Rey – my first baby goat

Ten days ago my good friend Kelly texted me with an amazing question: did I want to bottle raise a registered doe that was just a few days old? Of course I jumped at the opportunity – a few hours later my roommate and I were headed to Oak Grove, Missouri to pick up this little darling. She’s growing like a weed and putting weight on fast.

Rey’s mama had twins but only accepted one of them. Kelly told me that her previous owner had bottle raised her earlier babies, so maybe that was part of the reason. At just 4 days old Rey was clearly smaller than her twin – her mama wasn’t feeding her or cleaning her.

Kelly’s family is super active – she’s a teacher, her husband is a pastor, and her three teenage boys are active in their school and with basketball. As a full time farmer I have the time and availability to bottle feed a baby goat on a regular schedule – so it was a great fit. Kelly is a wonderful friend and I consider her my farming mentor. This is my first experience with raising a baby goat, and I’m gaining confidence that I’ll be ready when our pregnant does give birth this summer. I gave Kelly some duck eggs as a thank you – they are by no means equivalent to what a registered Alpine doe is worth, just a small token of my gratitude.

The first night we had Rey we worried she might not make it through the night – she was that small and weak. Since our does aren’t in milk right now we’ve been using a milk replacement product formulated for baby goats – available at any good farm/feed store.

Kelly’s dad taught Rey to drink from a bowl, so we don’t use bottles. The upside – and downside – is that feeding time is pretty quick. She drinks the milk so fast that her brain doesn’t know her belly is full!

My roommate sometimes struggles to sleep at night, so she got up and fed her at 2am. That was the only time we did that – she eats a big meal at sunset and goes to sleep. Right now she’s living with my baby chicks in one of the coops – she’ll move to the barn with the other goats in a couple weeks.

Last weekend I took her to visit my Granny. She had a stroke a few weeks ago and is currently in a rehabilitation facility. She’s not an animal lover, but I knew the sight of a baby goat would make her smile. Boy did it! Rey was a huge hit at the facility – staff, residents, and visitors all wanted to stop for a hello and asked great questions about her. I love that my Gran indulged me with this photo – she’s a sweet lady and I love her dearly.

Rey and I bonded pretty quick – she follows me around the farm and frolics through the grasses. She loves to cuddle on my lap, but has already gotten too big to sit comfortably! She loves to go to the Feldmans (our local farm store) and rides in the truck – and my roommate’s Mini-Cooper convertible – like a champ.

Rey is a registered Alpine doe. She’ll grow to between 3 and 4 feet tall – much larger than our Nigerian Dwarf does! Alpines are fantastic milk producers, giving as much as 2 quarts of milk per day. She’s a great addition to our herd. I’m so thankful my friend and mentor gave her to me – and that my roommate said “yes” to my new addition. What a blessing!

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