As you may recall, we had one goat, Skye, who had a really rough time birthing, and who was very swollen and somewhat ill after her kid was born. She rejected the kid, but we were really persistent about putting her on Skye, hoping that when she was feeling better, Skye would change her mind about letting the little one nurse.
It worked, eventually. The doeling, Calypso, got supplementary bottles, but after a couple of weeks of putting her on Skye a few times a day, we actually observed her nursing unaided, with Skye tolerating it, and even pushing other goats away to let the little one eat undisturbed. Skye’s milk production was not really up to snuff, so we continued with bottles for another week, hoping her milk would come in as she nursed regularly. Her production did seem to ramp up, and we discontinued the bottles, though we were watching little Calypso pretty closely to make sure she was gaining weight and staying healthy. Success! Being born a couple weeks after everyone else, Calypso seemed tiny even in comparison to the other kids, but we did not worry about it, as she did not seem to be getting pushed around, and she was growing and gaining weight.
This morning, Hubby went to let the goats out, and Calypso was missing. He found her body under a bit of straw in the corner where the kids normally sleep. They sleep in a sort of a dog pile, and our best guess is that she somehow got on the bottom of the pile and suffocated, being so much smaller than the other four. Random tragedy. We’d heard of that sort of thing happening, but we didn’t think it would occur in such a small group of goats; we’d only heard of it on big farms where there are dozens or hundreds of goats.
We’re really disappointed. And sad. Calypso was the cutest kid, and was our big success story, having been finally accepted by her mom. We were planning to keep her for future breeding and milking, especially as she was as friendly as the bottle kids (having been on the bottle part-time for several weeks), but had some chance of learning good mothering and being a good mom herself, down the road. I don’t think there’s much we could have done differently, but you always wonder…