Thursday, January 20, 2011

Diapers for goat kids and lambs

Mimi Foxmorton, more officially known as The Goat Borrower, asked about diapers in her comment on the last post that my lady did here on the blog.  I knew, when I saw that question, that it was my duty as a former house-goat to respond to Mimi's question, since I am so experienced in this matter.  Without further ado, I shall present to you the truth about diapers and house-goats (also house-sheep).  This picture below is Marshmallow on her second day of life, already showing her ability to wear a diaper and still look indignant.
The answer to whether they work is a resounding yes, at least from the human point of view.  As some of you who may have had experiences with bottle baby animals know, sometimes bottle milk makes us have a little bit of an unsettled digestive system early in life.  Sometimes we can even be that way on our Mum's milk.  So the fact is, we may have...well...sticky-poo.  From the human standpoint, sticky-poo is bad.  It is especially bad on carpets.  Thus, the humans feel that the diaper "does the trick" in helping with the potential mess. Usually the mess is only for a couple of weeks and then it gets much easier.  In the meantime, you can allow your little one access to carpeted areas.
Even under your desk!
My lady says that girls are easier than boys.  She says all the "equipment" is at the back end on girls, but on boys, the diaper will work for sticky-poo, but may not reach along under their belly far enough to catch their water spigot, so to speak.  She says boys sometimes need a second diaper in the form of a "belly band" that will manage their spigot.  Dear me, this is very complicated!  This is me on my first day in the house in my diaper.  At that point, I was not all that skilled at walking yet.  You can see the iodine stain from where my umbrella cord was dipped.  The umbrella cord kept me attached to my mom when I was inside her.  All babies have an umbrella cord and then later, they have a belly button.
In any case, my lady says that the other aspect to be considered is the cutting of the tail hole.  She says if your bottle baby has quite serious sticky-poo, it might be better not to cut a tail hole, because there could be some escaping of stickiness around the hole.  She says if your bottle baby has moved on to the more solid phase, the tail hole is ideal.  Here is Marshmallow at about 6 weeks of age or so.  She was much bigger and still a good diaper candidate.
Here I am when I was a little older, exploring the office desk.  See how nicely the diaper stays on?!

My lady and I have developed the following easy 5-step program to diapering your goat kid or lamb.

Ingredients:
  • one goat kid or lamb needing to be diapered
  • one diaper (size depends on size of kid or lamb, I have used newborn through size 5)
  • baby wipes (for goat/kid as well as walls, counters, sink, etc)
  • clean and dry towel, hand towel size is best
  • time (Do not try to do this in a rush, it will backfire.  Trust us on this)
  • bathroom, preferably with lidded diaper pail handy
  • old apron of some sort
  • patience (love your kid/lamb, they may get squiggly)
Instructions:

1.  Approach your subject calmly and pick them up.  They will start to notice if you do the changing at the same time every day.  My lady says I began to wail as soon as she picked me up at diaper changing time, but not at other times.  She said I could also tell as soon as we headed to the human bathroom.  At this point, holding an otherwise calm and well-behaved kid or lamb may become the equivalent of holding a greased piglet.  Be firm.  My lady recommends wearing an old kitchen apron for this procedure.

2.  Human should sit on toilet (put lid down first, of course!) and put subject across their knees with the front legs on the right and the rear legs on the left.  This might be different if you're left handed, she said.  She isn't sure because she isn't left handed.  Undo tabs of previous diaper and remove carefully.  It is liable that the subject will begin wildly waving their tail at this point, causing the possible flinging of sticky-poo in multiple directions.  See point 1 regarding apron.  Also keep baby wipes handy (for the walls).  If your baby is not in sticky-poo stage, this step is much easier to manage.  Dispose of diaper and wipes.

3.  Lift subject under belly, putting their back towards your chest.  This puts back legs forward.  Grasp back legs with your left hand while resting tail/upper back area of subject on the edge of sink.  Keep firm grip on back legs (around ankle area) with the left hand while resting subject's back against your chest, and also using your right hand to gently clean subject's nether regions.  Expect loud wailing and carrying on by your subject at this point.  Do not make the water too hot or too cold.  Comfortable temperature is a must.  If necessary, use a mild shampoo for cleaning.  Ear plugs may be required at this stage if your subject is as vocal as I was when I was a goat kid.  My lady says that this, at first, will seem awkward and difficult.  It gets easier, she said, with repetition.  At all times while doing the cleaning part, make soft little cooing noises to your subject and assure them that their life is not in jeopardy.

4.  Following the cleaning part, grab clean towel and lift subject out of sink area, putting towel under bottom.  Re-seat yourself on the toilet (lid is still closed, of course) and put the subject back over your legs.  Finish drying subject and make a big fuss of them while they are on your lap.  Have clean diaper ready, with tail hole cut, or not, depending on sticky-poo status.  Spread out the side of the diaper with the tabs attached and lay it under subject's back end so that the tabs stick out on either side of subject.  Snug the other end of the diaper up over the back of subject.  Attach tabs FIRMLY despite any further squiggling of subject.  Subjects can be quite adept at flinging diapers hither and yon, if you do not attach them FIRMLY.  The diapers of modern manufacture have stretchy sides and accommodate fairly tight adjustment of the tabs without causing discomfort to the subject animal.

5.  Make enormous fuss of subject following new diaper placement.  Give treats or bottle.  More fuss.  Love them and hug them and play on the floor with them.  Be mindful of flingers, in which case you will have to repeat step 4 and 5.  Then go clean bathroom and sink.  Once you have this down to a routine, it is not that bad.  After the first few days, my lady was able to diaper me first in the morning, feed me, go feed the other animals, do her morning routine, change me again just before putting work clothes on, then come home by 5 pm and do a change, feeding, and then another change at about 10 pm.  I didn't mind except for the washing step, and that was only bad when I had sticky-poo.  After that got better (about 2 weeks) it was much less traumatic.

My lady would like to point out that since she doesn't have any children, she feels a strange compulsion every time she buys diapers or baby wipes, to inform the grocery store clerk  that these purchases are for her goat/lamb and not for a baby.  This has led to many interesting conversations and is an optional step in the process.  The first time she bought diapers, she bought size newborn, size 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, all at once, because she had no idea what would be needed.  As it turned out, they were all needed, over time, but the clerks have a tendency to give you the hairy eyeball when you buy 6 different sizes of diapers all at once.

The following picture is the very best reason why you should diaper your goat kid or lamb...snuggle time!!
And if you are REALLY lucky, you might get to snuggle in the bed!
Let us know if you have questions!

26 comments:

Pricilla said...

The male person would never allow this. You are one lucky goat Lucky Nickel

edenhills said...

Very nice. Someone should have told me about this when I have five bottle kids in the kitchen--that was one giant Clorox wipe-filled week.

Teresa

Michelle said...

I haven't had any bottle babies, but did find that adult-sized diapers worked very well on an adult Shetland ewe when I had to transport her in a finicky friend's truck! Still have a package of 'em minus one....

Brenda said...

What an awesome idea! Your explanation of how to change the diapers is very good. Thanks for the info!

Nancy K. said...

I LOVE the photos of you snuggling on the couch with the lambs and in bed! It's almost enough to make me want a bottle baby!

Almost.

But not quite...

;-)

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Excellent info and *adorable* photos! Thanks for sharing :)

Spinners End said...

Thanks for the amusing tutorial! Oh I would love to be at your house if you ever have another bottle baby....

;) Sherry

thecrazysheeplady said...

Too funny!!! Luckily we have a kitchen that we can completely block off when we have babies in the house.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Oh my goodness. What wonderful pictures! And a funny (as well as informative) step by step diapering process!

P.S. Michelle from Bleeding Espresso told me about these little diapered cuties. Would you mind if I borrowed a picture or two for my weekly feature called Goat Thing of the Day (with a link back to this post, of course).

Mimi Foxmorton said...

Oh god....I just laughed out loud a dozen times while reading this!
Most excellent! (and informative!)

I bought the newborn size at the moment.
And I know what you mean about 'telling'...when I bought the rosebud towel last night I felt the need to 'tell' the clerk and then whip out pictures! ;)

Thanks for a very cool blog!
xox
~Mimi

Marnax said...

I want to snuggle baby goats!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Oh, Lucky Nickel, your lady is the best and most tolerant of ladies! What a job! Tee hee. I think you were very cute with your walking difficulty and of course Marshmallow is very cute (for a sheep). My lady is very glad she doesn't have to deal with sticky goatie poo flying around the house! xxxx oooo

Verde Farm said...

That picture sold me! I would LOVE to have a beautiful little goat or sheep in my house to snuggle in bed. This is a great idea!! I must try it. Thanks for the tip Nickel :)

icephoenix said...

OMG I KNEW IT!

ok... now... do they just automatically move onto more solid waste or is it like a human baby, you have to change the diet?

Fabulous, by the way...

icephoenix said...

OMG I KNEW IT!

ok... now... do they just automatically move onto more solid waste or is it like a human baby, you have to change the diet?

Fabulous, by the way...

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Icephoenix - they move on to more solid waste (in my experience) as they start to ingest more hay. They start nosing around in the hay at just a few days old, and by the end of a week or so, are actually eating it. Mostly when they are on mom's milk, they don't have as much problem with the solid waste (i.e. it's more solid!) That tells me that the powder mix stuff isn't really all it should be, but it's the best I can do unless I have another mom whom I can milk out for extra...

icephoenix said...

there's always the more questionable...
http://medelabreastpumpreview.net/15-women-who-breast-feed-animals/

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Wowsers!!! Who knew?! I think I'll pass on that one though! I'd have to get pregnant in order to manage that, and that's not on my to-do list!!

My Life Under the Bus said...

Hahaha - Ironically Boy humans have an uncanny ability to pee out their diapers - really not so different!

icephoenix said...

*laughs and cries* indeed... especially in 'self discovery' mode... *points at the 2yr old*

cardiogirl @ cardiogirl.net said...

This was my favorite part:

"Be mindful of flingers, in which case you will have to repeat step 4 and 5."

You are a much better woman than I. Loved your five steps. (Here via Nanny Goats in Panties.)

tera said...

Also here via NGIP...I have to laugh, not just at the (super!) cute pictures but because the instructions sound suspiciously like trying to change my nephew! He is extremely squiggly and uncooperative! :)

CJMarselis said...

I use Men's Medium Depends for my Southdown wethers. Bob wears Red "Flash" underpants on top! We have a 3 month old - Guinness - who is now getting used to his diapers.

Bob is1 and still comes in at night to hang out with us. He also goes on walks, car rides, and community evens. Guinness was riding in the cart at the Agway on Saturday. He was wearing dog diapers but they are getting too small. I'm going to see about large "pull ups".

I haven't had much success with covering the winkie and the bum bum simultaneously.

Anita & Brad said...

Oh my, I have a little Kiko doeling in diapers right now! Abigail the Adorable is in the newborn size and I cut down the back of the diaper to allow for her tail. I then use sports tape to secure it all firmly so she can't wiggle the tail vent down. I was so pleased with myself that I had her fuzzy rear covered! She promptly did her little squat and wizzed a huge puddle on my kitchen floor. Nothing like being humbled by a newborn kid with a pint sized bladder! lol

Now after 3 weeks, I have mastered the art of kid diapering. I am using the across-the-lap method you so delightfully described. Love the pics!

Jordan Wolfe said...

We have a six-week old lamb that the mother rejected and we have been keeping her inside, bottle-feeding her and putting diapers on her so she could wander around the house. We brought some grain and hay in from outside but she seems to chew on everything but the food we give her. We've tried to put food in her mouth and mixing it with milk to get her to eat it to no avail. How did you start weening your lambs?

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Jordan - they seem to wean at different times and it's hard to make them do it if they're not ready. Mine, luckily, have started nosing around in hay fairly early, and then they move on to grain after that. I have heard of people who get down on hands and knees and chew on bits of hay, because the lamb takes cues from the human caretakers. If you have other lambs, or even adult sheep, and you can expose the lamb to them during feeding time, she is more likely to become curious about what they are doing, and investigate the feed. If it's adult sheep, you could keep her separated with a fence or barrier of some kind to keep her safe but allow her to view them - depends on the personalities of your sheep and if they are pushy or aggressive at all. She could go with other lambs directly without being hurt. The more time she spends with other sheep or lambs, the more she will behave like them.