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Old 02-04-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
Tim Pruitt
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Default FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

Dairy goats are labor intensive. Every year we re-evaluate the way we do things and look for new and innovative ways to make goat keeping less work. This is important, as most of us have a life - other than goats.

Since the discovery of CAE, pooled milk is fed only pasteurized and dam raising is usually frowned upon. This forces most people to hand raise their kids to reduce chances of disease, tame kids and also to use the milk for human needs.

Dairy cattle have shown that successful calf rearing can be done with two feedings a day. I would like to hear from those who have fed milk to kids only twice a day to find out their results. Most of us, feed 3-4 feedings a day with the thought that the kids tummies can’t hold much so – they need multiple feedings for optimum growth. Because of the labor, some dam raise or use cold milk fed free choice etc.

What is your experience with feeding 2 X a day if you have done so?



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Old 02-04-2011, 09:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

When I first started in goats 30 years ago, we fed twice a day and pulled all the kids at birth. From what I remember, they did fine, since there were just as well grown as other kids of the same age when compared at shows.

I had posted asking how others feed their kids, since everyone feeds more than twice a day. I'm unemployed now, so I guess it doesn't matter.



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Old 02-05-2011, 04:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

well, I will admit to it.
With so many feeding theirs more often, I always felt guilty that we only feed ours 2x /day.
That is the way we have always fed our bottle calves. We do chores twice a day and milk twice a day and feed the bottle calves twice a day, so... we also feed the goat kids twice a day.
I have well grown kids that can be bred their first winter and so we will continue to do it like this.
I have just got to keep the chores thing in check and not let it rule my life and make me miserable, so that is how we do it.

When they are born we feed them maybe 4 times a day, but by a few days old that is down to 3 times a day and by 1.5 wks. or so that is down to 2x /day and stays that way until close to weaning and wean them to 1 x/day and then nothing.

From the get go we feed them all they will eat each feeding up to 24 oz. at a time. I have fed a couple of kids up to 30oz. at a time but mostly stick to the 24. They are still hungry for more after the bottle is up, but then they run to their feed and start nibbling at that time. they learn that real fast.

From a few days on we put out the fines from the alfalfa pellets and mix in a pinch of grain and a pinch of sunflower pellets. They are nibbling by the end of the first week and take to it very well. we very slowely increase this so they always have all they want.

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Old 02-05-2011, 05:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

Tim if Tamara (2sticks) doesn't chime in, ask her about how she does hers. She pulled lambars out of the fridge while I was there, already poured in from the pasteurizer, and fed the kids cold milk...the doeling I got from her was very well grown and hit 100 pounds here by 7 months even with the stress of the move, and moving in with does who were 3 months older than her.

Have you seen this? I know you aren't on facebook but a gal has this set up minus the big machine holding the milk, I will see if she also has a website. She keeps the milk in ice chests that are kept cold, and has these nipples and their holders attached through cattle panels. The kids eat as often as they want, she can reach through the cattle panel to clean the holder and nipples with wetones, and the milk never curdles or gets flies in it like lambars will. The nipples and holders are cheap, all you then need is an ice chest and tubes carrying the milk from the icechest to as many holders as you want to put up. By putting the icechest up on cinder blocks the tubes can be really short of easy cleaning...I am going to simply add more wire to my lambar tube brush to clean them.

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Old 02-05-2011, 05:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

I've done it with 2x a day feedings for years. We start them off with the 3-4x a day when they are first born, then that is quickly to 3x a day, and then by the time they are a week or two old, the midday feeding goes away. I've never limited milk though, they get as much as they will drink from the get go - I am lucky enough to have milkers that allow me to feed that way. I also feed warm milk, because it seems pointless to me to live in this arctic country and put cold milk into a cold baby and making them burn calories shivering that should be spent growing.

I do not grain kids, so they have access to the best alfalfa from a few days old. I generally don't put water out until they are a few weeks or so old, and then the bucket is on the outside of the fence so they can't get into it.

I've certainly had no growth problems in my herd





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Old 02-05-2011, 01:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

Kassi that sounds great and you mentioned sunflower pellets- you must be near where they grow them? I have never seen that product. Can you tell us more about it? The rundown on the label and the size of the pellet.

Tracy do you not run in to any problems getting a milker up to speed on milking ration if you never give them any grain as a kid? I have no experience with feeding great alfalfa so I am sure that is part of the difference but from all the studies I have read the rumen does not develop the same in those fed grain and not. I would think you would be more subject to acidity issues and founder if introducing grain to an adult for the first time. I guess your goats didn't read that study?

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Old 02-05-2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

I will have to find a label for the pellets.
They are produced by a local feed mill that markets them as calf feed. We first found them in 2002 when we had a horrible drought here and had to sell almost all of our cows. We weaned the calves at a couple of months old and fed them this pellet. Early calf weaning was a first for us. They did very well on the pellet. It is high protein and very high fat. It is 100% sunflower. We have since used it for feeding the ranch horses in the winter, for adding to bottle calf grain, for feeding goat kids and sprinkling on milker's grain. Everybody LOVES it. It smells so so good. There are few fines to it, but that is what I dig for to feed to the kids. We buy it by the ton in huge feed sacks and store in the shop. Unfortunately like everything, it is very expensive.

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Old 02-05-2011, 02:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

We feed ours 4 times a day for the first week or two, then down to 3 times and at about a month they go down to twice a day. Like Tracey we have plenty of milk so they get this until sold or as long as they take it til the does are dried off.

I do have plans (and the materials) for the free choice cooler (cold milk) feeder from UC Davis and may try that this year if I get around to making it up in the next couple of weeks before kidding. I do know of several successful breeders using this method.

I do think free choice is best, but having a full time job it is out of the question unless we go the cold milk route that I have not tried until now.

I also have some friends that feed in a trough - they teach them to slurp it up - and that is another labor saving option. It's a lot easier than cleaning bottles and tubes.

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Old 02-05-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

Thanks Kassi- I was guessing it would be expensive.

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Old 02-05-2011, 05:15 PM   #10
Tracy in Idaho
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Default Re: FEEDING KIDS TWICE A DAY

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckrun
Tracy do you not run in to any problems getting a milker up to speed on milking ration if you never give them any grain as a kid? I have no experience with feeding great alfalfa so I am sure that is part of the difference but from all the studies I have read the rumen does not develop the same in those fed grain and not. I would think you would be more subject to acidity issues and founder if introducing grain to an adult for the first time. I guess your goats didn't read that study?
Nope, they must have missed the reading ;-)

No, I don't have any issues with them at all coming onto grain. We start getting them onto the milkstand about 2 weeks before the kid, so that we can start them up. But FFs are on and off the stand so quickly as milkers anyhow, that they really only get a few pounds a day total at any rate as yearling milkers.

I have big barreled does as adults, and I contribute that to forage, not grain. If they have browse, that's even better. In show sheep, they limit long stemmed hay *because* it makes them barrel out -- and they want those long sleek bodies. That's just my personal experience, so YMMV In the kids we have butchered, their rumens looked excellent and well developed....
In the years I did feed grain, there was NO advantage growth wise, and a large number of them bowed their legs right before they freshened. No grain, no bowed legs -- much better ;-)



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