“Grafting” baby goat (or, why you shouldn’t pee on baby goats until they’re weaned)

I made a stupid mistake this year.  I put a buckling in with the buck for the day, thinking they’d start getting used to each other.  The idea was to have buckling spend days with buck, nights with mom, and, it would make the buckling’s transition to bachelor quarters go a little easier.  Whoops.

See, it’s a dumb idea because the buck was being a buck – spraying himself with urine to prove himself manly enough for every female goat in the county.  I didn’t even think about it until mom rejected the little buckling when he came home.  Goats do a LOT by scent.  They recognize their own babies by scent, and they push away the other mom’s goats who try to steal a belly-full of milk.  They know the difference by scent.

So I brought home a buck-scented baby, and mom said “get him away from me.”  I wasn’t ready to wean the little guy.  I hoped things would resolve, and I saw baby get one quick nosh, but when I came back to check, baby was crying from an empty tummy and mom was crying for her lost baby.

I had bought a bottle of Mother Up as a “just in case” supply.  I could probably have made the same thing, used Vick’s vapo-rub or something similar, but the Mother Up wasn’t too expensive and the bottle will probably last me a few years/decades.  My buck odor mistake gave me a chance to try it out.

You spray Mother Up on the mom’s face (careful not to get it in their eyes), and spray it on the baby’s head and butt.  The scent is strongly minty, strong enough to block mom’s olfactory recognition of baby.  You force mom to let baby nurse.  Repeat again in 12 hours if necessary.  When mom smells the baby to make sure he’s hers, all she can smell is minty stuff.  Baby smells like her, sort of.

One the baby has eaten off the mother a couple times, it should start to emit mom’s pheremones (or whatever it is that mom recognizes as “hers”).  Natural scents and habit gradually replace the artificial grafting scent.

We’ve only used it the once, but it did work it’s magic.  The product is designed to help overcome maternal rejection or to graft a baby onto a different mother.  We had a maternal rejection last year, and it’s always possible to lose a mother before babies are weaned, so the product caught my eye in the goat catalog.  One thing I like about it is that it doesn’t lose effectiveness if it freezes, so I can keep it in the barn.  It sits next to my other magic potion, NutriDrench. 

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