There are many different ways to raise goats. When we first had goats we let them dam raise. It’s a lot less work to do it that way, but you’ve got to be careful that all the babies are getting enough nutrition, which isn’t easy if there are triplets.
Then we did some research on a goat disease called CAE and were convinced that we needed to practice CAE prevention. So we started heat treating our colostrum and pasteurizing our milk and bottle raising our goat kids. We then reintroduce the kids back into the herd when they are between one and two months old.
We found the goats we were raising were a lot healthier and even friendlier when we bottle raised them.
Our goats have since tested CAE free for many years and we’ve stopped heat treating our colostrum and pasteurizing our milk. But we continue to bottle raise.
Because we like the results. We have very healthy and very friendly baby goats. The children get to know each individual baby and their personalities really well. Goats that are not staying here can go to their new homes before weaning so their new owners can bond with them.
When you’re bottle raising, you can make sure that each baby goat is getting the nutrition they need, not just to survive, but to thrive. If a dam has triplets, sometimes one of the kids (usually the smallest) does not get enough milk. When we bottle raise, we know that each baby gets everything they need.
When the babies are grown and ready to have their own babies, in our experience, bottle raised goats are generally easier to milk and care for than dam raised goats.
Plus, there are a lot of benefits for the dams and their udders. Their udders are not pulled on repeatedly so they stay in better condition. The dams are also not nursed constantly, so they recover more easily. We raise kids so the dams can see their babies and we’ve not found the dams to be harmed by not raising the babies themselves.