepherds to use a “grafting gate” to keep a Mom in place while the lambs nursed. Sometimes a grafted lamb and sometimes their own if they did not take to them right away. The more he drinks her milk, the more he smells like hers — so even if you have to milk her and bottle feed that to him it is worthwhile. I had a first time ewe do this with a preemie — she never even knew she had a lamb, and we raised him after it was clear she had no milk, no interest, etc. Her second lambing she had twins and she was the best mom ever. Another first time mother HATED her twins; she would go after them and throw them around with her horns. It took patience (and cleverness on their part along with some space where they could run to be safe from her) and she turned into an excellent mother. I think she had hormones alright, — just not the right ones. Good mothering supposedly runs in families, so that might be a clue as to whether she should be bred again. I always figure sheep are like people — some are naturals and some need to read a few more books and get some good help!

  35. 1-20

    Thanks so much for updating us. I don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no goats, but it sounds to me like you’re doing everything right. With your patience and help, hopefully Sprite will come around. I’m keeping good thoughts. The babies are all just absolutely adorable! I wish I could hug them. :hug:

  36. 1-20

    I don’t know how much Suzanne can stand, but based on the previous comments, I’d be apt to let Sprite have another kid sometime, then see how she acts. If it’s a repeat performance, I’d say: Never! again. This farming deal is complicated!

  37. 1-20

    Yay for girls! Well, and boys, but it sounds kindof like boys aren’t necessarily as ‘needed’. Thanks for the update!

  38. 1-25

    They are beautiful little babies!!

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