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Baby Goats

 
Alison Thomas
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Posts: 933
Location: France
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We have a goats cheese making farm near us and they have the 'problem' of unwanted kids. Apparently it's possible to buy them and bring them on as bottle feeders (obviously).  I'd be grateful of your thoughts on this.

I think our 'goat plan' is to get a couple of potential milkers but just let them get to know us, the land, and just munch away for the first year, then maybe put them to kid (is that the right expression?) in year 2 with the aim of learning how to milk and make cheese in that year.  I don't want to take on too much too soon and then feel swamped.
 
Emil Spoerri
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better to get a gentle nanny goat and graft the kids onto her

you might have to tie her in one spot a few times a day to let them milk her at first, but i found within 4 days they usually let them milk.
 
                    
Posts: 63
Location: N.W. Arkansas
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I would simply bottle the babies.
I would definitely want some colostrum (first milk) with the babies.  And perhaps set up a deal to get some milk on a weekly basis, to mix in with sheep and goat formula.

Every time that I have tried to switch kids on nannies, they killed the kids, when I was not looking, not once did one survive.  But, if I bottle the kids, and let them slowly get familiar, then the larger goats won't hurt them.  Besides, bottling them, bonds them to you, and who wants to have to chase a goat to milk them?  I like pets.
 
                          
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
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I bottle feed over half of my goat kids, and use calf milk replacer, (lamb replacer is better but more expensive),  they do better on goats milk and mama but some times it is not alway possible, and some times I find feeding the kids is better than not feeding my family milk, I try to let them have some real milk when possible,

if you get a lot of kids I like the feeding bucket,
https://www.caprinesupply.com/shop/?page=shop/browse&category_id=db9d71081f12517fbc1005d34c750991&ps_session=88a48210ec67231bbfd2c3ac7ead7183
or
http://www.hoeggergoatsupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=4234&cat=30&page=3

I usually start off with a pop type bottle and a latex nipple and then after a few days move up to the nipple like on the bucket, and then transfer them to the bucket (to start off on the bucket I put the tube in a bottle or a can to raise up the level of the milk so they can get it fast and learn to suck on it a few seconds,)
 
Alison Thomas
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Posts: 933
Location: France
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Ok thanks.  I hear what you're saying asmileisthenewak47 but I don't think we'll be able to find a nanny. 

I guess I'm also asking if a complete novice can take on a baby goat and be successful.  Would I need heated facilities or anything?
 
Emil Spoerri
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2 of my babies were born in the middle of winter, in a semi drafty shack
the only source of warmth was mama and the huge layers of hay, straw, poop and piss
it was colddddd

they did great...
more than cold you have to watch out for is wetness and humidity

honestly i haven't even thought of the possible need to buy replacer, all my kids have done fine in the experience i have had thus far. i have heard the stuff is expensive...
i feel that i would rather milk out and bottle feed a goat than feed it formula...
 
                    
Posts: 63
Location: N.W. Arkansas
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Often with orphaned, abandoned etc. kids, I have had to raise them in the house with a box by the heater.  Once they are escaping and running all over the house, then they are strong enough to have a nice dry bed in a draft free barn.

I agree with the replacement formula, it works if you don't have enough milk, for one reason or another, but if you can get some goat milk to mix with it, all the better.  I have lost more kids on formula than on goat milk.  The main thing a novice needs to know is:  Keep them warm, study up on worming, and coccidiostats, use the meds reasonably, and never overfeed them.
Overfeeding them will lead to diarhea and death.  And the little guys will want to eat more than they need.  Rather than dilute their milk, once they have had their proper feeding, if they are still hungry, I give them all the warm water that they want.

I normally, try to keep some goat milk frozen for just such emergencies, when you need milk and have none.  Even frozen, and thawed goat milk is better than replacer formulas.

Baby animals are babies, and they need love, so you can't just pitch them out and expect good results.  Even the love of other baby animals will help them to survive.

Warmth, clean food, medications for worms and coccidiosis, and some loving and they will thrive.

 
                          
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
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this year we kidded in December, and I had a few mommas that did not take there babies,
it was 0 at night, and possibly 30 in the middle of the day, I set up a set of heat lamps and put some panels up so the kids , (all the kids could get through) and mommas could not , and the bottle feed (once they were up and going), they lived out in the stall under the heat lamps and followed the other kids around, I would let them in to the milk room and fed them in there, and out they would go with the others, there was a group of them they could huddle up with and under the light), but they do amazing well, (I have never had any of the Nubian's freeze there ears or lost any to cold it self),  when there under a week you want to feed them often, some say ever 2 hrs, I feed them ever 4 hrs  I may do that the first day but soon move up to 6 hrs, by the third day, and then to 3 times a day then to two in about two weeks,
I do not dehorn them (I did at one time but do not like the process) and if a predator did come in the area, they then are total defenseless, with out horns, yes they  can cause some problems but goats are goats,
not to bad of paper on the subject, 
http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/8160.pdf

http://fiascofarm.com/goats/index.htm

 
                    
Posts: 63
Location: N.W. Arkansas
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It is so odd to me, that you must mutilate an animal to have the animal accepted.

For instance, if you don't cut the tail off of baby pigs, they are of less value, and then burn the goats horns off, and some dogs have to have ears, tails, and any dew claws cut off.

I can see selective breeding to get qualities that you want and remove what is not wanted.  But, to make a mutilated animal the standard that all are judged by?  That is ludicrous and folks accept it as the norm, even more ludicrous.

 
                        
Posts: 3
Location: Free America
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First off it would be better to get a milk breed goat that has just been bred. That way you get to know the goat and experience the birthing process. You would then have the milk.

As for bottle babies it amazes me how people who breast fed thier human children and were breast feeding advocates in some cases turn so quickly to bottle feeding baby animals. There are cases where it is necessary, but not because it is more convient.

In my experience bottle fed goats do not do as well long term. They tend to be sicker over all and often are smaller.

In my experience having the baby goats horns removed only damage the goat. Their horns are there for a reason, they are NOT decorations. A goat who is handled regularly will present no more danger than a goat without horns. I have small children and many homeschool children who visit our farm and no  one has ever been hurt by horns.
As for the unwanted kids, you need to watch the animals that are rejected simply because they don't producewhat the owners are looking for. More often than not these animals spend the first days of thier lives away from thier mothers and are not considered importaqnt and often are just discarded. It would be better to find a local breeder whohas grade goats for sale unless you are considering showing your goats.
please feel free to mail me if you have any questions for if we asa community share our experience our lives as a whole are enriched.
 
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