If Iíve said this once Iíve said this a hundred times to my bottle babies over the years, "Turn loose of the knuckle." At some time or the other my hands, and various parts of my clothing, have been mistaken for that beloved bottle and those little kids with that astronomical suction action can latch onto you and you wonder if you will ever get turned loose.
If you have just one bottle kid, or even two, there really isnít much of a problem in keeping them on the right path of grabbing the bottle and not parts of you. As soon as they see you and zero in, you take aim with the bottle and have that nipple in their mouth before they get hold of something else.
I once had a big buck get into the path of two babies and those kids, probably still bleary-eyed from being so young, dove under that buck and thumped him hard enough on the testicles that it sent the buckís sensitive privates flying backwards, between his hind legs and thumping him high on the rump. I never saw a buck run so terrified from two little kids. I was impressed he could run at all. After I chased the kids down and directed them to the bottles they really wanted, the buck was able to calm down, but he stayed away from those kids!
Usually, I fondly call my bottle kids The Friendly Piranhas. Until you stick a bottle in their mouths, especially at feeding time, theyíll just about eat you up. Iíve learned if itís winter time and I have a bunch of bottle kids, I put them in a big stall and section it up with hog panels with so just so many in each section. Itís the amount of kids I can handle bottle feeding at one time.
Some breeders get those feeding buckets with nipples that will feed ten kids at one time, but I always had trouble with that. There was always one or two super suckers in the group that would, with one breath, inhale most the milk, leaving the casual eaters wondering where the milk went. Other breeders tell me to get pint or quart jars and put them in these buckets, and the amount they are suppose to have in each jar, and that way each kid gets what they are suppose to.
Well, knowing my aggressive kids, the super sucker would slurp his down and if Iím not fast enough to stop him, then go around knocking all the other kids off their nipples to get their milk. Then everyone would get so upset and confused and go to the wrong nipples after I get the super suckers out, that no one would ever get the same amount they should each time.
Ah well, knowing me, one of these years I will try the jar method if I have gobs of bottle kids, even if I see possible problems. One thing I have been trying is this four bottle rack with nurser bottles. The bottles that come with this wire rack are large bottles with large nipples (reminds you of a regular baby nipple, maybe a bit larger). Being use to the Pritchard teat nipples, these nipples look huge, but the kids quickly adjust to them. I mean if these kids can latch onto your knees, how big would a nipple have to be to deter them?
The 4 bottle rack is made to hang on the wall. What I do is get the bottles all ready, turn the rack so the bottles will set upright, latch the prepared bottles into the rack, carry the rack down to the barn, and attempt to turn the bottles upside down and hooked to the wall while at least 4 kids are attacking you, the bottle rack, and the wall.
If the kids arenít quick enough to latch on to those big nipples on those bottles, the milk just absolutely flows out. Last kidding I had five little girls use this rack successfully. Four grabbed the bottles in the rack, and one waited for the bottle that was in my pocket. Such polite little girls.
This year I have just three boys from the October kidding on this 4 bottle rack and itís utter chaos at every feeding. The boys are so competitive! Each boy has either one of your knuckles in their mouths or a couple have dove under the bottle rack and come back up, lifting the rack off the wall and onto the floor. Or, they have latched to each others mouths, while the milk is absolutely flooding out of the bottles and all over them, but they donít care, they have to win in the pushing mouth competition.
One boy, if you step into the stall to sort things out with the bottles and boys glued to each others mouths, will actually push his nose so hard on your leg that he yells in anger because it hurts, but he doesnít quit pushing. Every movement of your leg, he goes with it, pushing a dent in your leg and pushing so hard his little nose goes upwards into the shape of a pigís snout.
I finally had to quit using the large bottles with the large nipples that milk could flood out, because my boys were absolutely soaked at each feeding and I had to towel them down. I still think itís the boy competitive thing. They are so busy attacking everything in sight and keeping an eye on each other and trying to whip out each other to grab anything, that they had a milk shower every feeding.
I discovered that the plastic Coke bottles fit nicely into the 4 bottle rack and I could put the Pritchard teat on these bottles and slow down the milk flow so the boys did not get quite as soaked at each feeding. I had to heat the milk up in a bowl and then pour it into the plastic Coke bottles, trust me, donít heat milk in the Coke bottles in the microwave, thatís an experience you can do without.
So, how do I really feel about bottle kids? I love them. After over thirteen years of kidding, they come with the job of being a goat farmer, but I find them a treat. I find myself laughing at them, bawling them out for stealing each otherís bottle, hugging them, and enjoying how friendly they are as they grow up. When customers come to farm, these are the ones that are sold first. Am I trying to get rid of them? No, customers love how friendly the bottle adult is. And, in between times of telling them to turn loose of my knuckles when they are kids, Iím laughing at their cute little up turned faces. No, not planning on getting tired of bottle babies any time soon. I believe I still might have another hundred or so, "Turn loose of the knuckle", still left in me.