How to make a bum bar for baby goats and sheep.
What is a bum bar and how does it work?
Farm life is always busy and no matter how much you plan your day, it seems the day is rearranged. This is especially true if you are raising animals.
This doe is a first time Kidder and seemed a little confused when she had two babies to care for. She was fine with one baby but when there were two she became a little overwhelmed. She was not really excited to lick the little black one off and care for her. She was interested in taking care of the brown buckling, getting him all cleaned up, and drinking, but she did not encourage the little black doe to drink.
Colostrum is important
The first milk the mother gives is colostrum. It is so important for the kid to drink colostrum not only for high protein nourishment, but colostrum is very important to help build up the immune system and get their stomachs working properly. If they do not get colostrum they will not develop properly and most, in the long run, end up dying.
Start them out right
Well, the good news is after a lot of hard work both little kids get off to a great start with plenty of colostrum and the mom did allow both to nurse for the first few days. Then she decided the little black one (Zoe) was really not her baby. She would run around the corral frantically bawling and looking for her kid that was nestled right there with her twin brother, but her mom still did not think she was hers. She would no longer allow this little doe to nurse. So this is where I had to step in.
When do you step in
I really like to leave the kids for their moms to raise unless there is a reason. But it just wasn’t going to work in this case. I put the doe into the milk stand and the milking begins. Since the kid was already 5 days old I would feed her 4 times a day for another week and then cut back to 3 times a day.
About when she 2 – 3 weeks old she will start eating the hay and grain right along with the rest of the goats. I will continue to feed her milk until she is 2 months old or older.
What kind of milk is best
Ideally, I like to feed fresh goats milk to my bums but that is not always possible. If I buy milk replacer I try to buy the milk replacer made for goats. In a small town, they do not always carry it in the feed store. I have bought lamb replacer but I don’t feel this is the best choice. I never feed calf replacer.
Raising them with the herd
A goat is a herd animal and they become very stressed when they are taken from the herd. I will leave this little doe with the herd. I watch her closely to make sure none of the other goats bunt her around. The other moms will occasionally bunt her but she learns quickly to avoid them.
Occasionally I have had little bums that will steal a little milk from the nanny goats. I feel like that is ok.
She likes to snuggle up with the rest of the babies. I love to watch all these little kids, they really make me smile. They like to lay out in the sun and they like to lay so they are touching each other. One will go and lay in the middle of the bunch and wiggle their way in until they are comfortable.
Then one of the babies on the outside will decide they aren’t close enough and will wiggle it’s way into the middle until it is comfortable. (I know it doesn’t take much to entertain me.)
This is how a bum bar works:
I made mine, but they can be purchased also. My bum bar bucket can be used for a lamb or goat. I also have a bigger one that is for six lambs or goats. I like the bigger one better because it has a gamma lid on it that is easier to take the lid off to fill. I like the bum bars with lids on them to keep the bugs out and to keep them from spilling the milk.
For the home-made one:
The big one I used a 5-gallon bucket with the gamma lid. The one I am using now is just a small honey bucket with a lid. I drilled a hole in it with the electric drill. Drill the hole halfway up the bucket, make sure it is the right size for the nipple to snap in.
If you put it to close to the bottom the milk will leak out of it, go at least halfway up from the bottom of the bucket. If you are going to fill it up more then drill the hole closer to the top.
Take a piece of plastic tubing, it doesn’t take much. This is going to work like a straw on the end of the nipple. You want the piece to reach the bottom of the bucket and wrap a little around the bottom of it. You slide one end of it onto the nipple.
Put the nipple into the bucket from the inside. The nipple will snap in if you have the hole the right size. The big part of the nipple keeps it from sliding all the way through the hole. Turn your plastic tubing so it is in the bottom of the bucket.
I have a holder made out of an old tire rim for my bigger feeder. For this smaller one, I usually tie it in the corner to the fence making sure the tube goes where it needs to so it will work like a straw. I make sure and pop the lid on.
I hope my post was helpful. Comments are always welcome! What do you use to take care of those little bums?