The Goat Spot Forum banner

Force mama goat to nurse adopted kids?

896 Views 12 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  DDFN
We brought out first goats home this Saturday! Nubians. A dam with her natural daughter and two bucklings from different lines. They're ten to twelve days old.

We were told the dam was a great mother and would quickly adopt the boys but... that hasn't been the case 馃槄 She's great with her daughter but will bite (sometimes gently, sometimes picking a buckling up by his tail) and push the boys way with her horns - never letting them suckle. She will allow them to hang out closely and they respond to her calls.

Today is day 3 of us (2-3 ppl depending on her feistiness) holding her as still as we can manage 4 times a day to let the bucklings drink. She is a fighter and we've been doing it in two 5 minute sessions each time (10 minutes total). The boys never walk away on their own, we end the feeding by releasing the mama.

How can I tell if they're getting enough food? Will drinking from the teat vs a bottle have a great impact on them at this stage of life?

We are finishing out milk stand tomorrow - will this help us out a lot? She struggles a little less when we milk her which we have only done three times to bottle feed the smallest goat who had trouble suckling the first day. Usually she ignores any grain or treats we use to distract her during this process but I hope the milk stand will help to immobilize her enough that it will be a 1 person job instead of a team effort.

We prefer to let them suckle from her because we really want to see them bond and have her help us raise them for the next 1-2 months until its time to separate.

Is it naive to have our fingers crossed that she will accept them if we continue to have patience and persistence?

Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated by this total goat newbie 馃槉 Thanks!
  • Like
Reactions: 2
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
You will probably have to keep forcing the issue and she most likely will not take the little boys willingly. Goats are so hard headed when they want to be. If you want to force it then just know you might be looking at this for 3 months, 8 weeks minimum if they start eating adult goat food by then. She also might get to the point where she gives you trouble getting on the stand because she knows she will have to do something she hates. But it is totally up to you if that is how you want to do it! It will be much easier when you get your stand made. Get a pair of hobbles or tie her back legs where she can鈥檛 kick. It will be much easier for you.
If you want to go the forced way watch babies bellies. You don鈥檛 want them sucked up or plumped out. You want nice and flat on their sides. Right now your going to have to make sure they eat 4X a day.
If you want to milk her and feed the babies milk from a bottle that is fine too. Both ways are basically the same so it鈥檚 really up to you
  • Like
Reactions: 5
Well I鈥檓 not sure if I can really help out.. I was gonna say you could just bottle feed them but since you want them to bond then that would not be the way to do it.. what I did once upon a time, one of my kids(which was a runt) was needing milk and my other doe didn鈥檛 have enough since she had triplets.. so I got her on the milking stand and put some feed in their to keep her occupied and then got the doeling and let her milk off of her.. it worked pretty well all tho the doe kicked a bit but otherwise it was good.. other times I have just held them down.. But maybe like you said time and patience they may just bond 馃し鈥嶁檧锔
  • Like
Reactions: 5
Well this won't help you now but I always would take a rag and soak it in placenta juices after a doe kidded and freeze it labelled with her name. Then if a kid was rejected or if a bottle baby from another situation needed a mother I could graft the doe to a new kid using the rag and running down the New kid. I had one for once I tied and hobbled she did better letting the kid year that way. I had a doe with twins and a bottle baby from another farm that loves this doe and wanted her for her own mom. She favored her mother in color. She took to her after a week of hobbling with either being tied or held. Then she claimed the doeling as her own and when it was time the doeling replaced her adoptive mother as the herd queen.

I used the large nylon hobble Velcro straps. Don't use thin ones as that could just themselves when picking starting out.
  • Like
Reactions: 5
Grafting is really a 50/ 50. If a doe starts hating what your doing she could become a problem.
  • Like
Reactions: 4
Most goats don't want just any kid nursing off them. It will probably be a struggle all the way through. You need to weigh the boys daily with a scale that weighs in pounds and ounces or pounds and tenths of pounds. If she is already ok with them hanging around, you are doing good. You might make her hate them if forced to nurse them. Milk her and add whole cows milk from the store if you don't get enough milk from her. Why the sellers would tell you she would willingly feed them is beyond me. They really flat out lied.
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5
No reputable goat breeder would put this responsibility on a buyer. There is no guarantee that this doe will accept those boys, and you may end up stressing her out. I鈥檓 sorry that breeder steered you wrong.

It would be best to bottle feed the boys, so you know how much they鈥檙e eating. You could also consider a free choice milk feeder depending on how you鈥檇 like to raise them.
  • Like
Reactions: 3
You will probably have to keep forcing the issue and she most likely will not take the little boys willingly. Goats are so hard headed when they want to be. If you want to force it then just know you might be looking at this for 3 months, 8 weeks minimum if they start eating adult goat food by then. She also might get to the point where she gives you trouble getting on the stand because she knows she will have to do something she hates. But it is totally up to you if that is how you want to do it! It will be much easier when you get your stand made. Get a pair of hobbles or tie her back legs where she can鈥檛 kick. It will be much easier for you.
If you want to go the forced way watch babies bellies. You don鈥檛 want them sucked up or plumped out. You want nice and flat on their sides. Right now your going to have to make sure they eat 4X a day.
If you want to milk her and feed the babies milk from a bottle that is fine too. Both ways are basically the same so it鈥檚 really up to you
thank you!
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Well this won't help you now but I always would take a rag and soak it in placenta juices after a doe kidded and freeze it labelled with her name. Then if a kid was rejected or if a bottle baby from another situation needed a mother I could graft the doe to a new kid using the rag and running down the New kid. I had one for once I tied and hobbled she did better letting the kid year that way. I had a doe with twins and a bottle baby from another farm that loves this doe and wanted her for her own mom. She favored her mother in color. She took to her after a week of hobbling with either being tied or held. Then she claimed the doeling as her own and when it was time the doeling replaced her adoptive mother as the herd queen.

I used the large nylon hobble Velcro straps. Don't use thin ones as that could just themselves when picking starting out.
Its only been a few days so your story of them connecting after a week is encouraging. I was leaning towards trying a few more days. In the future I think we鈥檒l follow your idea to freeze some of the juices from kidding just in case and I鈥檓 definitely going to order hobbles to add to our goat tool kit too. Thanks!
Everyone has good advice.

I am sorry you were forced to deal with that.
I would weigh the kids daily to make sure they are gaining, and get them started on the bottle, it's easier when they are younger, and even now they may fight you. Sorry the breeder gave you false information, unless you can watch them latch throughout the day without her kicking them off, you probably will end up with bottle kids.
We brought out first goats home this Saturday! Nubians. A dam with her natural daughter and two bucklings from different lines. They're ten to twelve days old.

We were told the dam was a great mother and would quickly adopt the boys but... that hasn't been the case 馃槄 She's great with her daughter but will bite (sometimes gently, sometimes picking a buckling up by his tail) and push the boys way with her horns - never letting them suckle. She will allow them to hang out closely and they respond to her calls.

Today is day 3 of us (2-3 ppl depending on her feistiness) holding her as still as we can manage 4 times a day to let the bucklings drink. She is a fighter and we've been doing it in two 5 minute sessions each time (10 minutes total). The boys never walk away on their own, we end the feeding by releasing the mama.

How can I tell if they're getting enough food? Will drinking from the teat vs a bottle have a great impact on them at this stage of life?

We are finishing out milk stand tomorrow - will this help us out a lot? She struggles a little less when we milk her which we have only done three times to bottle feed the smallest goat who had trouble suckling the first day. Usually she ignores any grain or treats we use to distract her during this process but I hope the milk stand will help to immobilize her enough that it will be a 1 person job instead of a team effort.

We prefer to let them suckle from her because we really want to see them bond and have her help us raise them for the next 1-2 months until its time to separate.

Is it naive to have our fingers crossed that she will accept them if we continue to have patience and persistence?

Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated by this total goat newbie 馃槉 Thanks!
I was going to tell you that it would be better if you bottle fed the boys. My Nubian Onxy, refused her triplets, we bottle fed them but first we made sure we milked the colostrum for them, she kicked so hard I thought she would break her leg.. so that was the last time we bothered and just bottle fed the triplets. One of our moms died only a month after giving birth 馃様 I tried the other moms and I got a big NOPE! Not one would allow him to nurse. Goats definitely can be amazingly STUBBORN! I don't understand why people think goats will eat anything.. we just finished our new barn and it's like pulling teeth to get them to even step inside 馃う anyway I hope your little boys become big strong boys, and if you bottle feed a hundred percent cows milk is best, I believe someone said that. Just keep a good eye on mom with the baby boys, as we all know goats are extremely STUBBORN 馃槵 just make sure that you make a place that the boys can go into in case she goes after them.. make a hole only big enough for the boys to escape too..we did that too with the triplets.. just to make sure they had a safe place that an adult couldn't fit into. Freezing afterbirth is a fabulous idea if you are going to breed.. just in case you need it. I was helped by a friend that had frozen colostrum because Onxy was very naughty 馃檭 and I had her on a milk stand but I didn't know about the ties for the back legs. That is a great idea. In the end, Onxy got used to the triplets being with her, and ended up caring for them after I was done bottle feeding..goats! What can we say 馃槄馃悙馃悙馃悙
But I certainly love each and every goat I have 馃ぉ
See less See more
Its only been a few days so your story of them connecting after a week is encouraging. I was leaning towards trying a few more days. In the future I think we鈥檒l follow your idea to freeze some of the juices from kidding just in case and I鈥檓 definitely going to order hobbles to add to our goat tool kit too. Thanks!
Good luck. I feel blessed that when I had mine it went pretty well. I know others haven't had as good of luck and it depends on each goat. I had two sets of does that were half sister's and it was common for their kids to just nurse who ever was near at the time they were hungry. All but three of the does I ever had seemed to be laid back about the kids sharing.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top