Why We Bottle Feed

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.

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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. 

Why?

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.

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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.

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Bottle raising is a lot of extra work, but for our family and our herd, it is definitely worth it.

PJ

 

 

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  • Amanda Rossman

    How do you let the babies see their mommas without them switching back to getting their milk from their mommas? Just curious-I would like to have goats one day too!

    • http://www.goatmilkstuff.com goatmilkstuff

      There is a cattle panel fence. The babies are on one side and the mommas the other. The kids pretty much ignore the moms. The dams will come to the fence every once in a while, see what’s going on and then go back to something more interesting. They certainly don’t stand there and “moon” over the babies or cry for them or anything like that. It’s funny, every once in a while a mom and kid will touch noses through the fence and it’s never the dam and “her” kid. PJ

  • Rach

    Hello PJ… We have a small goat herd and we practice CAE prevention by taking the babies, treating our milk and then bottle feeding. We have kept the babies separate from the mothers and are not quite sure how to reincorporate them into the herd. Above you said you do this at around one to two months. Any tips on the reincorporation period? Do you separate them at night for milking the moms and bottle feeding the babies? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • goatmilkstuff

      The moms and babies can see each other through the cattle panels and touch noses. Some of the moms could care less. Some of the moms love all the babies and don’t single out their own. In fact, I can’t think of any of the moms that have ever seemed to “identify” their particular kid. Once the youngest baby is 2 months old or so, we open up a black culvert tube that is in the fence. The baby goats can fit through the tube and go into and out of the mom’s pen as they wish. This way we can keep the baby’s food out at all times and don’t have to worry about the moms getting it. The babies can fit through that piple for a really long time. It’s probably about 18″ in diameter?? Maybe?? Hope that helps some! PJ