Sunday, July 12, 2009
Bottle Feeding vs Nursing (in animals)
Since getting my new animal additions I have been thinking a lot about the pros and cons of bottle feeding babies when they come, or letting the mother nurse them. I know in goats the CAE is a real threat, and the best way to combat it and prevent it is to bottle feed the kids pasteurized milk. Fresh would be fine for us, but for the babies it is generally accepted to bottle feed. I have also noticed that the kids are far more affectionate and willing to come and follow when it is necessary. The kind of operation we want to run, I think this is a very good thing. We have kids over all the time, and those kids want to be able to experience the animal fully. I think the animals have a far happier experience,not fearing when people come around, but rather enjoying the petting and attention.
My lambs were nursed. While they are very nice, they are much more flighty than the goats.I know some of this is due to the nature of sheep, but I also know what the sheep they came from acted like, which was far friendlier. I have to weigh the time it takes to teach them to enjoy our time after the fact with just bottle feeding them from the get go. I need to do more research to see if there are similar threats with sheep transferring illness from mother to baby as there are goats. I would also like to look at milking sheep. There are some wonderful cheeses out there that just aren't given justice by cow's milk. It isn't something I plan on doing anytime soon, but it seems my winter plans are quickly filling up with research.
I am also in the midst, on a different note, of trying to tame my half feral llama. The people I purchased her from insisted she was halter trained. I beg to differ. It took our entire block and a lasso to catch her today. She is tied out and upset, which I hate to see, but I think she is going to have to stay tied out and have all her food and water brought to her and fed with hands in order to teach her trust, as well as her name, which we may as well change since she most certainly doesn't recognize it. I am not a huge fan of craigslist for animal purchases. She was affordable, though, and I think can be worked with and trained. In the meantime, her owners are most certainly not the best to buy from, as from what I can tell I would go so far to say she was neglected. She was not really used for anything, and just allowed to run around with a herd of other llamas who were used for nothing, and not really spent time with as well. Yes, they were well fed, but that was the extent. From what I can see physical care was not taken.
Anyway, more to come on the bottle feeding debate, and feel free to weigh in.