I got three bottle baby goats from a local dairy last week. Two are feeding well and thriving. The third doeling is a disaster. The farmer told me that she had had "minor" trouble learning to drink. She had been tube fed for her first two days of life but was drinking well out of a rubber lamb-style nipple. I gradually transitioned them from the goat milk/milk replacer mixture she was feeding to a whole milk/buttermilk/evaporated milk "formula".
This poor baby has major feeding issues. After trying every nipple out there including the Pritchard and human baby nipples I decided she seemed best on natural rubber lamb nipples. I tried all the tricks I know from feeding reticent bottle calves to no avail. She's just over 2 weeks now and has been here for 10 days. Some days she surprises me by chowing down an 8oz bottle all by herself without stopping. Other days you can put the nipple in her mouth and work her jaw for her and she still won't suck herself. I've taken to using a syringe to get enough into her to keep her from "crashing" and becoming too weak to eat.
Anyone ever seen anything like this before? I've dealt with babies who were initially reluctant eaters but they've all caught on within a day or two. Some observations: (1) She has trouble placing her tongue over her bottom teeth to get a good suction. (2) She looks bloated unless you massage her rumen during and after a meal. (Leaky valve into the nascent rumen letting milk in?). It takes hours to feed her most days which is hardly ideal with me being a single mom and farmer. I don't want to lose her, either. But I'm lucky getting more than 4oz down her 4 times a day. I'm calling the vet in the morning but thought I'd ask around for ideas. Thanks!