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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!

llyford says 2017-04-26 10:58:57 (CST)

my guess she had problems hung up during birth and may have some brain damage sorry may not improve

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Wanderosa says 2017-04-29 08:21:24 (CST)

The wife said they monitor carefully because they want to remove the kids before they have a chance to suckle. She pulls and dries each kid herself. You would think that she would have gotten the kid out before it hung up or at least mentioned it if she hadn't been able to. But who knows. People gloss over the truth all the time.

At any rate, the baby seems to have fallen into a pattern of eating like a longshoreman for one day and not as much the next. Likes it best if I pick her up while she eats. I've also noticed she tends to eat most towards the end of the day. She does normal baby goat activities - runs and plays and grazes - albeit with less intensity than the others.

The vet is coming Friday to show me how to disbud them and will take a look at her then. If it looks like something she won't outgrow we'll have to consider if it's kinder to have her put down.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Wanderosa says 2017-06-01 20:26:01 (CST)

Realized I hadn't updated:

Called the vet out when the little girl became bloated and in acute distress within 30 seconds of finishing a bottle. Vet didn't think it could be totally attributed to floppy kid syndrome but treated it as such because the doeling had a fever. She was mildly symptomatic for about a week after treatment. Because it only happened after a milk meal, I gave her less milk at a feeding and pushed the transition to solids along, adding in textured feed to make up for the fat and calories.

She seems fine now. Still smaller than her sister and a lot less confident in jumping and climbing. But she's growing rapidly and developing the strength to move like her sister. We're still not sure what happened. (Milk allergy? Leaky rumen?) But I'll take a healthy animal no matter how we got there!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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