Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bottlefeeding our Goat Kids

Don't you just love spring?  This year our life has been overflowing with babies.  We got baby goats, our closest friends just had their 2nd baby and this past Saturday we added 4 ducklings to the mix.  Not to mention that our now-well Silkie went broody and is sitting on 8 eggs, none of them her own!  My kids are in HEAVEN!  You'd be hard pressed to find 4 kids who love babies as much as mine do.  Of course, they come by it honest.  I do have 4 babies of my own after all and would have more if I could. 

On the subject of babies, it can be a little scary when you first start out.  There's so many things you can do WRONG!  Yet, most of us seem to get our kids through babyhood without too many bumps and bruises.  The same is true with animal babies.  It can be even more scary because your dealing with an entirely different species and don't always know what's normal and what's not.  Thankfully, just as with humans babies, it seems to get easier after the first one.  Case in point, our first experience with baby goats was a blast and traumatic at the same time.  We ended up losing one, without knowing the cause.  It was heartbreaking and made us just want to throw in the towel and give up.  There were 2 other babies that needed us to keep going though and look at us now!  With our latest baby, things have been smooth sailing.  We know what signs might mean problems, we're aware of how and when certain issues may pop up and we are vigilant about making sure they get things to keep them healthy.  (We also make a call to our ever so patient friend & goat-mentor every now and then at which time she reminds us to relax and enjoy them and quit worrying unless there is really a reason to worry!)

So what are we doing differently this time?  For starters, no animal formula!  I never fed my kids formula and I really don't like the ingredients in animal formula.  (Animal fat preserved with BHA & BHT...huh?!?)  That's what the first 2 were on and it just seemed like one issue after another.  So this time, our baby stayed on goat's milk (his mama's) from a bottle for the first couple weeks then we started transitioning him over to cow's milk.  The transitioning is VERY important. Take it very slowly, at least a couple days on each new mixture.  Start out at 1/4 new with 3/4 original, then 1/2 and 1/2 (I stay here for a week) and 3/4 new to 1/4 original.  Now what's missing from pasteurized cow's milk that was in his mama's milk?  A whole lot but what I deemed the important things that I could do something about, I've added.  First of all, raw milk contains enzymes that have been killed in store milk so I add in 1/3 of a capsule of digestive enzymes.  2nd, mama's milk contains antibodies to help fight off illness.  I can't do anything about that, but I can help strengthen their little immune systems.  Each baby gets 7 drop of immune tincture in each bottle.  And lastly, I add in probiotics to keep their little digestive systems functioning properly.  Starting at 3 weeks, I began adding in a parasite tincture to help control those issues.  The one I use contains wormwood so I will only use it for a couple weeks.  My human kids get both of these tinctures as well along with probiotics and vitamin D.  So far so good.  We'll keep plugging along and doing our best to keep everyone alive and well.  Every life is a gift and deserves the best care we can give them!

The girls holding 2 brand new babies from Jeremiah Farms.
Check out the recipe for the immune tincture taken from Herbs for Health and Healing by Kathi Keville on the "My Recipes" page.  The digestive enzymes I'm using are "Advanced Enzyme System" by Rainbow Light and the parasite tincture is "Fresh Green Black Walnut Wormwood Complex" by Now Foods.  I buy mine from Iherb.com.

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