Monday, March 11, 2013

The Truth About Dairy Goats

I have been getting a lot of comments and emails from folks asking why the little ones are away from their mother and bottle feeding. While Yeshiva was here with me, checking on Francis and helping me getting her used to being milked I asked her how she explained to people about this same quandary. How do you explain the necessity of what appears to be such a harsh act?

Yeshiva, who has more grace than I can ever wish to achieve, stated this perfectly. With a smile she answered that keeping the kids with their mother, while seemingly more natural, actually works against domestication. What we all want is a happy goat that runs to meet us in the barn, right? Well that only happens because from the moment they first met the world it was us humans that fed them, cared for them, and kept them warm. Unlike sheep or horses, a goat's job isn't to be ridden or make lamb chops. Her job (at least on this farm) is to be milked so I can drink it, make cheese, and cure bar after bar of soap.

A dairy animal of any specie gives birth to create that beautiful natural creation process we call lactation. I don't have Bonita and Francis to be pets, they are here for the milk! And their offspring is just a part of the process of getting to that milk. I could leave the little ones with their mothers, but the truth is that they would need to be separated from their mothers within a week. Why let them bond and them take them away from each other? It only causes added stress for both the offspring and the mother. I want blissfully ignorant dairy mama's on my stanchions. Goats that were raised by people, that trust people, and who associate me with grain and that sweet relief of milking to reduce those painful swollen udders...

Some farms let the babies with the mothers for a few days, I do not. It's a choice I made based on what I have studied, seen, and what mentors and memoirs have taught me. Remember that every single animal on this farm is here to do work, not to be a pet or a fantasy creature. I will sell the kids soon as possible to folks who want to raise up sweet kids of their own for the same purpose. Or perhaps someone who wants a little wether to back their backcountry gear or pull the milk cart? I have ponies for that job around here! So the kids are here as a blessing of a few days and then off to start their lives on other farms. The mother gets milked and the whole dance gets repeated next year.

Do other goat milkers out there do things the same way as me?

46 Comments:

Blogger Abby said...

A great answer. Thank you.

I do read another blog where the mama goat stayed with her babies. In as little as 4 weeks, the male offspring was trying to mate with his mom and sister! I can see the need to separate quickly.

On bigger scale goat farms, do they have a nursery or something for the young ones?

March 11, 2013 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

"Blissfully ignorant dairy mama"...hey, I have felt like that a time or two =o)

How long will you be able to milk the goats before they dry up?

March 11, 2013 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

It has taken me a long time to reach your same philosophy of goat rearing. My ideal is completely dam raised kids with lots of human interaction. It can be done, but sometimes personality makes it impossible. Last year I had a doeling who was determined to be a little wild thing! No matter how much time I put in to gentling her, each day she became more difficult to catch. It was so bad that the day I decided to pull her it took an hour of constant running. I actually went through the thought process of, "You can run an animal to death. However, I am very overweight. This kid is in better shape than I am. I'll drop dead before she does. Persist. If you don't she wins and you'll NEVER catch her!" LOL! It's a difficult balance. I want my goats to act like goats, and I don't want to be mobbed when I walk into the goat pen. I do want them to be friendly, though. When all is said and done, if it were an option for me I would pull the babies at kidding. You stated the reason in your post. It's far more distressing for the animals if they've been able to bond with one another. I wish I could spare my animals that grief. However, I work away from home and am gone 10-12 hours a day. Therefore, I dam raise my kids until they are old enough to go to twice daily feedings. It's not easy for any of us to make that switch, but it works for us. We get friendly kids, albeit a little later, and wonderful milkers, too. :-)

March 11, 2013 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

I've always been interested in goats, but do not have a clue about them. This is an interesting concept to me.

Also, that is one motley crew you have there. That picture is hilarious.

March 11, 2013 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Kevin and Beth said...

I lived on a dairy farm for awhile, same process there. I didn't know goats were the same. I guess I never thought about it. Unlike sheep, if the main reason for keeping goats is milk, just like a dairy cow, then it seems fitting..

March 11, 2013 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

I think this is along the same lines with 'how could you kill a chicken that you raise from a day-old chick'.
We have become so removed from our food that we just think you can bop to the local Publix and pick up a half-gallon of goat milk any time you want.
As you know, Jenna, that just isn't the case.
Glad everyone is healthy!

March 11, 2013 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Karen C said...

My experience with my three little goats (don't have them anymore, miss them terribly) was that no harm at all came from letting them stay with their Moms - they had no trouble bonding with humans anyway. I hear the argument for the separation happening a little later, but am also hearing some good arguments lately for letting the kids stay with Mom overnight for one feeding, and separating for during the day and the other feeding - better for all, then of course you get all the milk once they're weaned. Everyone is different, but if I had nursing goats I'd try the 1/2 day with, 1/2 day without, everyone's happier I think. Also saw the comment about mating, aren't you usually turning them into wethers before four weeks? Just wondering.

March 11, 2013 at 5:46 PM  
OpenID alewyfe said...

Hm. To dam-raise, or bottle-feed... That's a polarizing and personal decision! I won't pretend to be an authority, as I'm only an aspirational goat gal... none of my own yet. I've read a lot, and this is the advice of two of my favorite virtual goat mentors:
first, Deborah Niemann:
http://www.nigeriandwarfdairygoats.com/kidding.html
And Sharon from Gleanings Farm:
http://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2013/01/24/the-lazy-goatkeeper/

If and when our lifestyle and space allows us to keep a few, I'll be letting the moms raise the babies when possible (bottlefeeding weak or sick kids) and separating them at night to milk in the morning, and lots of human-time to keep the kids tame. Seems more natural for them and easier for us... but man, goat baby living room circus does have a certain charm. Maybe. For a week or two. So cute... but what about the poops? Do you have baby berry bags on them? Or follow them around with a paper towel? Or does Gibs take care of that for you... ew! haha.

March 11, 2013 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Next question: how do you handle the droppings of your indoor kids and lambs?

March 11, 2013 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

I pull my goat kids at birth too. :) Makes life SO much easier for everyone! I find that after 24 hours, the doe's hormones level off anyway, and she honestly couldn't care less about those kids. My girls seem happy to be rid of their little charges. So after a few years of trying dam-raising, keeping the kids on for a couple days to 2 weeks, I found that bottle raising from birth works best for me and my herd.

March 11, 2013 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger Rich With Life said...

Another good reason to never let them be with the mother is that some goat diseases (mainly CAE) can be passed through the saliva- thus you are actually increasing the likelihood that your kids will survive, while simultaneously increasing their friendliness and domestication (that is, if you heat the colostrum and milk to the proper temp before giving it to them). Not too many farms (especially the small ones) do this as far as I know though- they simply separate for domestication purposes.

March 11, 2013 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I worked on a goat dairy where we had around 60 does and a small herd of bucks kept for breeding purposes. Whenever our does gave birth, the baby does were immediately taken and put with other baby does in a large, climate controlled "kid pen" where they would be bottle fed. The young bucks were left with mom, for the most part, because six weeks later, they would be sold as meat animals (or pets, on occasion). Even when very well-bred goats are being produced, bucks are hard to get rid of, so all of the baby boys were named "taco." A few of the best looking boys were kept and raised as breeding stock, but the rest were eaten. As a trade-off, though, they did get to stay with mom. I always thought it was a nice juxtaposition of the norm--in a dairy, unlike the rest of the world, it's the girls who are honored, revered, and treasured while the boys are there simply to offer sperm before they get turned into gyros and barbecue. It took me awhile to stop feeling bad about saying such things, but once you've been knocked over and humped by a ravening pack of horny bucks during breeding season, those tacos start to look mighty delicious. :D

March 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I worked on a goat dairy where we had around 60 does and a small herd of bucks kept for breeding purposes. Whenever our does gave birth, the baby does were immediately taken and put with other baby does in a large, climate controlled "kid pen" where they would be bottle fed. The young bucks were left with mom, for the most part, because six weeks later, they would be sold as meat animals (or pets, on occasion). Even when very well-bred goats are being produced, bucks are hard to get rid of, so all of the baby boys were named "taco." A few of the best looking boys were kept and raised as breeding stock, but the rest were eaten. As a trade-off, though, they did get to stay with mom. I always thought it was a nice juxtaposition of the norm--in a dairy, unlike the rest of the world, it's the girls who are honored, revered, and treasured while the boys are there simply to offer sperm before they get turned into gyros and barbecue. It took me awhile to stop feeling bad about saying such things, but once you've been knocked over and humped by a ravening pack of horny bucks during breeding season, those tacos start to look mighty delicious. :D

March 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I worked on a goat dairy where we had around 60 does and a small herd of bucks kept for breeding purposes. Whenever our does gave birth, the baby does were immediately taken and put with other baby does in a large, climate controlled "kid pen" where they would be bottle fed. The young bucks were left with mom, for the most part, because six weeks later, they would be sold as meat animals (or pets, on occasion). Even when very well-bred goats are being produced, bucks are hard to get rid of, so all of the baby boys were named "taco." A few of the best looking boys were kept and raised as breeding stock, but the rest were eaten. As a trade-off, though, they did get to stay with mom. I always thought it was a nice juxtaposition of the norm--in a dairy, unlike the rest of the world, it's the girls who are honored, revered, and treasured while the boys are there simply to offer sperm before they get turned into gyros and barbecue. It took me awhile to stop feeling bad about saying such things, but once you've been knocked over and humped by a ravening pack of horny bucks during breeding season, those tacos start to look mighty delicious. :D

March 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Mudmama and Papapan said...

We don't do it that way, not at all. In my experience the doe's relationship with us determines the kids, have an aloof doe, she'll have aloof kids. Have a friendly sweet doe, her kids will be sweet and friendly. My buck is by all accounts around here the nicest buck anyone knows - he's well mannered, doesn't ever get pushy (unless you are menstruating, then he thinks you need a show and will feign for you)and he didn't even wean from his mother fully until he was a year old. My kids don't even get separated at night from their moms until they're 8 weeks old. All my kids are lovely sweeties who follow us around the farmyard while we work. Now, my herd lives almost entirely on browse, I only give a handful of grain mixed with kelp and minerals and sunflower seeds (herbal wormer on a schedule too) at milking time. Their ability to browse is important to me, by 2 weeks they're already learning from the rest of the herd, and that shapes the colonization in their rumen, the same way colostrum does. We have a herd of 12. And they may mount each other at 4 weeks (the doelings mount the bucklings too - but they don't reach maturity until around 9 months - it really isn't an issue. We castrate around 3 months, gives us time to decide on if a buckling is worth keeping intact.

March 11, 2013 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Mudmama and Papapan said...

No we don't separate our kids from their mothers. It has not affected socialization at all - if fact for bucks and rams they're much nicer intact adults if they were herd raised not hand raised. My experience is the doe's relationship with you shapes her kids interactions with you - friendly doe, friendly kids, aloof doe, aloof kids. My buck didn't even fully wean until he was a year old and he's such a gentle soul our 5 year old can manage him without any help at all (the only time he gets a bit silly is when I'm menstruating, then he gives me a show with false feigns and peeing on his chin for me.)

March 11, 2013 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

We leave our kids on the mamas 12 hours a day and separate the other 12. I milk only onced a day in the morning then the kids do the rest through out the day. We also only breed every other year and our girls raise out their young and wean them on their own. We get approx a gallon of milk a day well into the second year of milking. Also, we spend as much time as possible making the kids very friendly. Im sure there is no absolute right or wrong here. Your way sounds perfect for you. They are lovely kids!
Be well,
Lisa

March 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

What a beautiful whirlwind your life has been these past few days. Goats, farmers on shifts and fiddles, oh my! Can't remember if your last kid is a girl, but if so I vote Rose after Rose by the door, one of my favorite fiddle tunes.

Congrats proud mama farmer!

March 11, 2013 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Aha! Good to know - thanks to you and Yeshiva for explaining this. Makes very good sense.

March 11, 2013 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, I tell people all the time that I run a working farm, not a petting zoo. Every animal here has a job to do. If it stops doing that job, it has to go. It sounds cruel to a lot of people, but that's the way it is. I don't have the money to keep a ram or a buck as a pet here. Nor the room either. And if that animal does not turn out to be what I was hoping (like a big udder, or has only one kid or lamb) she has to go as well. And I do name my animals that will be eaten. Sorry. I doesn't bother me at all. And how can anyone deny that animal a name? It deserves a name.

The first year I had dairy goats, 9 years ago, I thought that's what I was supposed to do. Take that kid right away. Well, that's not for me, I found out really fast. After having to bottle feed 7 rambunctious feisty kids 3 times a day, having bottles knocked completely out of my hands, having teeth cut my hands and fingers all the time, I decided never again to do that. So they stay with their mammas. I am always out there and talking to them and petting them, so they get the human interaction and contact. And the mother can raise them.

But this year was a bit different. I had an 11 yaer old doe that was not well after kidding. Had to bottle her 2 bucks. Then sold them at just a few weeks old. Then the other doe I'm milking has both her kids sold. So twice a day milking.

Sorry this is so long. But wanted to add, that keeping kids with the mother allows you more freedom. If you can't milk that day or have to be gone a few days, no problem. Or if you don't need milk for a few days, again, no problem. Mom takes care of that. So there are pros and cons to this. You just have to do what is right for you and don't worry about what others think. Everyone does it differently anyway.

March 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

We have been raising dairy goats for 13 years. Babies are whisked away out of the pen as soon as they are born. Our does know no different and there is no crying or looking for a baby. They don't have the same feelings and emotions as we do. They just worry about the grain at the end of the stanchion and the relief of being milked. All that being said, I still get the same comments from people who worry about the mama goat. I tell them to look at every dairy and you will see happy cows who have never set eyes on their young. One more thing, did you ever try to milk a goat who was dam raised?? Get ready for a rodeo. Bottle babies are a dream to milk when they grow up. They have bonded with humans and give you very little trouble. Carry on Jenna.. job well done.

March 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

We have been raising dairy goats for 13 years. Babies are whisked away out of the pen as soon as they are born. Our does know no different and there is no crying or looking for a baby. They don't have the same feelings and emotions as we do. They just worry about the grain at the end of the stanchion and the relief of being milked. All that being said, I still get the same comments from people who worry about the mama goat. I tell them to look at every dairy and you will see happy cows who have never set eyes on their young. One more thing, did you ever try to milk a goat who was dam raised?? Get ready for a rodeo. Bottle babies are a dream to milk when they grow up. They have bonded with humans and give you very little trouble. Carry on Jenna.. job well done.

March 11, 2013 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

That is a sound philosophy! My friends' leave the kids w/ mum for a while before separating them, but your way sounds much better, like you said, less stressful.

March 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

That is a sound philosophy! My friends' leave the kids w/ mum for a while before separating them, but your way sounds much better, like you said, less stressful.

March 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger aart said...

Arm Chair Farmer here doesn't have goats...yet....but has read enough to decide that pulling kids immediately will be my practice also. Not sure yet if I will sell kids or fatten for the freezer, maybe some of both.

March 11, 2013 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

Will you be keeping the female kid and expanding your flock?

March 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger luckybunny said...

My dairy doe hates kids and actually refuses to let any kid she's ever had nurse, which actually works quite well for me, but with other does I have let them stay on the doe for a couple of days and I've bought kids that dairies have pulled off the doe to sell so they could have the milk and it's a nightmare - it's actually I think, cruel. Pulling the kid right at birth is not, they don't know better, they are well taken care of and get food and safe comfortable place to be. And while I know some people say you don't need to bottle feed goats for them to be friendly (which can be true but as a rule is not) I think bottle goats are the best for pets, for dairy animals, and for packing goats. I mean you just cannot beat the way a bottle fed goat acts even as an adult. I bottle fed my Saanen buck and at 4 years old he still thinks he's a baby, he's even wanting to kiss me when he's full of pee. People say it makes them more dangerous and I just can't agree. I've raised a lot of goats and never seen that. of course there is always one - but as a rule it makes them easier to sell and find good homes for and it just works better for everyone. So you did the right thing and I am just as excited as you to have milk! I can taste the cheese already!

March 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

I think the lady in the blog I was referring to had sold eye kids before four weeks, but the original buyer didn't do that before returning them.

March 12, 2013 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger Su Ba said...

I have a small flock of hair sheep that I keep for meat and milk. Yes, milk! Lambs are removed immediately at birth, out of sight and sound. Females are bottle fed. Males are slaughtered for soup. (Too expensive to bottle feed them.) I do have one ewe that while she produces lots of milk, her teats are small making it difficult to milk her. So we have her raise some males for us. If she doesn't have three males of her own, we will graft some to her. The grafting process takes a couple days, and while it is a bit of work for me, it is worth it. Those three rams become my meat supply.

I was taught to separate the lambs when they were a week old. But I found that it causes a lot of emotional trauma to both the lambs and the ewes. Separating immediately at birth doesn't seem to traumatize either.

March 12, 2013 at 12:52 AM  
Blogger Goatldi said...

My first kids of the season arrived at 1 a.m. on 3/10. In 27 years I have raised kids both by dam and by bottle and a time or two with both. I find that there are + and - to both ways. I find that socializing is best done by frequent daily contact with the kids. good milking stand habits result from early training before that doe even becomes bred. don't expect a doe who has never been on a stand to milk before to jump up and go for it. you might get lucky but you may not. Have fun!

March 12, 2013 at 1:14 AM  
Blogger Megan F said...

if you were to keep the kids to raise, how long do they have to stay separated from the mother? when can they join the herd?

March 12, 2013 at 7:48 AM  
OpenID geckoontheroad said...

I only wanted to milk once a day, so I would leave the kids on their mothers all day during which they would milk the does, separate them at night, milk in the morning, and put them back together for the day.

March 12, 2013 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I leave the kids with their mothers and after two weeks, start milking the mothers once a day. I get plenty of milk to supply my family and friends with cheese, yogurt and milk. I just have a few goats and I spend time with them every day, so the kids are very friendly.

March 12, 2013 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

My CSA farmer does the exact same, creating kindergarten in her living room (www.hollandfarmcsa.com). She has some VERY friendly, well adjusted goats because of it. My milk CSA (organic, raw jersey milk) keeps the calves on the cows for a few weeks, taking half the milk. My neighbors, conventional dairy farmers take the calves away within a day or two. It is up to what works best for you. These kids are having really great experiences in their first days, they should have little problem living easily at other farms. Gibson reminds me of Nana from Peter Pan!

March 12, 2013 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I don't agree that goats don't have the same emotions as one commenter said, because the does DO bond to their kids and miss them when they're gone (but usually forget them in a couple days). I've found it's much easier to remove the kids as soon as possible (before the doe ever gets a chance to even lick them) because then she doesn't get the chance to bond. If you leave a kid with the doe any longer, she'll start to bond and the process is harder on her. When I remove the kids right away, the does bond to ME and think I'm their baby. They lick me and talk to me just like a kid.

I personally don't care for bottle feeding. Yeah, it's cute for a little while, but gets old quickly, IMO. I am letting my CAE negative doe dam raise kids this year, and it's SO nice not to have to bottle them.

March 12, 2013 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Ohiofarmgirl said...

we let the momma's raise them. but we sell the babies asap so as soon as we have a buyer we switch the babies to bottles so the new owners can bottle raise them. easy peasy. but nope we dont think its cruel to pull them. we just think its too much work.

March 12, 2013 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Patty Woodland said...

I keep mine on their mothers. I separate them at night at one month. I work with the kids and I've only had one instance in my 7 years where I couldn't tame the kid. The mothers don't wail at birth looking for the kids. The kids grow up healthier. I don't have to be on a feeding schedule and I get the milk at one month out. I schedule my births so I have milk year round. There is some separation noise when I send the kids off but it lasts for maybe an hour then all is well again.

I found this better after I bottle fed my first set. We each have our ways of dealing with things.

March 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger SixSchlabies said...

How long does it take to switch them to a bottle before you send them with the buyer? I'm in a situation where I need to decide whether to bring home a one week old who's been with her mother or wait till she's 4 -8 weeks old. I've been looking for the best option. I'm also bringing home an 8 week old who's been with her mama the whole time too. These are my first goats and I really want to make a good decision. I need to reply to the seller today.

March 12, 2013 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

I leave my kids on their moms. The moms love their babies and care for them much better than I could. My kids are friendly and there is always plenty of milk to go around. I have had plenty of babies that have been dam raised that are now in petting farms, 4h projects, and all are friendly and easy to work with. Dam raised kids tend to be healthier too. They get their milk in small amounts not a belly full all at once. They learn so much from their mothers like what is dangerous, what to eat and what not to and it is a pleasure to watch.
There are arguments for both ways but this is how we do it. I wouldn't want to go through all that just to have my baby whisked away.

March 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Jackie said...

nope, I leave kids on mamas, for three weeks, then we shut the kids in the nursery at night, milk the mamas in the morning, then let the kids run with the mamas in the day. They wean naturally and live in families. We believe it's kinder and more natural, and that it increases milk yield in the adult females.
We rear the boys for meat so we're kind of interested in them being healthy and wholesome too. We never kill a thing which hasn't seen a summer.

March 12, 2013 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

SixSchlabies - I know you're asking Jenna's opinion here but I'll offer mine too!

Leave that one week old kid with her mom until she's at least 8 weeks old! It's so much better for her (and I'm not speaking specifically about being dam-raised here though I do support that but I mean for access to real, fresh goat milk). Additionally, the seller should not sell you a baby unless you have a fresh source of goat's milk.

March 12, 2013 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Six, honestly if she's been with her mom all week and the farmer will let you wait until she is 8 weeks old, go with that. Saves you a lot of time and feedings, and gives the little one her mama's milk for longer.

If she can't you can raise goat kids on milk replacer formula sold at any feed store of worth. It's not as good as goat milk but as a child raised on formula and not breast milk, us bottle babies without the real thing turn out fine.

March 12, 2013 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

You can also easily raise baby goats on cow milk from the store. There is a big goat dairy near me that pulls all babies and then buys milk at Costco to feed the babes. Seems strange but they use all their milk for cheese. Replacer is very expensive and they tend to scour on it.

March 12, 2013 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

I am helping at a Nubian Goat dairy. I bottle fed 32 babies tonight and do that most nights to help out. We separate to prevent CAE (Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis) the herd is CAE free but as a precaution we pasturize the colostrum and all milk we feed to the kids. It is a lot of work but these are top 10 in the US milk test goats. Karen also coppers twice a year and use vitamins and supplements to keep them in top shape. We average 3 kids per doe and had 2 does with 4 that all lived. And only had 10 bucks out of 35 born so far.The next batch is due to start kidding in a couple weeks, then the 1st freshen start after that. Lots of work.
We have also started to grow barley fodder for the herd.

March 13, 2013 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger Sara D said...

I've done it both ways and have found that I personally prefer to let mom raise the kids. I separate them at night after 4 weeks and milk in the morning. All the kids have been incredibly friendly. The time and work involved in bottle feeding kids is not something I want in my life again. In my experience my bottle-fed babies are noisy nuisances (although I love them dearly); they see me mostly as a provider of food and will holler loudly until they get it. One of them will cry if she just sees me walking past the barn. She became too attached to me. My mom-raised kids are always friendly and quiet. They enjoy me more for a good scratch or cuddle than anything else. But honestly there's nothing wrong with either way as long as the goats are well cared for and you get milk! It's more a matter of personal preference. I'm think I'm just too lazy for bottle-feeding.

March 14, 2013 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Angelia said...

I've done it both way.. I by far prefer dam raised babies... I feel like they are healthier, in mind and body when raised by mom. I have also found that a friendly mom makes a friendly kid... I take babies off at 2 to 3 weeks at night, milk out in the morning, then kids go back on mom for the day. Something else that helps them bond to me is when I get ready to put them back with mom I carry each baby one at a time to mom, petting, scratching, place the kid at the udder... pretty soon the kids associate me with food and love just like I bottle raised them... but without being annoying!!

May 2, 2013 at 3:16 PM  

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