Navid is doing well. Conformation wise, he is a hot mess (leg issues), but I am hopeful that many of them are caused by his mother’s lack of movement during her pregnancy. I have seen some improvements during the last week, but even if I wasn’t going to wether him, he would never be a show stopper.
Last Sunday was scheduled for a spin-in at Correy’s house. She had texted me on Saturday, saying that the yearling Nubian/Nigerian doe had kidded, but the kid wasn’t viable. When walking the doe across one of her pens, her bottle lamb had nursed on the doe and the doe had seemed to accept it. Correy wanted the goat gone and offered her to me. I figured I had nothing to lose. Even if she wouldn’t accept Navid (or visa-versa, since he had never nursed on anything but the bottle), I could at least milk her and add that to his bottles. So Sunday, she came home with me. Meet Myrtle (she didn’t really have a name before coming here, and she strikes me as a “Myrtle”):
She got put in the barn with Ashe, and Maeve got released from barn duty. You would have thought that Maeve had been locked up for months instead of just a few days; she totally ignored the hay and proceeded to spend an hour or more bouncing around the pen. Even the lambs stopped their races to watch her. I started a routine of milking Myrtle twice a day. She hadn’t been hand milked before, so I wasn’t getting a ton out of her. The few times I tried putting Navid on her, he didn’t get the idea that there was anything good under there, and spent so much time fighting me that it was frustrating for all of us.
Then, late Thursday night, I quit thinking like a person, and started thinking like a lamb. I started feeding him his bottle under the goat. I placed the bottle between her back legs, so he was nursing on it right next to her udder. The 3rd time we did this, he slipped off the bottle briefly and found a teat. He didn’t suck long (nursing off a bottle is much easier than the real thing), but it was something. This morning, I helped him find the udder before I offered him the bottle. He chugged away on one side, then wanted the bottle (but only took about 3 ounces, instead of the 6-8 that he has been taking).
This afternoon, when I went out for his noon bottle, both Myrtle and Navid were out of the barn. I caught her, intending to put her back in. Instead, I tied her to the barn and showed him where to go again. This time he nursed on both sides, and when I let her loose he followed her. I sat on the edge of the tub and she came over to see me. I pushed him back towards her and he latched on and nursed a couple of more times. Success! Two hours later when I went out to check, they were laying next to each other in the sun, and he followed her over when she came to see if I had anything good. I provided a little direction again, and made sure he nursed.
When I went out to feed this evening, he somehow ended up next door in the boys pen, much to Puff (the alpaca)’s consternation. He started crying, since he couldn’t figure out how to get back, and she ran over, calling to him. While I sat in with Ashe letting her eat her grain and hay pellets, I saw him figure things out on his own. A bottle baby no more! This is huge; no more round the clock feedings. Of course, I just bought a new bag of milk replacer, but that will store until the next time I need it. Of course, with at least one cooperative goat, I hopefully will not need it (but it’s good to have on hand, in case).
And in more good news, Ashe is working on getting her feet back under herself. She got her rear end up briefly yesterday (trying to avoid her antibiotic shot). Keeping my fingers crossed for her too. Her new companion in the barn is Millie (one of last year’s lambs), who is not impressed with this whole idea. She is the least friendly of the ewe lambs last year, so the confinement will give me a chance to give her some special treats and see if the way to her heart is through her stomach.
All in all, a good couple of days! Pictures of weaving next time, I promise.