ANZ's Farms

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Nursery

We (I really did help!) built a kids' nursery next to the goat yard. Our plan all along had been to let the kids nurse for up to a week, to be sure each got sufficient colostrum, and then separate them and bottle feed. Some sources said that a kid wouldn't take to bottle feeding if started off nursing. But we chanced it and have found a hungry kid will learn. An added benefit of a week of nursing was the hope that Little One would be easier to milk; her disposition indicated that she would not take to it readily. And boy, is that right! I'll post another blog entry to show how Scott solved that problem.

The nursery allows the dams and kids to talk, nuzzle and be close, as Little One is doing with her kids pictured above, yet keeps them from nursing. The 7am/5 pm milking routine replaces nursing and both does' milk is combined to feed everyone. Supplemental bottle feedings using a cow's milk/half&half mixture have been necessary for Mamma's kids from the beginning since she has not had sufficient milk for all six. The frozen goat's milk we had on hand did not work because the cream separated out and was a little glumpy, clogging the nipple.

Bottle feeding each precious little one (4 oz every 6 hours) is such special one-on-one time ... even at 3 am. They make getting out of a warm bed, standing over a hot stove to warm the milk and getting covered in milk myself all worth it. They are soft and warm and cuddly with round little bellies after they eat. They flock to my feet whenever I enter the nursery, whether it's feeding time or not. When I sit to feed them, I am covered in a mass of wiggling fur. It's delightful!

After much discussion about where to put the nursery and how to position the shelter, the layout we chose is working well. The nursery is on the hill between the goat yard and the privacy fence on the property line. The shelter faces east to get morning sun and positioned next to the covered area of the adults' yard. Goats don't like getting wet, so this offers a place where moms' and babies' noses can touch even in the rain. And rain/snow is on the forecast for today. Also, by being close to the milking area, an electrical cord reaches to the kids' shelter. We have been spoiled by several beautiful days this week with lots of sun, but today there is need for a heat lamp.

1 comment:

  1. The bucklings are so cute! I am tempted but have only hired bucks for breeding at our place. I am worried about separate pens and escapes and some of the troubles that you experienced with birthing. Also, when the bucks visit, the does that are not being "serviced" are extremely agitated and bellow all day long. I cannot believe my neighbors have not called animal control! I love your blog--just found it today. Check out mine at I feel a lot of your pain!
    Stevie in Efland, NC