How to Make an Automatic Milk Feeding Bucket
By Tawny Bott - Abra-Cadabra Alpacas - Kiowa, CO
Published with permission.
This is an ongoing project. It works quite well, but there can be many variations, changes and additions to the process. So be prepared to think 'outside-the-box'. if you see something that you could improve, try it!
So you have a bottle baby. How many of us dread the thought? Whether from losing the dam, a mom that just won’t accept her bundle of joy or one that doesn’t have enough milk; it is perhaps one of the biggest challenges the camelid owner has to deal with. Not only does it take a lot of time and effort to get in all the feedings needed to sustain life, but sleep is now a thing of the past. Zombies have nothing over an owner feeding an orphan cria. Yep, so many of us have been there.
For years I too was right there in the trenches, sleeping in short naps and hoping and praying I’d make it through until the baby could eat larger meals and start stretching out the feeding times. I mean even if you can put out a bottle in a holder or pour milk in a bucket, you still had to be there to put it out. I just assumed it was the way it had to be. But no more. Prepare to be amazed! Here comes a nifty little invention that can make both the owner and cria’s life a bit easier.
It started out several years ago when I took in a couple of refugees from the flood in Lyons, Colorado. Whether you heard about it or not, it was a massive flood that left animals and humans in deep water for days and sometimes weeks. Baby Shadeaux was having a rough time of it as his mom’s milk had dried up from all the stress and unfortunate living conditions. When I got him at 4 months of age, he was the size of my 1-month old crias and yet he would only drink 1 or 2 ounces of milk at a time. I tried all sorts of supplemental feeds, but he just wasn’t too interested in solid foods. Something had to give and even feeding him every four hours wasn’t getting him enough calories for him to grow on.
I came across a FB post by Julie Rosenfeld about making a feeding bucket. Well, I took the info provided and by making some changes and additions, produced a feeding station that allowed Shadeaux to drink whenever he felt like it, and it would work in any weather and finally, not only got me away from hourly feedings, but he began to gain weight! Today you’d never be able to tell he had such a rough start in life.
For complete instructions, click the link below.
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