Rejected kid goat

I have 2 Fainting Goats who kidded on the same day (Jan. 8). They both were first time mothers and both had twins. The first to kid accepted both, the second to kid accepted her first and completely rejected her second. She had been a twin rejected by her mother and bottle fed by the people we bought her from. (Don’t know if that matters, but maybe it does). It was very cold that day, his mother did break the sac and start licking him clean, then just stopped. He was cold and wet, so we got him dry and warm and milked some colostrum from the other goat and fed it to the rejected kid. Since then (1½ weeks) we have bottle fed him, raw goat milk, raw cow milk and organic whole milk, with some black strap molasses occasionally. Not having a milk cow or dairy goat, I’ve been blessed with friends who do, to provide us with some milk, when not available, I’ve fed him the store bought organic whole milk. He is growing, strong and drinking well. I have taken him into the goat pen to try and get him used to or accepted by his mother, siblings, or the other adult goat. They act very weird around them and his mother glares at him and me, turns her back and has even snorted and stomped and acted like she may charge him. Is it because I’ve cared for him when she didn’t, or is something wrong with him and she instinctively knows it?

I don’t know what to do, I can’t keep him in the house much longer since I love my husband and don’t want a divorce! Haha, just kidding, not that bad, but, my husband does keep telling me, not much longer.

Mary Borden
Martinez, Georgia

This just happens sometimes. Seldom will a mother take back her kid once it’s been away from her for awhile. He smells different and she doesn’t recognize him as being hers. To her, he’s just a stranger that you’ve dumped into her territory. I’d suggest penning him next to her in a smaller pen where she can see him but not hurt him and continue feeding him on the bottle. At about two weeks, he’ll start eating grain and if you choose a high protein goat feed, you should be able to gently wean him at about 7 weeks of age providing he’s eating grain and hay as well as drinking water. I would try to stick with one type of milk though as switching him from raw goat milk to store milk and back might cause some digestive upsets leading to scours (diarrhea). — Jackie

Adding gypsum to the garden

Since drywall/sheetrock is made of gypsum, can it be crushed and added to soil for our garden? We have some waste from the house we are building that I would use instead of taking to the dump. My concern is that it may have been treated with chemicals. Our Georgia red clay needs all the help it can get but not at the expense of the garden’s health.
Pam Davis

As far as I know, sheetrock is not treated with chemicals. When we did our addition, we took all of the small pieces of waste sheetrock out to the garden and broke it up, scattering it over our acidic soil. Then I tilled it in a couple of times. By planting time, you couldn’t see a bit of it and I truly think it helped improve our soil. Be sure that your soil is on the acid side, not alkaline as adding the sheetrock will tend to increase the alkalinity. In our case that was good. — Jackie


  1. Joyce,

    Thanks for your input. I haven’t had the luck you’ve had re-introducing kids that were rejected back with Mom. Often I can put Mom in a stanchion and “force” her to let Junior suck so I don’t have to bottle feed. Sometimes she’ll just finally sigh and eat her grain and quit kicking. But I really haven’t had a lot of luck having her take him back, even reluctantly. I guess what works for one person doesn’t always work for another.
    Maybe Mary will be one of the lucky ones! Let’s hope so.

  2. You can put a pair of men’s undershorts on a goat kid with a maxipad in them to catch any “accidents”. The tail goes through the front slit, so the kid wears the men’s shorts backwards. Goat kids can also learn to use doggie piddle pads. Actually, they housebreak within a day or so, much easier than puppies. I have kept kids in the house for 3-4wks to raise them until they are able to stand the outside world and eat grain/hay well. The only problems show up at about 3-4wks when they start jumping from table to counter to couch….. and so on. Kids are actually very easy to raise, and after 35+yrs I am still not divorced, so I promise you they aren’t that nasty to keep inside.
    Another issue that happens with kids fed milk is that diarrhea can become common due to bacterial overgrowth. Antibiotics usually fix that, but I’m sure many people use “natural” fixes too. Acidophiles (yogurt) also helps the situation. You have to watch the issue with bottle raised goats to prevent pulpy kidney. Good luck.

  3. After raising dairy goats for almost 40 yrs I’ve found that a mother will accept her kid back -even after being in the house for 5 days if he is bottle fed only her colostrum and milk-it doesn’t work if he gets another doe’s milk. When he’s strong enough, I stanchion her & let him nurse on her – finished off with a bottle. After a few days, he usually doesn’t want the bottle anymore & runs in with his sibling to eat. He may not always be Mom’s favorite, but she does take him back. He also does need to have a sibling so she’s used to a kid nursing.

  4. Holly,

    This sometimes works right after birth but I’ve never seen it work after the kid has been away from Mom very long. You really have to watch it when trying to fool a doe into taking a kid she doesn’t want. They can sometimes get very aggressive and injure the kid in the process.

  5. A goat idea? He may smell different now, but sometimes animals can be tricked/confused with a little Vick’s Vapo rub on the nose. I don’t know how good their eyes are, but you might be able to confuse her “sniffer”. (I don’t have goats and it may not matter if he will be on solid food soon, but it might be worth a try if it happens again.)

  6. Pam and Jackie, modern sheetrock may be treated with chemicals and enhanced with materials other than gypsum (remember the 2001 Chinese sheetrock that outgassed volatile sulfur compounds that made people sick and damaged homes and had to be removed?). Mold inhibitors and other biocides and chemicals are common in ordinary sheetrock, as is fiberglass, vermiculite and other binders. Modern sheetrock can contain “synthetic” gypsum which is not the natural crushed rock and it may outgas. There’s also silica in the dust when you cut it. In the old days ordinary hide glue was used to attach the paper to the fiberglass but I don’t know what is used now. If your sheetrock is very old it may have mold spores in it but it will likely be just a simple gypsum slurry. I know people incorporate it with the paper in their gardens, but I’d take the paper off because you don’t know what is in the adhesive or on or in the paper. You may be able to find out whether there’s fiberglass in yours but the chemicals would be very difficult and expensive to test for, and then you’ll have to decide if you want that in your garden. If you know who manufactured your sheetrock you can check online or call the manufacturer for a list of what they put in it. Whatever you decide to do, please use a very good protective mask inside and out so you don’t breathe the dust, wash your hands and face well, brush the dust off your clothes and hair outside, and don’t walk around your house wearing the clothes and shoes that you used to install, remove and transport the sheetrock. Or wear disposable paper clothes and hats. Unless you have a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner that dust is almost impossible to remove and you’ll breathe and eat it for a long time. The other reason to use a good mask and to wash well is that some people don’t know they have or will develop allergies (contact or internal) to the chemicals in modern sheetrock. My suggestion is that you contact the manufacturer of your sheetrock and ask a lot of questions about what they put in and on it. If you are building an Energy Star or energy efficient home it’s especially important to know what will be in the air you breathe. Given how modern sheetrock is produced – it is no longer the relatively benign rock slurry it used to be – if it were mine and I had the choice I’d take or send it to a recycling facility to be crushed for reuse under controlled conditions, and use something else in my garden.

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