Monday, March 5, 2012
Raising friendly kids
As cute (and yes, even fun) as it can be to bottle feed kids, it can also be a lot of work & the novelty of it all can wear off pretty quickly when you have more than a couple hungry kids to feed. So, what do you do if you want the personality of a bottle fed goat without all that extra work? Start handling your kids right away & do it every day...here on our mini-farm, this is a job we all enjoy getting involved in. Since goat kids are adorable & entertaining, this is one farm chore that nobody complains about! My oldest is very high energy & loud & can sometimes scare the animals with all that yelling & jumping around, but once I showed him that the kids would happily play with him if he would sit still & quiet on the ground, he was willing to save all that energetic behavior for outside the goat pen.
My middle child has always been very loving & gentle with animals...she'd probably love to dress one of the kids up like a baby & play mama, lol.
I have to keep an eye on my youngest who seems to want to share the bottle with the kids...one sip for her & one for the kids...
Because our doe had 4 kids, I was concerned that there might come a point where she wasn't wanting to feed all of them (at her peak last year she was a 2 gallon/day producer so chances are she'll have plenty of milk). Just in case I have tried to introduce the bottle to the kids once a day...I was especially hoping the little doe would take to it to give her some extra calories, but only two of the boys would take a little milk from the bottle. Persistence paid off today because I finally got the doeling to take quite a bit which I was really happy about.
So it seems that you can have it both ways...leaving most of the work to the mama goat while having a little fun with bottle feeding, combined with lots of socializing can get you nice friendly kids.
By the way, one of our goats was raised by a friend in this manner (lots of handling with no bottle feeding) & she is just as friendly & easy to handle as the doe I bottlefed last year, further proof that this is a great option for many busy homesteaders!
A little update on this subject...as suspected our mama goat seems to have gotten rather tired/impatient with the idea of feeding 4 kids. She is still feeding two of the boys exclusively, but we have been milking her & feeding the other boy & little doeling 1-2 bottles a day because they were not getting enough from their mama. Raindrop is producing plenty...just seems to be (understandably) tired of having 4 kids with growing appettites latching onto her...so I'm now glad that I did introduce the bottle from the start, but am also glad I'm not bottlefeeding 4 kids exclusively!