Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baby Goat Questions!

Luna's first full day has been full of fun. She likes to frolic about in the hay. She climbs on the piles of it already, as if she is a little alpine goat. When I pick her up for a cuddle, she is very strong, and will squirm about for a while before settling down for a pat. I like that because it shows me she is healthy and active.

I have a couple of questions. First, I notice that she only seems to nurse on the right hand side. The left side keeps getting very full of milk. We used the Udderly E-Z hand milker on Stuffin twice today because the one side was so full. The teat is not plugged. Is it normal for her to only nurse on one side, or at least to prefer one side? Will this change as she gets older? Right now we are keeping the milk in the fridge for her, but she does seem to be getting enough based on her energy level, and she wasn't interested in bottle feeding earlier today when we tried, so we think she's getting enough.

She butts her head against the udder quite vigorously every time she starts to nurse! Why does she do this?

Some people seem to advocate various shots for new baby goats, and others do not. What shots do you personally think we should absolutely provide? What is optional, and why do you feel the way you do about shots?

We are so excited about this first baby on our farm, and anxious to do the right things for her. Thanks for any and all advice!


kristi said...

I always give a BOSE injection after they are born followed up by a CD&T shot. Singles sometimes concentrate on one side so you may have to occassional strip out the other side because you do not want mastitis to set in. After you see her nursing, check to see how full her belly is and that should give some indication of how much milk she is getting. It sounds like she is doing just fine!!

Carol Bator said...

I am not sure why Luna only nurses from one side. I would expect her to learn that the other side gives milk too.

Head butting the udder is normal. This stimulates milk flow.

Luna really should not need a bottle. The only reason to bottle feed is if the mother rejects her (which she has not) or if the mother is sick.

Milking to relieve excessive pressure is OK if the doe is over producing, but don't take too much milk out or she will continue to over produce. Milk production increases with perceived demand, and decreases when the udder is not emptied.

Stuffin may be producing enough milk for twins. Luna cannot keep up with it. It may take a few days for supply and demand to even out.

Vaccinations would be a good thing to discuss with your veterinarian. Recommendations vary a little bit depending on the diseases in different areas of the country. Also, if Stuffin is up to date on her vaccinations, Luna should not need to be vaccinated until she is 4 to 6 weeks old since she will receive antibodies from the colostrum (first milk) from her mother. But if Stuffin is not up to date on her vaccinations, you may want to start Luna's vaccinations earlier. Luna will need a booster shot within a certain time frame after receiving her first vaccination shot in order to develop full immunity, and then annual booster shots to maintain immunity. (I really do recommend talking to your veterinarian to find out what is recommended for you animals.)

Mike W. said...

It's normal for a newborn kid to get full nursing on one side. She will start nursing from the other side too.

It is also a good idea to freeze some of the first milk so you have colostrum on-hand if you need it in the future.

She will butt her head against the udder to get the mama to let down the milk. This is normal. (Calves and sheep do this too.)

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

It is not uncommon for a single kid to only want to nurse from one side at first. This can be a pain because as you have found out the other side fills up and the doe's udder gets lop-sided. I would imagine it could be an invite for mastitis if left that way too.

What I do when a kid does this is I tape up the kid's favorite side. It won't take the kid long to start using the other side. (milk out the taped up side if it gets too full). Once the kid is nursing from that side you can try taking the tape off. She should figure out to nurse both sides very quickly.

You will get different answers with the vaccines. People do what works best for their farm. But if Stuffin has had her vaccinations and boosters she should pass those antibodies to her baby for the first weeks of its life. I give our kids their first shots at 6 to 8 weeks old, then their booster shots 3 weeks later.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

I'm so glad Stuffin and Luna are doing well! I used to butt my mom very hard when I drank and would lift her off the ground sometimes! My lady would tell me that wasn't nice but my mom put up with it most of the time. hee hee

Nancy K. said...

You're getting good advice, Claire. I agree that if Stuffin is current on her vaccines, Luna is protected for the first 8 weeks. It's not advisable to give CDT shots prior to 8 weeks because it can actually interfere with the natural protection provided by the dame's milk.

Luna may very well have a preferred side for nursing. As she gets bigger, she'll hop from one side to the other quite handily....


HEY! Where's the pictures?????

Mom L said...

Wow - you have an encyclopedia of goat knowledge out there! What fabulous people to take the time to give you all that information! I'm just happy that I've even petted young dwarf goats in the past! And held and bottle fed a Barbados sheep baby.

I wonder if a human baby's kneading mama's breast while nursing equates to the goat kid head-butting? Wow, THAT'S a memory dredged up from 39 years ago!!!

OK, I've gotta give some kind of advice: just love her like you already are!!!


Mrs. Olsen said...

Hi. I also have baby goat questions. Hopefully people are still reading this post and can help. My first every goat just had twins. It was exciting, and they seem to be doing well. They both kind of nursed. That is to say that they sucked for a few seconds, and seemed eager, but now they are sleeping. What can I expect this first day? Are they going to sleep a lot? Or should they be more interested in nursing (in which case I might worry). Sometimes human babies try to sleep too much and you have to wake them up to nurse...

Clearly I need advice...I am like a new mother myself!