A old friend who was a cow dairy man for 65 years that had sold out in the gov't buy out.He was at the local sale barnand had just unloaded his last load of steer he had raised from his dairy herd.He was walking around outside the barn and saw them unloading a beautiful herd of Nubian's.They were Pure Bred Nubian's and were brought in by the sister to the Lady who owned them. The sister was in an bad car accident and had to sale the whole herd.Because she had no one to help her with the animals. He decided to buy them all and brought home 10 mature does in milk and 9 yearlings due to kid with in the next 30 days and 2 mature bucks.He paid all the fees and was able to get ADGA paperwork on them also-thinking what do I need this for. When he returned home the first thing he did was milk the pour does who needed milking yesterday.He looked at paper work and put collars on the does so he would know who was who and the bucks were put up in a barn. He started adapting part of his cattle operation now to dairy goats not knowing what he was going to do with the milk!!!. He had kept a few heifers to freshen that he had sold to a neighboring dairy once fresh and thought he would raise them on goats milk when the heifers calved. Well the 10 heifers calved and he ended up with 8 jersey/brangus mix heifers and 1 bull calf. He started the calves out on a bucket system and had small pens for each calf to go into to receive their milk from the bucket then they were turned out into a large area for exercise. He had plenty of milk for the calves and was able to add a 3rd feeding at noon to the calves . Well with in the next few wks the other does kidded and the kids got collars also to mark their identity.The kids(25 kids were born 20 does 5 bucks) and they were put into pens with a lambar system, taught them to drink and started treating then exactly like he had always raised his dairy calves for 65 years. Here we go take note!!! 1.The first week he offered milk 3 to 4 times a day as needed (depending on how much they were consuming). 2.Then the second he started offering Calf Manna 1/4 lb per head or what was being cleaned up from AM to PM and PM to AM. 3 Then start of the 3rd week he still offered calf manna and added his high quality grass hay for them to start nibling on and by day 5 of that week they were eating a good amount of hay so he increased the Calf Manna to 1/3 of a pound per head.(again still only what they will clean up) 4.The 4th week he offered still the milk 3 times a day increasing the amount slowly over the week. also increased the calf manna to 1/2 lb with the high quality hay and they were looking just as well as his calves were looking and thought I guess I am doing ok. 5. The 5 week he added 1/2 lb of a 16 percent creep pellet with a decoxx med in it and still continued the calf manna at 1/2 lb and still free choice high quality hay. 6 The sixth week he keep all of his feed and milk at the same levels but added alfalfa hay in a different hay rack. The kids took to it like candy. Still consuming the calf manna and the 1/2 lb of the 16 percent medicated creep feed. 7. By week 7 they were well on there way to forming their rumen and growing by leaps and bounds. He increased the milk as it became available.He also increased the 16 percent pellet to 2/3 of a lb per kid leaving the calf manna at 1/2 lbs per day.The alfalfa was gradually increased to free choice as well as the high quality grass hay was free choice. Other feeds were adjusted and increased as the kids grew with time and age. I have heard this story many times from the older gentlemen about slowly developing a rumen and how important it was.The old tail that a hand fed calf or goat does not developer the rumen as fast as dam raised because of the lack of the parent interaction and them eating with the parent is not completely false but there are ways to help speed up the rumen development safely. He was my mentor and I learned to raise my first orphan calves using nurse cows from this man 25 years ago. The calf manna contributes to the rumen development and the kids health in more ways than we will ever really know. One year I raised 125 orphan calves and they never were allowed to eat the first pelleted feed until they could consume 1 lbs of calf manna a day per calf. It is ea little expensive but worth every penny,the vitamins,mineral,probiotics and feed value you get out of it is a necessity to naturally developing a rumen.I personally use Milk Plus pellets they are a little smaller and the kids can eat them easier. The lady who had the wreck eventually was able to return to the sale barn to find out who bought her goats!! In hopes of being able to find one or 2 that she could recover. When she called and arrived to see the animals she was amazed to see them more beautiful than ever and said in her 10 years of milking goats and raising kids she had never seen her kids that beautiful. She was still in therapy but was given the option to buy any and all of the does and or bucks that she wanted back. She spent allot of time learning from this now 86 year old man whom I have know 25 years and never knew he had milked goats until he told me of this story and how he raised the kids the same way he had raised his orphan calves(of course in smaller feed quantities). He is still raising only st ocker cows with calves at age 94 but still ruining the 300 acre ranch where the old dairy barn still sits, The main thing we always do is never give the kids any type of feed until they are able to consume 1/2 to 2/3 of a lb of Milk Plus pellets for 7 to 10 days and hay.Then we introduce a 16 percent medicated decox pellet to them still adding the decox to the milk. Our kids are not forced on feed but gradually do it on there own, Some actually wean themselves from milk before 3 mths of age.But we still offer it until 4 mths of age. We have no problem with kids at 6 mths weighing 80 to 90 lbs and being of breeding age for the following year. Just thought I would share about the Milk Plus/Calf Manna rumen starter. I am sure everyone is all ready for kidding season to kick off.. Now something else to think about.