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Sharing the bathroom with a goat.

I am currently sharing my bathroom with a billy goat. No. . .that is not a pet name for my husband. It is an honest-to-goodness live Pygmy goat. Of course you know there is a story in this (also some information to pass along) but that is getting ahead of myself.

A primary rule of good goat husbandry is to separate the bucks from the does at eight weeks if they aren't castrated. But this time the culprit was a young doe. She got out of her enclosure and into the buck's pen. When I put her back where she belonged I thought, "It will be okay, she's too young."

So, time passes and it's forgotten. Until one cold November morning my husband, Herb, and I entered the barn for morning chores and there is a tiny newborn shivering and calling out for milk. I am so embarrassed. . . how did I let this happen? Only three months old and our little doe got pregnant. Horrors!

We dried the little guy with towels and put 7% iodine on his navel. All the while we're saying "Oh, my gosh. . .didn't see any sign of pregnancy" and other such things as it is dawning on us that a 3-month old little doe did, really, get pregnant.

We didn't see any sign of an after-birth so we watched the mom carefully for any sign of a possible infection from a retained placenta.

Okay, little guy, you are dry, and need nourishment. That's the next complication. . .our young mom has no milk and no maternal instinct. So if this little guy is going to make it, we'll have to bottle feed him.

We moved the baby into my bathroom due to the cold weather and the attention he would need. We placed a small dog farrier in the bathroom and put towels in it for warmth and a cozier feel. We spread newspapers all over the floor and put up a barrier so he wouldn't have the run of the house.

We gave him a feeding of colostrum that had been frozen and saved. We will feed this for 24 hours. Then he should do okay on milk from the Nubian doe. We'll start at two ounces a feeding and work up to five ounces by two weeks of age. Then three feedings a day for two weeks, working up to 10 ounces a feeding. At a month of age he should begin to nibble hay and grain and be ready to wean at eight weeks. We'll hold him to 10 ounces twice a day to encourage him to start on solid food.

As soon as possible we want to move this little guy back to the barn with some other young goats for company. They have a heat lamp so he'll be okay.

But until then it is an obstacle course to the john. Hup. . .over the barrier. . .am I getting shorter? This isn't as easy as it used to be...careful, don't step on the baby! Oh, gosh, got to remember to keep the lid down. Baby goats learn to jump and climb and be "goat-like" at an early age. The other night as I was taking my bath...oh, no, he's going to jump in the tub!

Oh, what fun sharing the bathroom with a billy goat.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Winters, Barbara
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jul 1, 1997
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