I have one doe that is a wonderful mother except for one small behavior….right after she gets the kids cleaned off she starts pawing a hole as if she’s suddenly experienced a desperate need to visit China. Typically the kids are still tottering around on unsteady feet, wanting to nurse, unsure how legs work to lay down, etc. She’s knocked them over at times, pawed sawdust onto them and once they’ve finally settled down to sleep she’s at times half buried them in bedding. My response has been checking on the kids every 20 minutes or sleeping in the stall the first night. This time I thought I’d be strategic and give her a lot less bedding and clean up any wet bedding in case it was an instinctual urge to “get rid of the birth evidence” to avoid attracting predators. That might have helped some but it wasn’t enough so I resorted to my next idea which was using the bottom half of a large transport crate with the opening against a wall, bedding it down, and using it as a playpen for the babies. I went back and got them out to nurse a couple of times and by the next day she was done with the idea of being a tourist in China and I was able to safely remove the crate. Peace reigned once again!
By Kathrin Bateman
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