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The Surrogate
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Cindi    Posted 01-22-2004 at 03:48:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cookie, one of our nanny goats had her babies yesterday evening. One black with white spots, and the other the exact opposite. One with long floppy ears like her mom, and one with little tiny La Mancha ears like the billy.

When we went out to feed, we found her under an orange tree in the grove, the babies still soaking wet and blinking in the bright light. Since I have two more nannies that are ready to go any minute, I decided to move all the nannies and babies into the hen yard, where Baby is with her new kid. The hens didn't know quite what to think of the intruders, but after a minute or two, goats and chickens alike settled down and had their dinners.

It was then that I realized I had a problem. Donkey, a dwarf nanny, who is big and pregnant and due any minute, had gotten it in her head that one of Cookie's babies belonged to her. I watched as she sidled up to Cookie and walked between her and the little black baby and steered the baby off to the side and began licking it, while Cookie went to hollering her head off at the blatant thievery.

"Donkey! That's not your baby!" I scolded her. "Yours will come in a day or two." I picked up the baby and put it back with Cookie. "Now you leave her alone!"

No sooner did I get the baby back with her mother, than Donkey used her little cutting technique, and had the little black baby separated from her mother again. This time, steering it back toward her bag where the baby began to suckle her. The problem? Well, other than the obvious fact that Donkey was outright stealing, that little baby needed to be with her mother where she could get the colostrum she needed.

"Well you....sneaking little so and so." I said. I tried to get a little bit more direct and this time grabbed Donkey and pulled her away from the baby, and then stuck the baby under Cookie again. The baby didn't seem to care which bag she went after, she just wanted to eat, so she began to nurse Cookie this time.

Not only did Donkey steal her again, she forcefully knocked the baby down and when it got to it's feet, she began to nudge it over to the fence and this time she and Cookie got into a little head butting.

There was only one thing to do. I grabbed Donkey and started to drag her toward the hen house. I was going to have to lock her in for a few hours to give Cookie and her babies time to bond or I was going to end up with one very confused little baby.

Donkey probably weighs about seventy pounds right now, since she's pregnant, and she seemed to have an idea what I was fixin' to do. She dug all four feet into ground and pulled back with all her might, so that dragging her felt like dragging a tank. She hollered and she yelled and she called out to the baby, who stood between her and Cookie, gazing out into the pasture with no idea of what to do.

I finally got Donkey into the hen house and locked the door. She immediatley began ramming the wooden door with her horns, trying to break out. Her heart rending screams could be heard for miles. If I didn't know better I would have sworn that I had separated her from her own kid. I spent the next thirty minutes repeatedly putting the little black baby under Cookie, and stood there and watched to make sure Cookie was cleaning her and that she was allowing the baby to nurse. Satisfied, I went into the house for my own dinner.

When I went out to check a few hours later, Cookie was tending to the baby. They had had that two or three hours that they needed to bond. Cookie and the kids seemed to have fallen into the proper pattern... the two babies snuggling together and Cookie standing over both of them and nuzzling them in turn. I decided it was time to go ahead and let Donkey out and see what happened.

I walked over to the hen house, which had grown quiet, and unlocked the door. The minute the door flew open Donkey bolted out and went straight for the little baby again. This time, I didn't need to intervene. Things had fallen in to their natural order and this time Cookie stood her ground and drove Donkey away on her own, and even though I can't speak goat, her message was clear.

"Leave my baby alone!"

Donkey finally seemed to have gotten the message and it clearly broke her little goat heart. She couldn't have been more dejected if she had delivered a stillborn kid. She stood by the fence and stared at the happy trio and bleated softly, her heart in her eyes.

I walked over to her and petted her and wished with all my heart that I COULD speak goat so that I could reassure her and let her know that she would have her own babies in a day or two.

KellyGa    Posted 01-23-2004 at 15:47:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
Congrats on your babies! Must be nice to stay home now, and not worry about that old Walmart. You get to tend everybody and everything again, and just enjoy. :) I am glad your back home :)

Short Round    Posted 01-22-2004 at 07:42:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
And you want to trade all of this to work at WalMart Cindi, look at what you would be missing.

Newgen    Posted 01-22-2004 at 07:31:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sounds like a classic case of animal dysfunction to me--maybe Jerry Springer could get together with the Animal Planet people and do a live on location show at your place!

deadcarp    Posted 01-22-2004 at 06:05:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
well now see, that's only one example of same-sax relationships. but hey, maybe later on they can take turns babysitting while the other chases around - like real people! :)

Stormie    Posted 01-22-2004 at 06:02:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
Make sure to let us know when she has her own.

Have fun!


RichZ    Posted 01-22-2004 at 05:54:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi, I don't know how you and you're critters always get into such unusual situations!!! Nannies often help each other clean up their babies, but I never heard of a pregnant one trying to steal another's baby!!!

I hope Donkey has her kids soon!!! There's nothing sadder than a depressed goat!!! They bleat and cry, and generally tear your heart out when they're sad!!!

Cindi    Posted 01-22-2004 at 06:48:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hey. Did you forget who you're talking to? Lol!

I think it was moving them that did it, and Donkey is so close to having hers, and she's not the sharpest crayon in the box anyway.

I have to move them, though. They have no protection from predators until the little ones get on their feet good and can run well.

Donna from Mo    Posted 01-22-2004 at 04:23:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've had the same thing happen with cows. A mother and daughter were due to calve within a week of one another,and the mom decided her granddaughter belonged to her. I also had a mare once that tried to adopt a new calf, much to the distress of the mom!

Cindi    Posted 01-22-2004 at 04:27:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well it's nice to know that we have one on the place that will happily take on the responsibility in case I lose a nanny or one decides to pull a stunt and not be bothered with a youngun! I need to go out and chcek and see if Donkey has done the deed yet.

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