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Hi, all - I have 2 rare breed doelings, Arapawa Island goats, which were basically a feral breed on one of the coastal islands near the tip of the South Island of New Zealand. They are still being bred by several rare breeds conservationists in New Zealand, and are still quite wild for the most part. I was fortunate enough to have been able to purchase 2 of the 10 doelings born this autumn (June here).

One was about 4 weeks old and one was about 6 weeks old when I brought them home. They'd been on their dams up to that time. I've been trying to bottle feed them, with very little success, for 2 weeks now, and after hours spent with them, they still splutter and gag and can't latch on to the false teat. They're eating hay and a mix of lucerne chaff, oaten chaff, rolled crushes barley, a little bit of flaked flax/linseed, broll (like bran), and seaweed meal. With the one batch of kids we've had so far (last year's) we've just let them be dam raised, and they're strapping things now at 10 months old. This is the first time we've attempted to bottle-feed, and I know they're not getting enough of what they need to grow and develop properly. I've tried adding some of the milk replacer powder to the feed mix, but they won't eat it then. Any advice would be very much appreciated, as they are not very happy kids... not terribly active, though they do like to go out and nibble on couch grass roots..

Thanks in advance
Andrea
New Zealand
 

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AndreaNZ said:
Hi, all - I have 2 rare breed doelings, Arapawa Island goats, which were basically a feral breed on one of the coastal islands near the tip of the South Island of New Zealand. They are still being bred by several rare breeds conservationists in New Zealand, and are still quite wild for the most part. I was fortunate enough to have been able to purchase 2 of the 10 doelings born this autumn (June here).

One was about 4 weeks old and one was about 6 weeks old when I brought them home. They'd been on their dams up to that time. I've been trying to bottle feed them, with very little success, for 2 weeks now, and after hours spent with them, they still splutter and gag and can't latch on to the false teat. They're eating hay and a mix of lucerne chaff, oaten chaff, rolled crushes barley, a little bit of flaked flax/linseed, broll (like bran), and seaweed meal. With the one batch of kids we've had so far (last year's) we've just let them be dam raised, and they're strapping things now at 10 months old. This is the first time we've attempted to bottle-feed, and I know they're not getting enough of what they need to grow and develop properly. I've tried adding some of the milk replacer powder to the feed mix, but they won't eat it then. Any advice would be very much appreciated, as they are not very happy kids... not terribly active, though they do like to go out and nibble on couch grass roots..

Thanks in advance
Andrea
New Zealand
Andrea, The Storeys Goat book says that goat will drink from a shallow bowl or dish...try that...but I wouldnt put it to low ...it is hard for them to drink with their head low to the ground when they are little and it is not as good for them. I would put their "milk" in the dish and put it out for them. If they can drink water, then they can drink the milk too. That is the only thing that i can think of. I hope it helps. Good luck with you goats.

Belinda
 

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Another idea is to try different size holes in the plastic nipples. Maybe they are having to suck too hard, or maybe the hole is too big and the milk is coming out too fast. Good luck with your babies!
 

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Thanks guys, for your help and advice - it is truly appreciated! I'm resting a lot easier now that the scouring and bloat have stopped (brought on, it was suggested elsewhere, by the too-fibrous oaten chaff I'd given them). They are essentially wild, but I hope to eventually change that with successive breedings, and perhaps since they'll eventually be run with my all-too-tame herd, they'll settle down a bit. They're nibbling horse sweetfeed (recommended by a dairy goat breeder), broom and gorse (which they'd be eating with their mums), and hay, and have minerals and seaweed meal available. They're much more active now as well, and not all hunched up and slinking around as they had been.

It's been suggested that they'd be at or near weaning at this age in the wild anyway, so they aren't too far behind.

Thanks again!

Andrea
NZ
 

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I was given two fairly wild goats (a Nubian doe and her half Boer doeling) who have tamed down very well by running with my very tame goats and receiving treats of apple or carrot bites . As far as the way you feed your feral type Arapawa Island goats, my instinct would be to give them mostly browse and hay with very little grain. As time goes by, you might adjust the grain, but in the wild they had a very different diet. Worm them and watch them grow!
 

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Ah, but in the wild, they'd be getting milk! Do you have anything like Calf Manna down there? It's not really a grain, more of a pelleted protein and mineral supplement.
 

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If they're getting browse or feed right from you and eating it quickly (my goats do anyway), why not soak the feed in milk? If you want to pan-feed them milk and have trouble, you can always just leave the feed in milk and cut down after a day to almost nothing. I'm sure they'd drink.
 
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