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By 5 Acres and A Dream
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Unexpected Bottle Babies

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10 days old here, but I still don’t know their names.
Most of the time, goat birthing and kid rearing are without problems. I let the moms feed and raise their kids until they want to wean them. (Well, the little girls. The little boys tend to get bucky and rambunctious at an early age and so are often weaned earlier than they’d like). While Caroline had an easy kidding, several days later I detected there was a problem. She went off her feed and stopped drinking. A few days later, she laid down and refused to get up. 
This was quite alarming, because when a goat goes down and won’t get up, they often give up. And it gave me two problems to deal with, one was her, the other was feeding her kids. One of them figured out she could still nurse as long as she saw a teat, the other didn’t catch on to that. I figured out that one side of Caroline’s udder was congested, and I suspected mastitis as well. I’m not sure why it happened, because I wasn’t milking her yet. With Caroline not eating or drinking, her milk supply would dwindle quickly. 
That’s their mom, Caroline, in the background

I started treating Caroline with herbs, antibiotics, and B vitamin injections, and decided to put the kids a bottle. This can be tricky once kids start on their moms. In that case, they usually refuse the bottle. But they took to it quickly and got their tummies full. As a side note, there is apparently a different technique nursing from a bottle as opposed to their mom. Even after getting used to it, they still have to negotiate the bottle nipple before they latch on. 
It was such a relief when Caroline finally started drinking water again. She started nibbling on fresh greens soon after that. Then came the morning when she was on her feet when I got to the barn. I was so relieved. I can’t help but wonder if those kids didn’t give her the will to live. 
She’s still thin but no longer looks and acts distressed. Her appetite is back to normal and she is nursing the kids. The congested side is a tad better but it’s still congested and difficult to get much milk from it. The little girls work it, but it’s obvious they don’t get much. Their interest in the bottle varies: sometimes they both finish off their bottles eagerly, sometimes only part of it, and sometimes one or the other (or both) won’t be interested. I’ll continue to offer these supplemental feedings for as long as is necessary.
Even with Caroline’s problem, her girls are thriving.

I’m careful not to feed too much with the bottle, so they will continue to nurse.
That and good feed are the best ways to build up her milk supply again.

While I’m on the subject of kids, how about a few more pics and a video?

Ursa’s boys. They are a week older than Caroline’s girls.

Ursa and Buster Brown

Ursa’s Orion
River and Saluda
River’s Mosul, hunting for acorns
Sky’s Willow
After a hard play of racing, the kids relax in the sun.

And a short (45 second) video. First, the cast of characters -
Caroline on the left, then Ursa’s two boys, and Carolina’s girls on the right.


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