Tiny goat's mother hen

Durban - Lilo the dwarf Cameroon goat is showing a fighting spirit many times her tiny build. There was a rocky start when Lilo, who is now one month old, was rejected at birth by her mother in favour of a male sibling. But she has found acceptance and generosity in the form of Crocworld Conservation Centre staff - and a resident chicken. 

If Lilo could speak, she would probably call the chicken Mom. Shortly after being rejected by her mom, staff noticed she started following the chicken - which shares the enclosure - around. And, by all indications, the chicken did not seem to mind one bit. It was often seen standing around with the little goat lying peacefully close to its feet.

"Lilo was born on August 17 with a twin brother. Dwarf Cameroon goat females usually have between one to three kids per pregnancy. This is the first time that we have seen a mother reject her offspring," said Martin Rodrigues, manager of the Crocworld Conservation Centre.

"She gladly accepted the male, however the female kid was rejected. We kept a very close eye on developments and noticed that Lilo was being butted away by the mother when she went to drink from her. We also noticed that Lilo was following one of the large chickens, which shares the enclosure with the goats, and appeared to think this chicken was her mother."

 

They took the decision to remove Lilo from her mother as she was not caring for her. She was hand-reared from day one.


Rodrigues and Crocworld Conservation Centre tour guide Caleb Rowberry took it in turns to take Lilo back home with them after work to nurse her back to health by bottle-feeding her every two to three hours.Lilo weighed just over 1kg when she was born and now weighs nearly 5kg.

She appears to be thriving and is still being bottle-fed by Crocworld staff. Solid food has been introduced to her diet.

Lilo now spends most of her time during the day with the rest of the Dwarf Cameroon goats, which call the children's animal farm at the centre home.
 
Rodrigues said Lilo is "a real character".

"She has become a member of our ever-growing family at the centre and we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch her grow and develop. Lilo is already one of our animal ambassadors and we invite members of the public to visit the centre and meet her."
 

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