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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, I've been lurking and learning here but I have a problem and hope to get some advice, and hope this is in the right forum.

We have a doe who kidded four days ago with triplets. She has one normal teat but the other is very fat, hangs quite low down and the babies won't go near it. The triplets are all alert and seem to be doing okay, but I'm worried they won't be able to get enough milk all nursing from the one teat.

This doe is fairly wild and I have to wait until my husband comes home each evening to help me catch her, so we've only been able to milk the fat teat down once a day. I had hoped that the babies would be able to latch onto it once it gets soft, and start using it, but they're not even taking any notice of it.

While we hold her, I've tried to get a little one interested in the big teat but sadly they seem to have some of their mother's wildness and they start screaming as soon as I try to hold them near the teat, and then the doe is freaking out and so it's mission aborted.

If we continue milking the fat teat, what are the chances the kids will start to use it at some point? Or would it be best to take two of the kids and bottle feed them? I feel that it's getting to the stage where we have to decide before it's an even harder battle to get them onto the bottle. Of course, having the doe influence her kids to be wild like her (unless we bottle feed) is in the back of our minds, but I want to do what's best for the babies and for her. Any advice is much appreciated, thank you.
 

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A smaller pen is a good idea to reduce the stress of catching her. I would Keep working with the kids to take the other teat. Can try a little honey to entice them. (wipe it clean after working with the kids) As the kids get bigger they may be able to nurse on the large side. Keep milking that side out, maybe help the kids learn to take it in a bottle.
 
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Depending on how ballooned the teat is, they may never be able to latch on.
Can you get a pic of it?

I would bottle feed her milk, to her kids who need it.
Basically, you have bottle babies for that side, if she is bad.

Good job, milking her, if that isn't done, she would get mastitis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes she's in a small stall, so it's not that hard to catch her, but I'm not able to catch and hold her and milk her by myself. It's a three person job, one to hold her, one to hand feed her treats so she's occupied and calm, and one to milk. Here's a pic of the big teat. The babies are a lot smaller than they look in the photo.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok. So she has a blown teat.
Thank you, yes I thought that might be. Her good teat used to look like that also, perhaps not quite as fat, but pretty bad and very low hanging, and now it's gone to normal size and sitting right up there. So I guess I was hoping that this teat would become normal if the babies would only use it.

Is there a reason why teats get blown like this? Can it fix itself or is there any way to help it? We've never milked her, and she came to us pregnant, but I don't know what happened to her before she came to us. Yes a milk stand would be a good addition for times like these! I don't see us milking regularly as they're really just pets, but it would make hoof trimming easier I think!

I'm not sure this doe would ever train to be okay on a stand though. She is so wild, it's taken me a year to get her to the point where she'll eat a treat out of my hand and allow me to touch her for a moment while she takes it, before she runs away. Her sister who arrived with her became tame after about three or four months, but this girl just won't have it that we're not evil and out to get her! It's so sad for me because I love her, and she's the only goat in our little herd that isn't able to be handled.
 

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Make sure there is no mastitis in that big side. I see some suspicious-looking redness in the first photo that makes me think she may have something going on there. Feel for heat, tenderness, and lumpiness in the udder. Also you should be able to get a mastitis test at the feed store to check for subclinical mastitis. I've had kids learn to nurse on very large teats, but they won't nurse if the milk tastes "off". The one side will definitely not be enough for all three kids and I think training them to the bottle now would be a good idea just in case that one side of the udder never works out. Also, if the mom is wild, feeding bottles is the best way to teach the kids to be friendly. You don't want four wild goats you can't catch or work with!

I'll bet if you get a stanchion and train your doe that it is the only place where she gets to eat grain and treats, she'll learn to jump up there on her own and then she'll tame down considerably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you :) Yes it does look red in that photo... I'm not sure if it was a smear of birth matter? I'm almost certain it doesn't look red normally, and it milks out just fine, but you're right, I do need to check her udder to make sure. I'm annoyed with myself that I hadn't already thought of it.

I told my husband about the stanchion and he says he'd like to have a try at making one!
 

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I doubt it’s truly blown if the other side did the same thing. Milk her out then tape the other teat well so the kids are forced to use the big side while it’s soft. The longer you wait the harder it’ll be to get the kids to change their preference. I would be sure to milk her out every 12 hours over the weekend (if you don’t work) and keep the good side taped every other 12 hours. So tape it in the morning (this is the best time as kids nurse more during the day) and then un-tape that evening and milk it out then leave it overnight for the kids.
It’s a lot of work but way less in the long run to get the kids on that side than to have to keep milking her and bottling kids. She’ll also be at lower risk for mastitis or blowing out that whole half of her udder as well as the teat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks CB, I would much prefer to have them nurse from her. Every morning I go to see them, I hope that they've starting nursing from the big teat. This morning it's obvious they're still not using that side.

I was able to check her udder for lumps and heat but I think everything is feeling okay and her fat teat isn't red. But this morning her udder is gigantic. (The three babies have quite fat bellies even though they're feeding from only one side!) The side with the fat teat is kind of hanging down with the weight of it all. The teat looks like it's about an inch from the ground, and it's on the ground when she pees... and we've had so much rain there's mud everywhere. I feel anxious that this is a mastitis just waiting to happen. :( She makes so much milk, and that is scary if the babies aren't able to take it!

I hate that they're all running from us like scared rabbits, and we'd almost decided to pull two of the babies and bottle them. But we'll try a couple of days of taping the good teat and hope that solves the problem. We'll just have to work harder on handling them if they stay with her and we don't bottle them. Apart from this teat problem, she's the best mother we've ever had, so patient and loving to her babies. I'm doing a search now for what tape to use, and my husband is looking up stanchion plans! Thanks to everyone for your advice and encouragement!
 

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All good advice.

You know, that teat doesn't look horribly huge or distorted, like others I have seen.
They may be able to nurse from it if you work at it, to get a kid to latch on.

It may be worth a try, it may take work, but keep at it.
 

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An engorged udder is definitely a mastitis risk and kids aren't inclined to drink if the udder is very tight. You'll need to milk that side down a bit and tape off the "good" side to get those kids working on it. The kids may not nurse that side on their own even with the one teat taped off. If that happens, wait six hours or so until the kids are good and hungry, then have someone hold mama while you hold the kids up one at a time to nurse that side. Since they're wild they'll kick and squirm at first, but if they're hungry the instinct to look for milk will help settle them. Hopefully the other two kids will watch the first one so they figure it out quicker. If they see one kid suckling they may even come over and try to get in on the action.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for the tutorial link and the taping advice. I really appreciate all the help! I have an update and it's not a really good one.

When we went this morning to tape her teat, we found that the good teat had enlarged. Not so fat as the big teat, but definitely a cone shape happening. We thought babies maybe hadn't had a feed for a while, so we waited. They nursed, taking turns on the good teat, but the good teat was still enlarged after all three had suckled, so I was too scared to tape it. I watched her through the day. The babies are still nursing only from the 'good' teat, but I can see they're having some difficulty latching onto it now as well. Yet they are all running and jumping around and when I pick them up their tummies feel full enough.

By this evening, the good teat is definitely looking more like the fat teat - not as big or low hanging, but a lot fatter than it was this morning! I'm not sure what's happening, there didn't seem to be any lumps, heat or redness in the teat or udder. Mama goat is quite happy to stand and let the babies nurse so I don't think the teat is painful.

Unfortunately catching the babies has become very difficult, and when they're outside of the stall, almost impossible. When we do manage to catch them, we sooth and cuddle, and they relax, but almost as if they're in shock. But then the next time we try, they're running from us again like wild hares. It took me 45 minutes on my own to herd the mama and all three babies back into the stall after their time outside, and that was with food and treats for mama. All our other goats just follow me and beg for all the love I can give them. We have tamed some untouchable goats, but have had no success with this one after a year. I feel so frustrated, and against my own philosophy about dam raised babies, I'm about ready to grab the three of them and try to turn them into bottle babies just so they don't end up wild like their mother. I know I probably sound like I'm losing the plot!
 

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Thank you for the tutorial link and the taping advice. I really appreciate all the help! I have an update and it's not a really good one.

When we went this morning to tape her teat, we found that the good teat had enlarged. Not so fat as the big teat, but definitely a cone shape happening. We thought babies maybe hadn't had a feed for a while, so we waited. They nursed, taking turns on the good teat, but the good teat was still enlarged after all three had suckled, so I was too scared to tape it. I watched her through the day. The babies are still nursing only from the 'good' teat, but I can see they're having some difficulty latching onto it now as well. Yet they are all running and jumping around and when I pick them up their tummies feel full enough.

By this evening, the good teat is definitely looking more like the fat teat - not as big or low hanging, but a lot fatter than it was this morning! I'm not sure what's happening, there didn't seem to be any lumps, heat or redness in the teat or udder. Mama goat is quite happy to stand and let the babies nurse so I don't think the teat is painful.

Unfortunately catching the babies has become very difficult, and when they're outside of the stall, almost impossible. When we do manage to catch them, we sooth and cuddle, and they relax, but almost as if they're in shock. But then the next time we try, they're running from us again like wild hares. It took me 45 minutes on my own to herd the mama and all three babies back into the stall after their time outside, and that was with food and treats for mama. All our other goats just follow me and beg for all the love I can give them. We have tamed some untouchable goats, but have had no success with this one after a year. I feel so frustrated, and against my own philosophy about dam raised babies, I'm about ready to grab the three of them and try to turn them into bottle babies just so they don't end up wild like their mother. I know I probably sound like I'm losing the plot!
Sorry her other teat is doin the same thing. Keep them in a stall so you dont have to chase. Chasing makes it worse sometimes and stresses everyone out.

If you feel like mom is making the kids neurotic then pull and bottle if that is what you feel is best. But keep in mind mom is still going to need milked twice a day at least. If you keep them in a stall and spend a lot of time with them you most likely can help the kids not be wild little things. It just takes lots of time and even more patience.
 
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