On our 5 acre hobby farm we have two milking goats, Nora and Fauna. Nora is the first goat we bought and has been our more stable albeit noisier goat. We bought Fauna about a month after Nora and she is our roller coaster goat with far more ups and downs.
She is an 8 year old Nubian/Oberhasli cross that we bought when she was about 4 months old. Over the almost 8 years that she has been on our farm she has had 7 batches of kids. While dying is a part of farm life her kids do have a slightly higher mortality rate than Nora’s do. I took a quick look through the farm records and here is what I found out about Fauna:
- Has given birth 7 times.
- 4 sets of twins.
- 3 sets of triplets.
- Total of 17 kids.
- 2 kid deaths.
- 6 kids that I have had to take into the house to warm up.
- 1 bottle baby.
Fauna is a great milk producer but temperament wise she is a prickly lady. This spring kidding season has been difficult for her and me. She had triplets again this year, two bucks and one little doe. Fauna was not letting her kids eat at first and we actually had to hold her this year which was a first. She also tried to headbutt me while I held her which has also never happened before. For the first few days we would check on them every few hours and hold Fauna so the kids could eat. After that she started to let them eat just fine. There is usually one kid she semi rejects that I have to bring in the house to warm up whether she has twins or triplets. The doe kid is the one she’s not favoring this year and we had to bring her into the house a few times to warm her up and get some colostrum in her.
Unfortunately when the kids were about a week and a half old we noticed that the little doe was looking bony and dehydrated. My son Lucian and I started to hold one of the bucks so she had an opportunity to eat but that didn’t seem to be enough for her. I had milk left over in the freezer that I thawed out so I could bottle feed her at least twice a day. Fauna didn’t completely reject her but she wasn’t looking out for her either. I used up our store of frozen milk after about three weeks.
Now I have been milk sharing from Nora to feed Fauna’s kid. Milk sharing is when you separate a lactating mother from her kids for a short time so you are able to milk her but her kids are still able to feed from her for the rest of the day. Nora’s kids are only 4 days older than Fauna’s kids but they are almost twice the size. I have been putting Nora into a different pen at night, milking her in the morning then letting her out to pasture with her kids during the day. She makes enough milk to feed the little doe, whom Lucian named Fantasy, about 10 oz. morning and night with a little left over to save for the days I have to work early and don’t have as much time for chores.
I have to say milking then bottle feeding has been a little more labor and time intensive than I would like. Also Fauna’s attitude has been deplorable this spring. Her kids are now 6 weeks old and I am just now starting to be able to let my own kids around her. She has been trying to headbutt them every time they walk by her pen. Penelope is two and for some reason she seems to be the one Fauna aims at the most. She also tried to headbutt at me when we were first getting her kids to nurse which is an attitude I do not appreciate. Her disposition has steadily been declining over the last few years and while we have had her for eight years this is still a working farm and it is time to cull her.
We have come up with a plan that I think will work well for us. We plan to sell all the kids except little Fantasy and one of Fauna’s buck kids. We will also be selling Fauna as soon as we wean her kids. I am a little sad to see her go but she is starting to become a hazard to my children so it is time for her to find a new home. The plan is to use the buck kid to breed Nora one last time in the fall as they are not related in the slightest. Then we will sell him in December before Christmas. Hopefully Nora will have a doe next year because I really want to keep her line going on our little hobby farm.