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Should I get this free doeling

1380 Views 26 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  FizzyGoats
First, I know a free goat is never free. The breeder already told me the doeling was a runt at birth (weighed 1 lb) and has struggled since. She’s had coccidiosis and pneumonia. The breeder of course treated for both but has recently had a cancer scare along with recent and surgeries and she doesn’t have the time to devote to this little one. The herd is tested for CAE annually and has always been negative, no history of abscesses and the doeling is ADGA registered. She doesn’t want money for her, just wants her going somewhere nearby that will keep a close eye on her and love her. I happen to be one of the only other ND owners close by.

My concern is that I have 3 does who are all about one and a half years old, all were born on the same farm and have been together from day one. They were nice enough when I added the bucks one at a time, but I don’t know if that has any indication on how they’ll accept a doeling. I have great herd dynamics right now. Every one is pretty chill and content.

Any advice? Maybe thoughts on what you’d do?

Here is a picture of the doeling, Jellybean, and her dam’s FF udder.
Plant Working animal Liver Terrestrial animal Fawn




Vertebrate Grass Fawn Terrestrial animal Snout
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I’m a sucker for free stuff so the only thing that would slow me down is her problems. Are you willing to spend money on her if she gets sick all of the sudden? How much are you willing to spend? Are you going to breed her if she gets to a good weight and doesn’t have many (hopefully if any more) health scares? As far as introducing her to the herd, maybe try putting her with your gentlest goat (I’m thinking Champ) and then let her out into the rest of the herd at the same time you let the nice companion and then maybe the companion will protect her a little bit.
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It's such a temptation! She's really cute.
Here are couple thoughts I have about potential problwm goats. Do I want/need them enough to spend the extra time and money I could be putting into my healthy goats or other projects? Is it fair to my other animals to possibly let some of their needs slide to care for the weak one? Only you can answer those questions.
If she is truly stunted, she may not be breedable. Or she may be an ongoing maintenance problem. Or she could pull out of it with time and care.
One thing I will say: the high maintenance goats will teach you a lot and force you to research problems and come up with solutions. I have learned a lot from my problem animals. :)
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She’s a cutie and I love the nice teats on her dam. She seems to have a very nice udder for a FF.
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I’m a sucker for free stuff so the only thing that would slow me down is her problems. Are you willing to spend money on her if she gets sick all of the sudden? How much are you willing to spend? Are you going to breed her if she gets to a good weight and doesn’t have many (hopefully if any more) health scares? As far as introducing her to the herd, maybe try putting her with your gentlest goat (I’m thinking Champ) and then let her out into the rest of the herd at the same time you let the nice companion and then maybe the companion will protect her a little bit
Was typing almost exactly this lol.
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Was typing almost exactly this lol.
Lol Great minds think alike!
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How close are you to the person? I'm probably more apt to take the goat and help out the person.
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I’m a sucker for free stuff so the only thing that would slow me down is her problems. Are you willing to spend money on her if she gets sick all of the sudden? How much are you willing to spend? Are you going to breed her if she gets to a good weight and doesn’t have many (hopefully if any more) health scares? As far as introducing her to the herd, maybe try putting her with your gentlest goat (I’m thinking Champ) and then let her out into the rest of the herd at the same time you let the nice companion and then maybe the companion will protect her a little bit.
Was typing almost exactly this lol.
Haha, you two think like my husband. And he is also thinking the goat and the breeder need help and we can be that help. And he might be right. And yes, the unknown cost looms for sure. Even though that’s a big concern, it’s not my biggest one. It’s more, will I be able to keep the little one happy and get her healthy? And will my goats be big meanies? Lol.

It's such a temptation! She's really cute.
Here are couple thoughts I have about potential problwm goats. Do I want/need them enough to spend the extra time and money I could be putting into my healthy goats or other projects? Is it fair to my other animals to possibly let some of their needs slide to care for the weak one? Only you can answer those questions.
If she is truly stunted, she may not be breedable. Or she may be an ongoing maintenance problem. Or she could pull out of it with time and care.
One thing I will say: the high maintenance goats will teach you a lot and force you to research problems and come up with solutions. I have learned a lot from my problem animals. :)
True about the learning. And good point on her possibly being stunted permanently. The breeder already asked she not be bred until she’s 2. And I agree. And that’s if she’s physically ready. And your comment of is it fair to the other animals is a huge concern for me, probably my biggest one. Also, right now, the herd is having fun and hanging out all together for the majority of the day everyday (boys wearing aprons), and I’m not sure that could continue if I add a doeling.

How close are you to the person? I'm probably more apt to take the goat and help out the person.
We’ve never met but when I found out there was breeder near me in the middle of nowhere, I reached out to her (just a few months ago when I was looking for a buck). Even though she didn’t have what I was looking for, we’ve messaged each other quite a bit and she’s offered to help when my does kid or kids need disbudding and things like that. Wanting to help someone who needs it is probably the biggest push I have to take the doeling.


I appreciate all the insight from you all. I’m sort of hoping she ends up finding someone else who wants her so my decision will be made for me. This wee one is still on the bottle and I’ve never bottle fed, so that too makes me nervous.
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Wow, I wish someone would offer me a free doeling with that kind of udder behind her! (Apparently if it was me, I'd take her. 😅)

I guess you have to ask yourself, are you game for taking on some potential trouble. If she's had coccidia and pneumonia, she could have some lasting issues she'd need help to recover from. For example, she might have gut damage from the coccidia that could make her a hard keeper. That's just an example.

I'm sure with the forum's help we could guide you on how to bottle feed her. So I wouldn't worry about that too much. That's a skill that would be nice to learn how to do eventually anyway.

Since the breeder tests for CAE and as long as you feel like you can trust her, I see no reason not to go for it!
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I would take her in a heart beat. The owner sounds like she trusts and respects you.
Everytime I bring in a new doeling, they are checked out by all my others. In about a week, shes not new anymore.
Ive had cocci & Bp in my kids before. They werent stunted nor slower than the others. Yes they take time to recover, but any goat is at that risk.
Its just a question do you want her or not? Whatever you choose is right for you.
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Also, right now, the herd is having fun and hanging out all together for the majority of the day everyday (boys wearing aprons), and I’m not sure that could continue if I add a doeling.
In a few months rut season will be approaching. The dynamics of the herd will be changing in ways you've not had the opportunity to possibly experience yet. There will be temperament changes within your herd when the hormones start wanting to flirt and dance the tango. Approximately what age will the doeling be during that time? Would she be old enough to experience her first cycle this fall? Sometimes when love is in the air, it can stimulate the hormones of the others like a domino effect.
This wee one is still on the bottle and I’ve never bottle fed, so that too makes me nervous.
Bottle babies are different than dam raised babies of any species. They become imprinted with the human that rears them and have a more difficult time picking up on and reading the visual clues of their on type. Unfortunately, a bottle baby has more of a challenge integrating into an existing herd of totally unfamiliar and/or unrelated members.

They can become extremely bonded and attached to their human parent to the point they can have a more in your face personality than any of your other goats. Could you deal with a clingy goat for a while until she learns how to goat within the structures of an established herd? Would this young doeling readily accept a feeding from someone else?

Here are my concerns FizzyGoats, Champ took Briar under his wing and this is exactly what I experienced with my boys. I don't want to ruffle any feathers by saying that girls are far more touchy with their personalities. Who would be a safe companion for this little one? Your youngest and smallest is the buckling Briar, though he is housed with Champ and they live in the stag area when not out browsing. Maybe not a good option to house her with the boys even though they are sweet and good natured. The least submissive girl may use the little doeling as a means to up her rank, the most dominant may oust her from the get go for a while simply because she's different in the way she understands the herd dynamics. She could be the odd goat out for an extended amount of time and that she is starting out on the small size could make things more problematic.

Do you have another pen to put a bottle baby into and a way to let her have some free time in the pasture and such, separate from the other goats for a while? Were your future plans aimed towards adding more doelings to the herd eventually? If this young one didn't work out, couldn't integrate within the herd, was unsuitable for breeding later on, had continual health issues, ect., would you be able to or allowed to rehome her?
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Bottle feeding doesn’t last forever- and I bet she’d catch up and do great with some extra creep feed. I think I’d go for it 😅
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I think that if you know what you are getting into as far as possible future costs then go for it. If she doesn’t work out then maybe you could find another home for her. I am also like you in this way, helping someone out.
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[mention]MellonFriend [/mention] It is a unique opportunity. And there’s always that chance that like you mentioned, she could go either way. Might get it over it and be a great goat. Might have issues for her entire life and be the “problem” goat. I do like the dam’s FF udder. It won’t win prizes, but it looks pretty good to me. My only real hesitations are herd dynamics (right now, they are soooo good) and will I know enough to give the little one the best chance at growing to her full potential.

[mention]Moers kiko boars [/mention] That’s true. Any goat is a risk. I guess I really have to answer the question of wanting her or not. I love goats and baby goats are even better. I just don’t know if bringing one in right now is good for the herd or the possible new addition. You just have to go and ask the sensible questions, don’t you? Lol.


[mention]NigerianNewbie [/mention] Thank you for that insightful and thoughtful response. And you’re right. Dynamics changes are about to hit that I’ve never experienced. The doeling is only 2 months old. I’m not even considering housing her with the bucks. They are sweet but the situation presents chances I’m just not willing to take. I do have an empty but small stall on the does side that Archer (LGD) slept in when we first got him. And I do have options to let her out on separate pastures that are decent sized all day for grazing and running around. I just hate to think of a lonely goat, especially a baby, wandering around a pasture without a friend. Though it’s definitely preferable to getting bullied, but hopefully you know what I’m saying, it’s not ideal. While I don’t think my does would care about being separated if I put one with her, I also don’t think they’d bond to her like Champ did to Briar. That was just strange and special and seems more likely with bucks than does. The only bottle baby on this farm is Champ. And he is a sweetheart but I did have to lay down some fast, firm rules for him right in the beginning because he was a bit ‘in your face’ at first, so I can see what you mean about that. Lucky for me, he understood quickly what the rules were and adapted right away. And I believe various people have been bottle feeding while the breeder had her medical issues, so as far as I know, the doeling will accept bottles from others. And I really didn’t have plans to add does for a long time. Not even to retain any from the first kiddings. And if I take this doeling, she really doesn’t want me selling her, at least not any time soon. She doesn’t want her to have to keep adjusting and keep changing places, and that is completely understandable. So I’d need to discuss that particular caveat in more detail with her. Thank you for giving voice to a lot of good things for me to consider.

[mention]Boer Mama [/mention] I love the can-do attitude! Lol. Thank you.

[mention]KY Goat Girl [/mention] Yes, helping the breeder out is a huge positive point of getting her, for sure.


I messaged the breeder about my concerns of Jellybean being the only goat that age here and fitting in with a small, close knit herd and asked if she had any thoughts or concerns on that. I haven’t heard back yet. I want to be completely honest with her what it’ll be like if I take the doeling because I know she only cares about finding the best place for her. I am not sure I am it or not. I will let you all know how this unfolds.
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The whole way I ended up with trying a boer in with my herd was an idea that ended up by a vet friend knowing a breeder that had a doe refuse one of her babies. She was going to have issues if not taken and bottle raised . So when I got her as a bottle baby she lived in the house at night in a large dog crate, she got litter box trained with the cats until she was fully accepted by the hed. I would take her out through the day with the herd and she would follow then around with me with her. She did very well with the slow introduction and did great. She was the runt too. You never know what you will end up with unless you try. Nothing wrong with trying it and if she gets to be too much you could always contact her back and she may be able to help find another home for her if it comes to it.
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Yes, helping the breeder out is a huge positive point of getting her, for sure.
Are there other things you could do towards lending a helping hand? Cook a meal, help with some goat chores, weed her garden, those type of things?
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I mean…I would definitely take her lol. But I’ve also had a few “free” cats end up costing $500, so sometimes things seem better then they are. If you get her I would watch her VERY closely and be ready for problems since she is a weaker one. Another thing you may consider, since I remember you saying you eventually want more does, this could be a good way to get in touch more breeders around you!

The only big issue I see is her being so young and having no friends that age. I’m assuming (you may have already said this) that you will bottle feed her for a while? If you, you could introduce her to your other does a few times a day, under controlled conditions and since she’ll see you as mama she shouldn’t wander to far or get into to much trouble with the others if your there with her. If you feel that things are getting edgy with the bigger does, whip out a bottle and she’ll come running lol!
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[mention]DDFN [/mention] I really waffle back and forth on getting her, and the never knowing unless I try thing does pop in mind often so it’s funny you mentioned it. I love how your boer ended up in your herd. That’s really sweet.

[mention]NigerianNewbie [/mention] Those are wonderful suggestions. She lives with a large extended, multi generational family that helps her out a lot with those things. She is the “goat person” though and is not worried about family helping out with all the others (including this doeling’s twin sister who she retained) she just wants to make sure she gets the doeling to someone who will watch her as closely as she has and who can put the time needed in to her. I still am not sure if that is me or not. I can put time in to her, but I can’t make my goats like her if they don’t. And then that will make for one unhappy little goat and one unhappy me.

[mention]Goatastic43 [/mention] Oh, I’ve spent thousands on my “free” animals over the years. I know a free goat isn’t cheap. Hahaha. And yes, I would bottle feed her for a while, probably until she’s either 20 lbs or 16 weeks old, whichever comes first (and for her, it seems like the age will come first). My biggest concern is also about her not having any friends her age. I don’t want her bullied. I don’t want my fairly sweet, docile group to turn in to jerks. And since Jellybean is already a fragile little thing, I don’t want her even more stressed than leaving her home farm will already make her if my goats are mean. I can keep her in a safe space at first until they all get used to each other, but I don’t want her forever being the odd goat out.




The breeder and I are going to meet up in person when she’s feeling a bit better. I invited her to come here and see my set up and herd and we can discuss if this could be a good situation or not. If she doesn’t feel up to coming here, she said I can come to her farm. That’s actually a pretty big deal because she doesn’t usually allow visitors because she has very strict bio security policy.
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I’m a sucker for free goats as well… I’d take her in a heartbeat if I knew I had the means for another mouth to feed, and possible medical stuff to be consider… As far as her and the existing herd getting a long, it may take some time, then I’ve had ones that fit right in immediately….
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[mention]janeen128 [/mention] I wish we had a crystal ball we could look in and tell if a goat would fit in. That would make things so much easier. It’s good to hear yours did eventually fit in, if not right away.


This brings me to a more specific question for you all. Have you ever successfully added a single doeling (no other goat her age, no buddy) to a group of adult does that have been together since birth? Did they accept her?
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