Ahhh, there is nothing like the fresh smell of hay in the living room. Oh, come on, donít be shocked. You did remember I was a goat farmer, didnít you? Other people get up in the morning with the smell of coffee. Lee and I get up with the fresh smell of hay, located in the living room.
During kidding season when I have bottle babies, they usually end up in our living room. I canít very well turn them loose to roam where they please in the house. I know, I know, some people actually diaper the goat kids and let them do that. But, the idea of adding diapering to kidding season and having ten or more bottle kids needing diaperingÖÖ well, my brain just totally shuts down at the notion.
Since brand new babies need more frequent feedings at smaller amounts, that are slowly built up the first week, I find it easier to put the new bottle kids in Rubber Maid tubs in the house. Tubs filled with sweet smelling hay for bedding. Now, to keep everything continuously sweet smelling, because it is a known fact that bottle babies wee-wee more than they eat, I have to clean the tubs out every day. I am sure that if you gave the new babies 2-4 ounces of milk their first frequent feedings, that they wee-wee at least three or four gallons after each bottle. Iím not sure how they accomplish this, but that sure is what it looks like and smells like.
Anyway, dumping the hay out every day, hosing the tubs down, drying out with paper towels, and then filling them with sweet smelling hay, thereís always a lovely fragrance wafting throughout the house of hay and clean smelling kids. The kids have this wonderful new fragrance to them already that really does make a lovely combination with the good hay. Febreeze and all you other scented room deodorizers, eat your hearts out. Nothing beats this smell for the goat farmer.
The only flaw might be if you over feed your lovely sweet smelling kids, then this rank odor appears from milk diarrhea. So, start out right, feed small amounts every couple of hours and slowly build those amounts up and eventually stretching the time out when they should be fed. Just because they are cute and absolutely beg for a bottle every time they blink their eyes, have your amounts and what time you plan to feed set, such as 2-3 ounces every two hours at first. If you happen to give too much milk, cut back a little and give a little Pepto to settle the tummy down (the kidís not yours) and keep diaper wipes around or wet paper towels to wipe little kid behinds and put Vaseline on so that the diarrhea wonít stick (put it on them, not you) and it makes for easier cleaning.
If you find they are real sensitive to your milk replacer, you may have to change to another kid milk replacer or lamb replacer or mix half reconstituted kid milk replacer and half whole milk and their tummies will settle. But, make sure you arenít overfeeding. You can also switch entirely to just whole milk, or find all sorts of good kid milk recipes around that people use. Some use 4 cups of whole milk to one cup of Half & Half. Some use whole milk with one egg per kid per day. Some use the last recipe plus include a little buttermilk. Whatever, you want your kid free of diarrhea and your living room back to sweet smelling hay and sweet smelling kid again. You want a pleasant experience when you walk into the living room, not something that knocks your socks off.
Remember, one way to prevent the kid from talking you into too many frequent feedings is by setting a set time of a small bottle every two hours, stretching it to every three hours. I slowly increase the milk and by the end of the week have them on a certain amount four times a day and thatís their schedule. Usually I eventually build up to 8-10 ounces four times a day and stick with it for two and a half months to three months, providing hay, minerals, a little grain by two weeks of age for them to start nibbling on. They may not nibble on much at first, but it grows. I also make sure I have a clean bucket of water set out for them by the time they are one month old. Eventually, they learn to drink out of this.
What? All this in the living room? No, no, no, I just got ahead of myself. Usually the kids are hopping out of the Rubber Maid tubs by the time they are a week old. When this happens they are moved down to the barn with a heat lamp. If there is not room or they need special watching, they get moved to the garage in a plastic wading pool with a hog panel wrapped around it and usually hay for bedding. Turn the hog panel upside down with the smaller openings at the top. These kids can also learn to climb like monkeys and will be out the larger holes if put at the top. The wading poolís walls will cover those larger openings when the hog panel is placed upside down, wrapped around the pool. Now for bedding in the pool, this last time we tried sawdust, you can buy ďbalesĒ at Tractor Supply, and we mixed it with cedar chips that we buy at Walmart when making dog beds out of our discarded plastic feed sacks. That combination bedding in the old wading pool stayed sweet smelling for a good while before needing changed. Going to remember that for the next kidding in January.
But, trust me, there is nothing that smells better when you walk into your living room than sweet smelling hay and a sweet smelling kid. Enjoy.