Saturday, April 08, 2006

Little Man

One of our does, Hebe, had twin boys this year. Unfortunately, just before she kidded she damaged one of the teats on her udder with the result that when the kids were born only one teat would produce any milk.

While the kids were tiny this was no problem, as they very quickly learned which teat to suckle, and there was plenty of milk for them both. But as they got a bit bigger Hebe suddenly started to refuse to let one of the kids feed properly. Every time he went to her udder she would walk away, only very occasionally letting him feed. To start with we would grab hold of her several times a day and keep her still to let him feed, but it was clear that she did not have enough milk for two and one was growing much faster than the other. Our neighbour thinks that she somehow knows she doesn't have enough food for them both and has chosen to favour one over the other - the one she thinks has the best chance of survival. It's an interesting thought.

So Eddie has been bottle feeding the rejected kid. He gets 4 meals a day - breakfast, lunch, tea and bedtime snack. To get him used to taking the bottle he decided to say the same thing each time he took a bottle to him so that he would associate the sound of the words with food. It's worked, and now whenever Eddie goes out with a bottle and says "Come on little man" he comes skipping up to him, mouth open at the ready.

It's interesting that although she doesn't like to let him feed, Hebe is otherwise extremely affectionate towards him and he spends an awful lot of his time snuggled up by her side, more so than his brother who is being fed on demand. All in all, apart from being a bit on the small side, he's a very happy little chap.

And he does manage to snatch the odd drink from his mum every now and again ;)


Blogger Highland Annie said...

Aint nature wierd ! maby mom knew you'd step in & help out if she kept making her point.

What beautiful wee boys and girls they are too !!

9:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love looking at pictures of your animals.

~your pal :)

1:58 am  
Blogger Kira said...

That is so interesting that she has picked one baby over the other. And so lucky for the "rejected" one that you are there to feed him.

Fascinating stuff!

7:08 am  
Anonymous jess said...

what a sweet little man! May he surprise his mum and grow good.

6:18 pm  
Blogger mf said...

ahhh I just want to pick him up and cuddle him... Soo sweet! Poor little man.. Gorgeous fiber!

1:17 am  

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