You know the childrenís Dr. Seussís series of the Cat In A Hat? Well, Iíve been thinking
of a childrenís books series of the Kid In A Box by Goat Farmer Connie. I can see it all.
Me walking through a mall and small children running up to me shouting, "Miz Reynolds!
Miz Reynolds!" or "Miz Goat Farmer! Miz Goat Farmer!" And, then reaching out with
their little hands holding stuffed toys of the Kid In A Box series. "Please sign my Kid In A
Box stuffed toy, Miz Reynolds."
Iíd answer, "Why, sure you sweet little children. And, did you know I have out now the
new Kid In A Box book called Kid In A Box Leaps Out? And, donít forget about my Kid
In A Box videos, tee shirts, sweat shirts, sippy cups, CDís, and DVDs."
And they would answer, "Oh, we wonít Miz Goat Farmer. We will tell our parents about
it right now and buy dozens and dozens of each item to give to all of our cousins!"
"You do that, sweet children," Iíd answer.
Okay, Iíve smacked myself out of my fame and fortune daydream. Now itís back to
serious reality. It seems to never fail that every kidding season, for some reason or
another, we end up with a goat kid or kids in the house. Boxes of kids sitting here and
there throughout the living room or down in the basement by the wood stove.
One year, when we were becoming very serious about raising Boers, we decided to phase
out our Nubians. My brilliant plan was to sell the Nubians at the best price after they had
been bred to our fullblood Boer buck and had kidded. I wanted those half blood Boer doe
kids. The best time to sell these Nubians then was in the spring of the year. So, my
brilliant scheme was to kid the girls out, take the kids and bottle feed them, sell the
That year was a very cold winter and spring. Lee and I schemed that the kids would be
best kept down in our basement by the wood stove until they caught on really good how
to take a bottle and then train them to a bucket that had ten -- twelve nipples on it. Then
eventually move them out to stalls and heat lamps in the barn.
We bought hog panels and made two big circles down in the basement. We then bought
four huge tarps. One tarp was laid down in each hog panel circle on the basement
concrete floor. We then got hay and put it down on the tarp for bedding. Of course we
kept this hay way far away from the wood stove.
The girls started kidding and before we knew it we had at least 15-20 kids in each circle.
While they were a couple of days old we got them trained to the bottle. We also found
out we had to change their bedding about every third day or this nice earthy, barn type
aroma took over the house. Didnít bother me, but seemed to bother visitors. Also, if they
heard me talking upstairs, you never heard such a chorus of kid yells insisting they
needed their bottles. I had to whisper on the phone to keep them quiet.
Then it was time to train them to the bucket of milk with all the nipples. Itís a neat gadget
we got at Caprineís catalog with a big white bucket, nipples, tubes to attach to the nipples
and a holder so the kids can't turn the bucket over. The nipples were set up high on the
bucket and Lee and I both studied it and thought the kids couldnít suck hard enough to
get the milk up the tubes to the nipples.
Lee and I had the same thought but he acted faster then me and when we had the bucket
full of milk and the nipples and tubes attached properly, he bent down and just sucked a
little on one of the nipples on the bucket. He came up sputtering. "Theyíre not going to
have a bit of trouble," he announced. I asked him how the milk replacer tasted. "Not bad.
Not bad at all." Lee was right. The kids had no trouble and caught on fast to that bucket.
As we moved them out new ones moved in to be trained to bottle and then bucket before
going to the stall in the barn. When we had to change the bedding, we put all the kids
over in one round circle, picked up the edges of the tarp and carried out the soiled
bedding, put a dry tarp down and fresh hay and moved kids back to where they
belonged. That was our major Kid In the Basement year.
Soon after that it was only kids in a box, not major numbers of kids in the basement. One
thing to remember when you bring a kid in the house to bottle feed for a while, there is a
written law somewhere that says however much milk you feed them, three times the
amount of liquid comes out of the kid, so be prepared.
I would save big cardboard boxes to put the kids in. Iíd lay down a big garbage sack on
the bottom of the box and then put hay in it. Then Iíd put a garbage sack down wherever
I was going to sit the box to prevent any leakage on the carpet. Some people buy the big
plastic tubs to use. I couldnít find one with sides tall enough to keep the kid from
bouncing out too soon. So, Iíd just keep my favorite old boxes and use them for years.
I usually have no problems getting a kid started to bottle. Sometimes if they are a week
old you can have problems. This year we met our Sophie. She was an Angora/Boer cross
and 4 days old. An experienced friend in goats and sheep bought her and two days later
was almost in tears because she couldnít get the little thing to eat. So, I took her on.
I believe that she was the most stubborn kid I had ever met. I used all the tricks: use a
pritchard nipple, put bottle in mouth, hold there and rub the throat. No way. Rub the top
of her little rump while holding the bottle in her mouth. No way. Put corn syrup on the
nipple. Nope. Finally, I was keeping her alive with probios, dextrose and fortified B
complex drenches, and the "Magic" drench (1 part molasses, 1 part corn oil, 2 parts karo
syrup) and dribbling this stuff down her throat.
She plainly said she would rather die then take a bottle. Four oíclock one morning I
checked her and it looked like she had laid in some poo. How she could have ever made
poo was a mystery with as little milk as I was getting down her. I got a wet paper towel,
picked her up and started cleaning under her tail. She went absolutely wild begging for a
bottle! I couldnít believe it. I whipped out her bottle, forced her mouth open, put the
bottle in, and rubbed under her tail with a wet paper towel. She took the bottle!!
I could have slapped myself. Why hadnít I thought of this earlier? While new kids nurse,
moms usually lick under their tail and that stimulates them to nurse more. The wet towel
definitely stimulated her!
The first week I still had to pry her mouth open to put the bottle in, plus hold her from
flopping from my lap, plus somehow rub under her tail with a wet paper towel. I finally
enlisted Leeís help. I held her and pried her mouth open to put the bottle in and he
rubbed under her tail with a wet paper towel to get her to nurse. Worked like a charm.
We spent many a happy feedings this way.
Finally, the second week she didnít need for me to pry her mouth open or for Lee to
wipe under her tail with that wet paper towel. She knew what to do! As Lee would leave
for work every morning he would call out, "Bye, Connie. Bye, Sophie."
I believe this is one kid in a box that Lee and I will remember for some time. Hmmmm,
maybe a childrenís series called, "Sophie"?