I have Empty Nest Syndrome and theyíre not even gone. I am totally lost. My schedule is out of whack and I feel faintly guilty for having some extra time to do things Iíve long neglected (dishes, house cleaning, actually going to the store and not having to time myself) and I just feel, well, lost.
Yes, you guessed it. I have no more bottle kids. Now, before everyone calls up and offers me theirs, I just couldnít do that to you. Make you go through this Empty Nest Syndrome. It would be extremely unkind of me to deprive you of your bottle babies.
We are weaning ours now and the guilt is enormous. We have them in the barn and when I go down to do chores, there they are, screaming for help, that they are surely starving to death. Then after screaming this, they run over to wolf down some grain and grab a mouth full of alfalfa hay, and then they run back to me, screaming how starved they are. And, would someone please call the Humane Society and report me so they can get their bottles back.
Itís a hard hard thing to do, weaning bottle babies. They look up at you with their big pleading eyes and just beg. And, then they open their mouths and its like an air raid siren going off. How bottle babies can get so much volume out of their little bodies, itís just phenomenal. No opera singer has it over a bottle kid being weaned.
And I feel so sorry for my babies. Yet, I canít have a ten year old goat running around still on a bottle. So, being weaned is a must.
This Syndrome is rough. I keep finding myself checking in the refrigerator to make sure I have enough milk for the kids, looking for the bottles that I need to wash up, checking the clock frequently to see if it is time to bottle feed. I canít seem to relax when I go to the store. Iím so use to having to fit in going to get groceries or feed to the in between times of bottle feeding and washing bottles. It was always fly to the store, through the store, fly back home. I try to walk slowly through the stores now and relax, but I find myself vibrating, ready to push that cart at super speed to get the shopping done to get back home in time.
A new glitch was added to the weaning of the kids this time. Usually we put them in the barn or run-in sheds and there they stay for two weeks to get adjusted to drinking only water, eating more hay and learning to eat more grain, before being turned out to their outside pasture and run-in shed. This year our spring was a wet 40-60 degrees and then suddenly we are hitting 90 degrees! Where the bottle kids and a few of the momma raised kids were being weaned in the barn was too stifling, not much air flow. They were standing there with their little mouths open, panting.
Only one thing to do, turn them out into the barnyard pen. There was also a very large run-shed where half was taken up with cattle panels, and 19 momma raised baby does were locked in being weaned. And, I also opened up two stalls on the barnyard side of the barn where five momma raised kids were being weaned, trying to get more air flow where other kids were being weaned on the ends of the barn.
I had put two wild little baby does in with the seven bottle does the last couple of days and on the second hot day, we turned them out together in the barnyard to greet the other five kids from the two opened stalls. Guess who had the best time?
The bottle kids. They followed me unafraid of the world because I was with them. The two wild kids stayed with their buddies the bottle babies, and the other five baby does peeked their head out their newly opened stalls and plainly said they were not leaving the safety of their stalls.
Lee or I stayed out with the kids a lot that day as the bottle kids roamed around and soon all the other five kids followed the bottle kids around. This is a situation where you are having to micromanage your goats and where bottle kids pay off. They trust people and that you are doing the best for them and are very unsuspicious.
Now, later on we will turn the newly weaned 19 momma raised does who have been running in and outside all winter and on the hill sides loose. They will teach the bottle kids how to go and roam the hill and leap the creek and do pasture goat things that they learned from their mommas this winter.
The bottle kids have now accepted the fact that Lee and I disappear every now and then and they continue on their own quite happily, eating out of the round bale going to get their morning and evening grain, teaching the wilder kids to be more trusting. Every now and then they forget they donít get a bottle and the bellow that comes up out of the barnyard can almost break the windows, but they are adapting.
Of course, I am still looking for bottles to wash, seeing if there is enough milk in the fridge, checking the clock, and a new one, sneaking down to the barn to see what my bottle kids are doing. I find that the Empty Nest Syndrome takes longer to get over than it does for the kids to learn weaning. I think they have it the easiest.