Goat Kids Galore


What a week! For almost a month now I’ve been wishing and wishing for our goats to give birth. Watching the signs, checking the girls, hoping, fretting, worrying. Trying to make them comfortable in every way I know to make a goat comfortable. And then…all at once the floodgates opened and baby goats are everywhere!!! 3 of our 4 pregnant does gave birth within the same 24 hours. It was a combination of adrenaline, exhaustion and beauty.  

Goat Kids

But now we have ourselves in a fine how-do-you-do. For some reason, all three does rejected their babies. Our vet said that “sometimes these things happen”, but the logical side of me wants to know why. I feel it is too coincidental for there not to be an explanation, perhaps something we can do differently? But then again, maybe it is just nature or bad luck like the vet said and I’m trying to make sense of something that has no answer…or maybe just not to us humans. Here is our story.  

We bred 1 Angora doe, 2 Nubians, and an Alpine last fall. We’ve been raising goats going on 4 years now, but this is our second year kidding. Last year we bred two of our Angora does. The first birth went beautifully. The doe (Knit) gave birth, cleaned her doeling (Beatrix) and after a short rest, got her up and began nursing. It was amazing!

Our other angora doe (Purl) gave birth, cleaned her buckling (Ichabod) and then ignored him. Ichabod chased his mother for hours trying to nurse. Each time Purl would flare her ears at him and bolt to the opposite side of the pen. This went on until poor little Ichabod was exhausted and gave up trying. We ended up milking her and feeding it back to him. He lived with his mother, aunt and sister in the barn but took the bottle from us.

Many a goat person told me that this was classic behavior for a first timer, and that if we bred her again, chances are, she would accept the next kid.

JEanne Peters
3/12/2013 4:49:27 PM

We've had some experience with does rejecting thier kids. In our situation, those does had been hand-raised themselves and didn't seem to understand good mom behavior. The problem is, we would have to hand-raise those rejected kids and created another generation prone to rejecting their babies. Not always, but often. to break the cycle, we'd try to place the new moms with older, more experienced moms so they could witness the nursing/care involved. Thankfully, it's relatively easy to milk the mothers and feed the babies and keep the herd together. ALso, keep family groups together, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, aunts, etc. and let them teach each other. Good Luck!

3/12/2013 3:57:09 PM

Hi Nebraska Dave! No :( unfortunately we can't keep them all. So, so, so wish we could! We're waiting to see what Esther produces and then make the tough decision to see who will go to a new home. One of my readers suggested that it might be because our dams were also bottle fed. Which does make sense. So I'm leaning on that for now. Thanks so much! Hope you have a wonderful spring!!!

3/12/2013 1:36:25 PM

Jennifer, sorry to hear about your bonding issues. It does seem strange that all the moms have rejected their babies. Some times there's just no answer for what happens in nature. Hopefully, you last doe will be a good mom and show the others what they are supposed to be doing. Are you going to keep all those goats? You're developing quite a herd. Have a great and joy filled kid feeding day.

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