Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I have a 2 year old ff who just gave birth to triplets. Unfortunately she is not being very kind to them, head buts them whenever they try to go near her, and not gently. I have tried to hold her to allow them to nurse but she is having none of it. I finally put her in the milk stand and milked out about 4 oz which has been shared amongst the 3 kids by bottle. I am afraid to leave her alone with them. Have been in the kidding pen for 2 hours now and she is still having none of it. Would love any advice!

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Did she have an especially tough birth? They sometimes act like that if the birth was hard, but they usually act more motherly when they feel better. How is she doing now?

Not at all, if I hadn't been watching like a hawk I could have easily missed it. All 3 kids were delivered pretty quickly and with a minimal amount of pushing. I brought the first around to her face after toweling off the gunk on its nose and she immediately head butt the poor thing. I dried them off with towels before they froze because she would not lick them. She passed the placenta fine as well and then decided to eat some hay. Kept trying to show her the kids but whenever they went near her she head butt or bit them. I thought having them nurse would change her mind but it did not. I recently brought them back out to her and she seemed to be calling to something - but no interest in the kids. She bit an ear and lifted another right off the ground biting its tail. So I milked what I could out of her and brought them inside for the night. Other than being nasty to them she seems fine, eating hay and pigged down the grain and alfalfa pellets I gave her while milking.

Oh, my! That is really strange. You are correct that nursing should have helped because that should have caused an oxytocin release, which is the love hormone. Sounds like you're doing everything you can do. I'd keep exposing her to them -- supervised, of course, based on what you're saying about how aggressive she's been towards them. Let us know how she is tomorrow. Here's more info on bottle-feeding:

Thank you Deborah. This morning I brought them out to see her and she was not as aggressive with them, a little more curious. But as soon as they try to approach she head butts them. Would not let them nurse, even of I was holding her. So milked her again and will keep bottle feeding the kids and bringing them out to see her and pray she has a change of heart. When you are calculating milk needs for the kids, are you using weight or volume for the milk? This morning I got only 6.5 oz by weight, but it looked closer to 4 oz by volume ( 2 cup mason jar less than half full)  I do have frozen goat milk from last year, but no frozen colostrum. Have been giving all the colostrum I get from mom split between the 3 and topping up a bit with the frozen goat milk. I have a powdered colostrum supplement from Kaeco but it is very vague instructions on the bottle. It says 1 tsp per bottle, but no indication of the size of bottle. When I top up with the frozen milk I use about 4-5 oz milk by weight and add 1/8 tsp powder. Any suggestions here? I also have powdered goat milk replacer that I can use when I run out of frozen milk as I probably only have 5 or so liters. Will keep milking mom and use that as well, but I worry about her production if I am only able to milk 3 times per day, especially since she is not very cooperative.

No advice here, just best wishes! Keep it up!

This is so sad. Something has her hormones messed up. The only time I've had this happen is with a doe that had a really rough birth, as mentioned earlier, or premature birth, which these kids are obviously not. It's all about the hormones and their desire to love something small. I had a doe whose birth was unattended, so the kids were dead, and a couple of days later, a first freshener had more kids than she could feed, so we put her with them, and she let those kids nurse from her, so the two co-mothered them. In another case, I had a doe that almost died from an internal tear, and after several days at the vet hospital, I brought her home, and she was totally fine with the kids. After a couple of days I showed the kids her teats, and they started at nursing when they were 7 and 8 days old. So, don't give up too soon. I never would have believed a doe would let kids start nursing a week after she kidded, but I figured I had nothing to lose by trying.

Because of the milk solids, milk is heavier than water, but it's still pretty close. I have never really thought about this before, but I imagine the vet texts are talking about weight. I've always gone by volume though when feeding the kids. I just use the marks on the bottles.

I wouldn't use the colostrum replacer if it doesn't have good instructions. My daughter once killed a kid by accidentally using 2x as much milk replacer powder as she should have, so the milk was 2x concentrated. I just looked up the brand online, and it actually says 1 teaspoon per milk serving for calves. Yikes! That would be like 1/20 of a teaspoon for a ND kid. If your kids are getting colostrum, that's much better. And you should be able to get at least 10% in them.

Even if mom doesn't calm down for the kids, she should calm down for you as she realizes that her udder feels better after you milk her. 

The only reason I am using the colostrum replacer at all is because mom doesn't seem to be producing enough for the 3. I hate getting products with such poor instructions. This one is specifically for goats and the bottle says it should feed 15 kids for 5 days. It is used as an addition to milk replacer. I will try doing a little math and see if I can figure out a reasonable amount. I am not too afraid of killing them with 1/4 tsp or so per day. If it was an actual milk replacer I would certainly be more concerned. I am pretty sure they have managed close to 10% so far. Have to get weights on them but they all look to be close to 3 lbs.

Ah! A calf, sheep, and goat colostrum replacer is what showed up in my search, but the instructions only mentioned calves. I hate all-species products. That's actually how my daughter mixed up the wrong amount for the goat. She was looking at the instructions for pig. I'm glad the one you have is for goats. You're right about this being safer than milk replacer. I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning.

I haven't gotten around to any coffee yet this morning either :) may not happen until this afternoon...

They weigh in at 3lb 8oz, 3lb 5oz and 4lb 2oz. Seem fairly content. Mom is screaming her head off in the barn so I am going to bring them back out for some supervised time again. Keeping fingers crossed!

Those are nice big kids, especially for triplets! Good luck!

Hope your little ones are doing well and mom is starting to except them.  Nigerians are usually so bonded to their babies I have found.   I have 16 does and have been fortunate -only had to bottle feed after I lost a doe a few years ago after her birthing.    I have used Land O Lake goat milk replacer very successfully over the years if needed and never had a problem -just passing that on in case you need it.   Have seen people say they have had replacer problems so wanted to mention the brand I had success with.      Good luck.

No luck so far getting them accepted by mom. She is no longer nasty with them, but avoids them and nursing seems out of the question for her. At this point the kids are kind of afraid of her and have stopped trying :(  It is odd because this does dam is an awesome mother. I am still milking her out at least 3 times a day and feeding it to the kids. Right now I am supplementing with frozen goat milk from last fall, but once that runs out I will have to supplement with some replacer. I have a bag of the manna pro kid milk, but could change for the other brand if it is more highly recommended. I do appreciate the imput!  Just hoping that this doe will take care of her kids next year.

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