I have no real opinion or knowledge one way or the other, but I just don't understand why so many folks are determined to make their kids grow so quicky. I can understand if they are raising for meat, but not for dairy. Unless people are really trying to make a profit and raise goats as a business, I think it is just fine to let the goats take their sweet time growing.
I wonder if, perhaps, the same people who are pushing for faster growth also push for top milk production and simply wear the poor girls out prematurely. Just like with chickens...if you keep lights on during the winter to try to make them rush through molt and continue laying instead of letting them take a break, they will wear out quicker (that's not based on anything I've read, it just seems like common sense).
I get a rate of gain of 15-20lbs a month for a while and then it slows, ending up around 95-100lbs by 7-9months. My goal is not to get fast growth but to maintain health during this critical age when they are naturally growing very quickly.
I think good questions would be: What does the author of the article consider fast growth? What diet would be used for "pushing" growth?
Giving a kid access to plenty of milk and unlimited high nutrient hay and some grain (and preventing parasites along the way) will produce a strong, well-grown kid. Nothing detrimental about that.
Many breeders push milk to get doelings to 80+ pounds by fall so they can be bred. There is one herd I know of that has huge does. They feed alot of milk. Their does look healthy at shows. They are bigger than mine. A couple breeders I know say they will not hold up as long. I do know they lost a couple does last year that were about 7 or 8 years old. I can't say for sure it was their size that played a part. A friend and I each bought a doeling from them over the years and our goats didn't grow as big as theirs though we both feed good alfalfa hay and the kids were weaned by the time we got them. I have no idea if they are doing something different with the management of the kids they plan to keep for themselves. As for my management, I feed bottle babies 2 liters of milk a day until they are 4-5 months old.
Michelle-- I'm with you! You bring up some good points. I always try and make sure my kids are healthy and growthy so when I read this article I was a little confused. I would love to know what they consider overly fast growth...
Kathie-- Interesting. I guess the trick with this question is that you'd have to own the goats in question for their whole lives to really know the answer. Thanks again
I'm with Michelle. The reason we want to see that fast growth is, it is normal. If you your kids aren't growthy, something is wrong. Extremes may be another story. Am I into feeding highly processed high grain pellet rations? Not really, but I can't say if it does any real harm or not, for sure. I have only been raising goats for 6 years and I started with young ones. I believe moderation is important with just about everything and fresh air, eating "real" food and plenty of exercise go a long way. I think exercise is underrated.
My Nubians do not grow as fast as some report. I have ended up waiting to breed everyone one I've bought, except my buck. He's a big boy. The girls though - I guess I could feed them calf manna or something and try to push them, but they are nice size given more time. Maybe if I dam raise one, I'll see a difference - with the bottle fed there is a limit to how long I will keep going with that and like Kathie I stick with two liters. If there is a correlation, I would think it due to the same people pushing for faster growth pushing for maximum production. But I think some bloodlines are just bigger than others. Some Nubians are giants, but they aren't all. Some look huge in photos and you go see them, and they aren't so big. I think I tend to like a very dairy type free from muscling.
I raise mostly FB Boers but I also have 3 FB N and 2 LM dairy doe's and to me it's genetics . If parent goats are good producers and large frame then chances are the kids will be also as that's the reason for buying the best stock to breed you can afford and find. I have never heard of anyone beefing up a meat or dairy goat using anything but a good nutrition diet but a good feed program will make a good healthy producer that produces good tasting milk and will eliminate lots of other health problems.
Thanks everyone I'm glad to hear your opinions. I've always thought that healthier, growthier kids make better adults, so I'm glad to hear that for the most part you haven't noticed any detrimental effects. That's raising goats for you--just when you start to think you've got the hang of things, you read something or hear something that totally throws you off! I appreciate your input.
Goats thrive on consistant care, diet and health management -- variety of ways to achieve this. Diet wise -- keep in mind some goats need a little more /less . Kids 10 lbs of gain each month is a rate for healthy growth. Some kids grow quicker. With doe longevity , diet and health management are items to consider as well as if hauling to events/shows(stress) and exposure to other things(bio-security protocal). Same with kids.
My doelings are usually ready (big and ghrowthy enough) to breed their first fall. I don't really push them, they just stay on milk for 6 months as well as concentrates and hay, but the cocci prevention seems to make them look like they were pushed. They grow fast and big.
My late herd consisted of teen age milkers who were still going strong, with strong legs and mammary systems. The only reason I don't still have them is they were all murdered by an arsonist.