Rejection during Quarantine.....
We are all living in a new normal, but the goats are unaware that anything has changed. Their lives remain mostly the same, enjoying the newfound sunshine, preparing for kidding, milking and raising their kids in this brave new world. Part of this is preparing this next generation of goats for safe ownership, breeding, and showing, when the world goes back to normal. This means that kids that are born will need to be dis-budded when their horns are ready, waiting longer can cause painful scurs and lifelong horns. As you may know if you follow our farm we had triplets born two weeks ago, and the buckling was ready to have his horns disbudded last Thursday. We proceeded to have our newest little buckling disbudded and we did not worry, because last year Zoey did not have a single problem with her kids being disbudded. Well, this year was different, we presented her buckling to her butt first, but while they were out grazing together after the procedure Zoey tried headbutting him away.
We immediately jumped into action to try to get Zoey to accept him. We got our vicks out and put it on Zoey's nose and is head and tail, along with his siblings heads and tails, but to no avail. Zoey was aggressively head butting her buckling and I was worried she was going to hurt him. I tried holding him and letting her smell him, putting her milk on him, and nothing worked. We ended up putting her on the stanchion and it took my husband and I both to hold her so he could nurse. She was kicking with both back feet dancing around and biting him. We tried for hours to get her to accept him and finally decided to separate the kids from Zoey and try to allow him to be the one to relieve her in the morning. I anguished over the right decision, should I bring him in and bottle feed him,or should I make her continue to feed him and keep him only with his siblings?
The next morning we made some progress and allowed him to nurse while I held her just by her collar. So I thought that we would keep him with his siblings and continue to let him live with his family since his mother's aggressive behaviors were reducing. I had resolved to putting Zoey on the stand at least 4 times a day to allow him to nurse, but by the morning of day 3, I noticed her aggression was gone, so I allowed the babies to sleep in their stall with the door open, so he could get away from his mother's aggressive behavior if it came to that. The following morning I went to put her on the stand to allow him to eat, and he took two sips and ran away. I grabbed him and tried again, and the same thing occurred. I felt his belly which felt full of milk, so I was hopeful that she once again was allowing him to nurse. Later that day I watched her sniff him and calmly allow him to nurse. I am glad that we were persistent at keeping him on her milk, and trying to get her to take him back, I am confident that was the right thing to do. I am worried when we disbudd the girls here in a week or so that we will encounter the same issue, but only time will tell. Stay happy, healthy and safe! Remember, persistence pays off and Happy Goating!