When to wean?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by hmcintosh, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. hmcintosh

    hmcintosh New Member

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    This is my first year to raising bottle babies and I am thinking of keeping my does. So I am wondering when do you wean, and how do you wean your babies. I am thinking if I am keeping them, the I should go longer than 12 weeks. That would be ok but the milk bill is killing me right now. I will do what it takes to raise healthy goats though, so I will keep right on buying 6 gallons of milk at time if I have to. Just wondering what everyone else does.

    Also what about bucks. I am sure everyone does different for their bucks than their does.
     
  2. dragonlair

    dragonlair New Member

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    I don't buy store milk, I use goat milk, pasteurized, or the CAE- ones are dam raised. They get milk until they are 4-6 months old because I have the extra milk. Probably would be a lot different if I sold it.

    My bucks are treated just like the does. The wethers for meat are kept on mom until they leave for freezer camp.
     

  3. doublebowgoats

    doublebowgoats New Member

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    I wean earlier than some people, definitely by twelve weeks but they are down to once a day milk by ten weeks. They do just as well as I hear others doing. My does are always plenty big enough to breed by their first fall and no metabolic/growth problems during pregnancy. Sometimes I have to buy milk but usually just use what is available from my does unless I buy a bottle baby.
     
  4. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    You can't wean until they are eating enough calories, fat, carbs, energy from the food you are providing. You also have to figure out where the protein and calcium in their diet is coming from as you start to limit milk, it isn't met with grass hay, browse or most grain rations. It's why kids stall and stop gaining their 10+ pounds a month at weaning. It is also why you see weaning stress from lack of nutrition which brings on worms and cocci. Vicki
     
  5. I don't wean the kids until they are 4-5 months old.
     
  6. SherrieC

    SherrieC New Member

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    Same here I never wean before 5 months, and some of them get much longer. I you have to buy your milk... get them on Full baby goat grower feed like purina grower for Boer goat kids as soon as possible. Then after 12 weeks keep them on at least ONE bottle a day for as long as you can. And good hay. Are there any Amish type, or dairy folks that would let you buy milk off their farm cheaper? It will be better when you have your own milkers :)
     
  7. swgoats

    swgoats New Member

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    I dam raise most babies. If I have a bottle baby, I wean it at 3 months and just give it more time to grow. That's the compromise. It's not so much the cost of milk for me as just the need to keep up with it. Now bucks are all weaned at 3 months so they don't breed their moms and sisters. They always keep on growing just fine. I guess that's why they are such pigs. I think my bottle girls would do better if they didn't have to eat in the herd and compete. A motherless doeling is always last on the totem pole. This year I'm going to build a creep feeder for the doelings.
     
  8. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    Holy Cow!
    I am pulling my whole kid crop at 8 weeks this year.
    They are 40 pounds and eating pounds and pounds of cocci pellets as well as whole grains.
    They graze all day long on winter grasses and have fertilized bermuda hay in their night pen.
    Milk till 6 months used to be the norm here too since we dam raise but no longer.
    They only gain another 40 pounds with or without that milk in that extra time frame so ....
    Without milk it is.
    Lee
    Don't you feel sorry for this poor starving little fat pig :)
     

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  9. Halo-M Nubians

    Halo-M Nubians New Member

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    Generally 12-16 weeks. Occasionally I will drop to one feeding at 10 weeks. I don't consider this to be a cut and dried decision, a lot depends on the kid(s). I have some bloodlines that are very slow maturing and they do benefit from that extra boost of staying on milk longer along with free choice grain. ON the other hand I've brought in some very growthy genes in the last couple of years and I'm learning that treating them the same could actually be somewhat detrimental. They grow TOO fast. I've got kids out of 3 different bucks on the lambar right now and the differences are really pretty fascinating. I'm not doing free choice grain right now. I also consider when shows are starting, when are appraisals. I want to have a good gap between weaning and those type of things so that if they do take a hit they are past it. Otherwise I will leave them on milk to maintain that bloom. That's probably just my pride...;)
     
  10. hmcintosh

    hmcintosh New Member

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    Lee wow 40 Pds. I'm stunned. Are they dam raised? Mine r 25 at 8 weeks and I was proud, it being my first and all.
     
  11. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    Yes they are dam raised and we put tiny pellets and a meal mix and yeast and minerals in with them right away and they are noodling around on it day 2 and 3 and cudding by 2 weeks. They still only get a half gallon max even when close to weaning (per day) so I believe the growth rate is the additional calories from getting that rumen going early. We put 'noodle' logs in with them first day and they do amazing things when we do like stop and sniff the air and then walk right over and start eating the decomposed logs. I wish I had taken my camera the last time we handed them out to the newest ones. They were sound asleep in their box and the smell of it woke them up and they went right to them and started taking big mouthfuls.

    It is seriously important to them. The fluff from rotting logs jumpstarts them by laying down a pad in the new rumen for the bacteria and fungi and protozoans and other micro-organisms to reproduce in. Without fiber- only on milk they cannot do this as quickly. So we fiber them up right away :) It works! They do drop off to slower gains after 10 to 12 weeks so the additional milk has not served us as well in building goats as it has in being sold to pay for feed :) I also used a trio of new bucklings this year and all the kids have great growth so it seems it is not the lines- but our rearing process. Kuntry style ;) Maybe some of that everything is bigger in Texas leaked up here lol.

    So many variables in kid weights! A lot has to do with potential mature weight in your genetics.
    Lee
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  12. Ziggy

    Ziggy Buck

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    I am going to have to weigh my Mountain top kids in a couple of weeks when they are 8 weeks. don't know if I can beat 40 pounds but I bet the biggest will be close - and they were quads. maybe it's the Baycox :)
     
  13. Ziggy

    Ziggy Buck

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    Mine are not dam raised but have free choice milk on a Lambar pretty much 24 x 7
     
  14. hmcintosh

    hmcintosh New Member

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    Ok I got to ask what is a "noodle" log?
     
  15. Qz Sioux

    Qz Sioux New Member

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    Yeah, I was wondering the same thing here...
     
  16. quiltstuff

    quiltstuff New Member

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    "We put 'noodle' logs in with them first day and they do amazing things when we do like stop and sniff the air and then walk right over and start eating the decomposed logs....The fluff from rotting logs jumpstarts them by laying down a pad in the new rumen for the bacteria and fungi and protozoans and other micro-organisms to reproduce in."

    I think decomposing logs is what Lee means, although I have no idea why they are "noodle" logs. My question/concern is how do you know what kind of log to use? Wouldn't some types be bad for them? And how far along should they be? Falling apart?
     
  17. fmg

    fmg New Member

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    No such thing as rotting logs here...they just dry out. Maybe I could check my springs and see if anything is rotten there. ;)
     
  18. MF-Alpines

    MF-Alpines New Member

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    I wean when the kids tell me to. ;) By that, I mean, I go from 3x/day down to 2x/day when they don't finish the lambar (I do not leave it out, but give them as much as they'll drink which is usually 20 - 24 oz per feeding), which is usually around 8 - 10 weeks old, then 1x/day when they are not finishing both lambars until they don't finish that one either or I am sick and tired of feeding them. For me, it's somewhere between 3 - 4 months, but as Vicki said, they are eating hay and grain, especially grain, really well by then.
     
  19. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    We have always called them noodle logs because they noodle around on them...colloquial usage for experimenting with their mouths...just our term. :) We mostly use pine but have used oak and elm and cherry and everything that grows here really.
    We had a huge old pine - 100 years old take a lightening strike and die standing and shed branches into a pile around itself and compost down to a huge pile of fluff. Even the older kids stop by there to suck some up.
     
  20. quiltstuff

    quiltstuff New Member

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    Thanks for the explanation of "noodle" :D I'll have to remember that!