Bottle babies....

Duckfarmerpa1

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Ok, last season we didn’t have ant bottle babies, but we got lucky, or just didn’t choose to do it? Didn’t know the advantages of it? So, if I decide to do this next time, I’d like to be well informed way before, so know exactly what I’m in for....
From my thinking last year was that I would bottle feed if momma didn’t have enough milk for all the kids. Then I’m learning that, bottle feeding allows me to milk her for the milk to go to us..not the kid. But...then I’m buying store Vit D milk, so, doesn’t it end up costing more if it’s not necessary? Bottle kids have to come inside the house and STAY in the house or do they get to go back in the barn? I’m sorry but I don’t know if I want goats...I know the6 are adorable...but they also poop and pee, without warning...so, not sure if I want that in my house that hubby built inch by inch with his two bare hands? My old farmer friend said hubby could rig a system or a set of bottles to the wall, and the kids could feed off of them, not the momma....anyone heard of that? And, from all the the looking for goats on the internet recently, everyone is advertising “bottle babies “ as though they are the best things since sliced bread! Is that because they might be more socialized? And, if I bottle feed this kid, around the clock, in my arms, with those great big eyes looking up at me, how am I at all supposed to turn around and sell him? It was hard enough selling our one buckling this year!! Next year we plan to only keep a couple...best dairy lines. So, can you all help give me the pros and cons of bottle babies...and perhaps I’ve got it all wrong?
 

thistlebloom

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They don't have to be in the house.
Bottles on the walls? That's a funny idea.

I haven't bottle fed goats since we raised them when I still lived with my parents (long time ago) so experienced goat people will have to give you the details. Ours came in the house as newborns but as soon as they could jump out of the large cardboard box they were kept in they moved back out to the goat shed. We didn't buy milk, momma goat supplied it and we got any extra until they were weaned, then we got it all.
 

AlleysChicks

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Supposedly they make friendlier goats and since handling so much they are easier on the stand.
To me it's harder to wean them to solid food than dam raised. Mine had no interest in hay or grain at 5 weeks old, while the other kids had already started munching on it.

All my kids are overly friendly and are being dam raised. I have 1 bottle baby that I bought and a stranger would never be able to tell the difference between her and the others personality wise.
 

Ridgetop

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The reason for not allowing calves and kids to nurse on dairy animals is that you need to maximize production Nursing kids fluctuate in amount of milk they drink so the amount produced fluctuates too. Dairy people need the milk so they can't afford lowered production. This may be long, but I hope it explains why bottle feeding is better if you are milking for the house.

Most dairy goat people bottle feed as a precaution against CAE. Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis. It is a disease only contracted by goats which can be carried in the milk to their kids. Healthy goats can also catch it from other goats through body fluids. The only way to avoid spreading it through the herd is to bottle feed with heat treated and pasteurized milk. We went further, drawing blood and testing each year to make sure the herd stayed clean.

Now, first thing is - why are you keeping goats? Do you just want them as pets? If so, get a disbudded and castrated wether that has been bottle fed. If you want them for milk producers, then you need to breed them each year and let them produce kids. No kids, no milk.

We raised our children on goat milk. We drank it fresh and without pasteurizing. I only pasteurized milk for the goat kids. We had Nubians and LaManchas. They were all disbudded. They were all bottle babies. Bottle babies are delightful, but the reason to bottle feed is that you are able to keep the doe's lactation going much longer than would be normal just by nursing kids. With milking you use an antiseptic udder wash before milking and after. This removes any germs from the udder. Using teat dip after milking seals the teat ends and prevents germs from traveling into the udder and causing mastitis.

Here is how it works:

Our dairy herd was on a 10 month lactation. We were on milk test which meant that someone (FarmerJan is a tester) comes out at milking time, takes samples of the milk, checks the weights, and sends the milk samples in to a lab for testing. Commercials have to be tested to make sure the milk is healthy. The milk of any animals on antibiotics are restricted from being placed into the general tank for consumption. Since lots of dairies have several cows on antibiotics some of the time, that milk is used for raising calves or sold to the "calf man". The "calf man" takes all bull calves at birth and raises them. Most dairy breed steers are grazed out and made into hamburger. Heifer calves are either kept and raised on the dairy or are contracted out to the "calf man" to be raised and returned to the dairy when they are older.

In the dairy business male babies are worthless.

If you want the goat milk you are producing for household use, you have to keep your doe producing a constant amount. You do this by removing the kids at birth and milking the doe for the rest of her lactation. You only grain her in the stanchion while she is being milked. The best way is to weigh the milk she gives and give her grain pound for pound for what she produces. A gallon of milk weighs 8 lb. That way you are not over feeding her with grain for the amount of milk she produces. She should always get free choice hay or pasture/forage. LOTS of fresh water. She can't make milk without water and lots of it.

You have to understand the normal lactation curve of a nursing mother. In a nursing goat (or any other species) the amount of milk produced is in direct response to the needs of her young. So if she is nursing kids and they begin to eat solid food, graze or hay, their milk requirement will diminish. She will produce less milk. That means that there will soon be no milk. You can't let her nurse her kids for several months and then expect to be able to milk her for any adequate amount of daily milk yield for the house.

By removing the kids and putting them on bottles, you will take their place and milk her to the maximum of her lactation production. There will be no lessening in production as long as she is getting adequate nutrition and water. The kids will wean at 2-3 months but you will continue milking the mother for 10 months. During that time you will breed her again, and continue to milk during her pregnancy. 3 months before her due date, you will reduce to 1 milking per day, in order to gradually dry her off 2 months before she kids again. This will give her a chance to rebuild her reserves before she kids and you start the milking cycle again.

Next point, you will not be keeping the kids in the house. They will have a nice pen in the barn. They will not be lonely because they will not know any better. They will not be cold because you will bed them in nice thick straw and if necessary use a heat lamp. At 2 months old (or earlier if you want) you will dispose of the buck kids by selling them either privately or at the auction. If you want to keep the doe kids with the idea of putting them into the milking herd that is fine. We used to kid out about 12-20 does a year with 4 children in 4-H. We selected the best udders and sold the other milkers after the kids were weaned. Since we had Nubians and LaManchas, we averaged 3 kids per doe. Nubians are known for producing 4 and 5 at a time. Since we wanted milk for ourselves, we used half goat milk and half purchased cow milk replacer for the kids until they were 2 months old. Once they were 2 moths old old the bucks went off to the auction. The others were weaned by 3 months old and the rest of the milk was for us. We had high test milkers, some of whom gave almost 2 gallons daily through the length of their lactation. After the kids were weaned we raised dairy bull calves on our milk since they brought in good money at the auction.

With ND goats your milk yield will be much less. however ND kids will drink less too. You don't feed bottle babies all they want to drink. They start off slow and then when our kids were drinking a1 quart at a time, they got 1 quart am and 1 quart pm. Your ND kids will drink less. They had free choice hay. No grain since we wanted to encourage rumen development. We usually milked about 12 does daily and had plenty of milk for the household, and for raising calves.

We were feeding 30 kids at a time. We did not hold them in our arms and feed them with a bottle after the first 2 days when they were learning to nurse. I started them that way since babies are stupid and you have to teach them to eat. Once they were about a week old, they recognized the bottle and ran for it. Once we were sure they were eating enough per kid, we switched them to a feeding bucket. You can buy caprine feeding buckets, but I bought my first one and then copied it to make my own. Take a 5 gallon bucket and drilling 5/8" holes around the middle of it. Then I used the nipples that are sold for the caprine feeders. You can buy them and the vinyl tubing separately. The vinyl tubing goes into the nipple and is cut long enough to reach the bottom of the bucket. The result is the kids drink the milk through the tube like a straw. You can hang the buckets or set them in a stand. The kids should have to bend their heads up like they would nursing on a doe. That way the milk will go in the milk stomach.

I used to allow 1 quart of milk for each kid and 1 quart extra for the bucket in case one of the kids ate too much. Since you will only be feeding 1 or 2 kids, bottle feeding goes very fast. They tend to suck it down pronto. You only feed twice a day once they are about 3 weeks old. Be sure they get their CDT shots though to avoid overeaters' disease.

I hope this helps encourage you with milking for your family, and understand why bottle feeding babies is not mean. I haven't bothered to talk about the correct ways to milk, using udder wash and teat dip to prevent infection, or how to strain and cool the milk properly. There is lots of information out there on that. This is to explain the merits of milking and reasons for bottle feeding. By the way, I nursed all my children, this only applies to dairy animals! LOL
 

WildersMilkMaid

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The reason for not allowing calves and kids to nurse on dairy animals is that you need to maximize production Nursing kids fluctuate in amount of milk they drink so the amount produced fluctuates too. Dairy people need the milk so they can't afford lowered production. This may be long, but I hope it explains why bottle feeding is better if you are milking for the house.

Most dairy goat people bottle feed as a precaution against CAE. Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis. It is a disease only contracted by goats which can be carried in the milk to their kids. Healthy goats can also catch it from other goats through body fluids. The only way to avoid spreading it through the herd is to bottle feed with heat treated and pasteurized milk. We went further, drawing blood and testing each year to make sure the herd stayed clean.

Now, first thing is - why are you keeping goats? Do you just want them as pets? If so, get a disbudded and castrated wether that has been bottle fed. If you want them for milk producers, then you need to breed them each year and let them produce kids. No kids, no milk.

We raised our children on goat milk. We drank it fresh and without pasteurizing. I only pasteurized milk for the goat kids. We had Nubians and LaManchas. They were all disbudded. They were all bottle babies. Bottle babies are delightful, but the reason to bottle feed is that you are able to keep the doe's lactation going much longer than would be normal just by nursing kids. With milking you use an antiseptic udder wash before milking and after. This removes any germs from the udder. Using teat dip after milking seals the teat ends and prevents germs from traveling into the udder and causing mastitis.

Here is how it works:

Our dairy herd was on a 10 month lactation. We were on milk test which meant that someone (FarmerJan is a tester) comes out at milking time, takes samples of the milk, checks the weights, and sends the milk samples in to a lab for testing. Commercials have to be tested to make sure the milk is healthy. The milk of any animals on antibiotics are restricted from being placed into the general tank for consumption. Since lots of dairies have several cows on antibiotics some of the time, that milk is used for raising calves or sold to the "calf man". The "calf man" takes all bull calves at birth and raises them. Most dairy breed steers are grazed out and made into hamburger. Heifer calves are either kept and raised on the dairy or are contracted out to the "calf man" to be raised and returned to the dairy when they are older.

In the dairy business male babies are worthless.

If you want the goat milk you are producing for household use, you have to keep your doe producing a constant amount. You do this by removing the kids at birth and milking the doe for the rest of her lactation. You only grain her in the stanchion while she is being milked. The best way is to weigh the milk she gives and give her grain pound for pound for what she produces. A gallon of milk weighs 8 lb. That way you are not over feeding her with grain for the amount of milk she produces. She should always get free choice hay or pasture/forage. LOTS of fresh water. She can't make milk without water and lots of it.

You have to understand the normal lactation curve of a nursing mother. In a nursing goat (or any other species) the amount of milk produced is in direct response to the needs of her young. So if she is nursing kids and they begin to eat solid food, graze or hay, their milk requirement will diminish. She will produce less milk. That means that there will soon be no milk. You can't let her nurse her kids for several months and then expect to be able to milk her for any adequate amount of daily milk yield for the house.

By removing the kids and putting them on bottles, you will take their place and milk her to the maximum of her lactation production. There will be no lessening in production as long as she is getting adequate nutrition and water. The kids will wean at 2-3 months but you will continue milking the mother for 10 months. During that time you will breed her again, and continue to milk during her pregnancy. 3 months before her due date, you will reduce to 1 milking per day, in order to gradually dry her off 2 months before she kids again. This will give her a chance to rebuild her reserves before she kids and you start the milking cycle again.

Next point, you will not be keeping the kids in the house. They will have a nice pen in the barn. They will not be lonely because they will not know any better. They will not be cold because you will bed them in nice thick straw and if necessary use a heat lamp. At 2 months old (or earlier if you want) you will dispose of the buck kids by selling them either privately or at the auction. If you want to keep the doe kids with the idea of putting them into the milking herd that is fine. We used to kid out about 12-20 does a year with 4 children in 4-H. We selected the best udders and sold the other milkers after the kids were weaned. Since we had Nubians and LaManchas, we averaged 3 kids per doe. Nubians are known for producing 4 and 5 at a time. Since we wanted milk for ourselves, we used half goat milk and half purchased cow milk replacer for the kids until they were 2 months old. Once they were 2 moths old old the bucks went off to the auction. The others were weaned by 3 months old and the rest of the milk was for us. We had high test milkers, some of whom gave almost 2 gallons daily through the length of their lactation. After the kids were weaned we raised dairy bull calves on our milk since they brought in good money at the auction.

With ND goats your milk yield will be much less. however ND kids will drink less too. You don't feed bottle babies all they want to drink. They start off slow and then when our kids were drinking a1 quart at a time, they got 1 quart am and 1 quart pm. Your ND kids will drink less. They had free choice hay. No grain since we wanted to encourage rumen development. We usually milked about 12 does daily and had plenty of milk for the household, and for raising calves.

We were feeding 30 kids at a time. We did not hold them in our arms and feed them with a bottle after the first 2 days when they were learning to nurse. I started them that way since babies are stupid and you have to teach them to eat. Once they were about a week old, they recognized the bottle and ran for it. Once we were sure they were eating enough per kid, we switched them to a feeding bucket. You can buy caprine feeding buckets, but I bought my first one and then copied it to make my own. Take a 5 gallon bucket and drilling 5/8" holes around the middle of it. Then I used the nipples that are sold for the caprine feeders. You can buy them and the vinyl tubing separately. The vinyl tubing goes into the nipple and is cut long enough to reach the bottom of the bucket. The result is the kids drink the milk through the tube like a straw. You can hang the buckets or set them in a stand. The kids should have to bend their heads up like they would nursing on a doe. That way the milk will go in the milk stomach.

I used to allow 1 quart of milk for each kid and 1 quart extra for the bucket in case one of the kids ate too much. Since you will only be feeding 1 or 2 kids, bottle feeding goes very fast. They tend to suck it down pronto. You only feed twice a day once they are about 3 weeks old. Be sure they get their CDT shots though to avoid overeaters' disease.

I hope this helps encourage you with milking for your family, and understand why bottle feeding babies is not mean. I haven't bothered to talk about the correct ways to milk, using udder wash and teat dip to prevent infection, or how to strain and cool the milk properly. There is lots of information out there on that. This is to explain the merits of milking and reasons for bottle feeding. By the way, I nursed all my children, this only applies to dairy animals! LOL
Thank you for this very well-written and informative response!
 
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