Should I bottle raise or Dam raise?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by backyard_farm, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. backyard_farm

    backyard_farm New Member

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    I am very new to goats, I only got mine last October. I bought goats only for having milk for my family, not for any type of profit. I would like to milk as long as possible and not breed every year as I have no interest in selling kids and do not want lots of goats either. Right now I have only two and they will kid soon. I was planning to let the does nurse the kids, but have been doing lots of reading and am wondering if the does will dry up milk after the kids wean. If I bottle feed the kids, will the does give milk a lot longer? Is it possible for them to give milk for two-three years or more before I need to breed again if I bottle raise the kids? Also, if I bottle raise, do the kids need to be separated from the does all of the time or just for a few days?
    Forgive me if my questions sound stupid, I have read conflicting views on everything to do with goats and have no idea what is right.
    Thanks for any advice,
    Belinda
     
  2. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    If you bottle raise, depending on your goat you may be able to milk thru at least one year. but you separtate babies for at least 1 yr in my opinion.
     

  3. Ravens Haven

    Ravens Haven New Member

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    I have heard of does that have milked several years without being bred again but I don't think it is something that happens often and definately something I haven't witnessed first hand. I would think bottle raising would probably be best for you in this case or if you don't want the kids have someone ready to take them as soon as they are born and then all you have to do is milk the mom.

    Autumn
     
  4. Doc

    Doc New Member

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    If I were you, in your situation, I'd pull the kids immediately, before they ever nurse, and put them on a bottle - then immediately sell them as bottle kids. Be looking for buyers now, before they're born. Most well bred goats can easily milk through for a year. Or longer, depending on the breed. I've personally seen nubian crosses that have milked daily for 2 years.
     
  5. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    Another thought here is as a friend of mine she used my buck I get her kids whe gets a doe than she can have the milk from. But she breeds them every year.
     
  6. Karen Bailey

    Karen Bailey New Member

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    Ah-Ha, A question I can answer with a little experience! I've been milking my Nubians on extended lactations for years, one of them for 945 days (a little over 2 1/2 years). I have always bottle raised the kids, not only for CAE prevention, but also because when you don't let the doe bond to the kids, she will bond to you and let her milk down to you as her baby which gets you off to a good start on the lactation. I raise the babies in kid pens separate from the milking herd until the kids are ready for breeding, then they join the doe herd after freshening the first time.

    I think a more important aspect to a successful extended lactation beyond starting off bottle feeding or dam raising, is on the doe's genetics for milk production and her will to milk. If you have good milk production, then the next most important key to keeping her in milk is your commitment to milking 2 times a day, every day, all year round, even when milk production is low during the hottest part of the summer and the coldest part of the winter. Your persistence in continuing to milk her will bring the production back up eventually. Then there is the matter of feeding her to support the lactation. I think you will find the best information on how and what to feed here on this forum. Come to think of it, this is the best place to get any advice or help you might need as you get into goat raising. ;)
     
  7. backyard_farm

    backyard_farm New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I also should have stated that we will be keeping the kids this time as my 12yo daughter has been waiting for baby goats for quite a while. I do not to breed again until I have to after this because we don't want more goats, we don't have room for more, I think we would have a hard time selling does as milking goats and wethers as pets also since these are not common in my area , and I haven't toughened up enough to sell for meat.
    Karen, I have one small barn for the goats with no separate pens. Do you think it would work to take the kids away at birth and keep them in the house for a few days then put them back in with the does? Or would they try to nurse, or would the does attack the kids not knowing that the kids were theirs?
    Thanks again,
    Belinda
     
  8. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    I let my nubian doe raise her kids and she didn't slow her production with weaning, and always lets down fine for me. Now if somebody else milks she will hold back.
     
  9. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    I would let them nurse their babies...and although I don't normally give out fiascofarm.com for much, how she raises her kids in a family unit with their dams...milking in the morning and letting the kids with their dam all day, is how I would do it. That information is top notch on her site. Do not be too quick in letting the kids spend the night alone if they are small or it is really cold. And do milk her out twice a day from the first day she kids. Wait for the kids to nurse and then milk her out. This keeps her milking, gives you more milk, and keeps a healthy udder because the kids will help keep it empty. Vicki
     
  10. Karen Bailey

    Karen Bailey New Member

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    With your set up I think I'd do it Vicki's way, and maybe change things later on or not depending on how it was working for you. My does are mean to any other goat smaller than they are. I have to watch carefully and provide a safe place within the main barn for small first fresheners when they are being integrated into the herd. A kid put in with adults needs a momma to protect them.
     
  11. Kalne

    Kalne New Member

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    Our first year we did it the fiasco farm way and it worked fine for us.
     
  12. CarlinsDarlin

    CarlinsDarlin New Member

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    Hi,
    I'm also new here, and relatively new to goats myself. I've bought, in the past, already freshened does but this is our first year with breeding. We mainly have goats as family milkers. We had our first kids (two adorable little bucks) January 19. I'm raising them the fiascofarm way. The first two weeks, they were with their dam round the clock. Since then, they've been sleeping separate at night, and I milk once a day. I basically have closed off one stall area of the barn for the kids at night. Their mama can still see them but they can't reach each other. They're doing fine with the arrangement.

    The doe is a second freshener. Milking once in the morning and leaving the kids on her all day, I'm getting close to a half gallon of milk every morning from her. She'll be a really good milker, I think, once the babies are weaned and sold. The milking once a day arrangement is working well for us, and I'll probably continue to do it - letting the dams raise their own - when my other two girls freshen the first week of May. They'll provide us with more than enough milk even milking once a day.

    Now, after the kids are sold and/or weaned, I may milk twice a day. I haven't thought that far out yet :). BTW, I've learned a lot reading through all of your posts. Thanks for letting me be part of the group. There are a few names here that I recognize - I look forward to learning much more from all of you.
    Kathy
     
  13. backyard_farm

    backyard_farm New Member

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    Thank you all for the advice. I had already read the information on the fiasco farm site and had planned to let the does raise the kids until I came across some information stating that when the does weaned their kids, they might just decide to dry up and no longer give us milk. Is it true that a doe can choose to dry up her milk? I thought that as long as the doe was being milked twice a day every day she would continue to produce milk.
    I also have another question. If either of the does has a buckling we plan to keep one and turn it into a wether. Is it ok to put a wether in with the does? If so, will the wether being with the does cause the does to come in heat?(I hope come in heat is the correct term for goats) I had read that some goat breeders will use a wether as a "teaser" for a week or two before taking the doe to a buck to be bred. And if a doe comes in heat, will she stop or slow down on milk production? Will a doe come in heat even if there is no male goat around?
    Thanks again for all of the great advice. I am also not very literate in goat language/terms yet so I hope my questions are sounding the way I planned and not completely off the wall :D
    Belinda
     
  14. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    Goats come into heat whether or not you have a buck or wether nearby. Putting a buck in a pen next to your does or putting them together will trigger does to their first heat in fall. Hormones can cause temporary peaks and valleys in production, but so can weather changes. When you have a teaser buck, it just makes it easier to see who is in heat.
    As for the issue of does with kids on them drying up, that probably depends on how you manage the milking. I freshen 15-20 does each year. We do not need all that milk for ourselves and as I work outside the home, I don't have the time to bring that many of them in to milk twice a day. I leave kids on some of them, but check at milking time to be sure the kids are nursing evenly. If I have a request for more milk than usual, I will milk some of my does with kids on them. What I usually wind up doing is milking the older does once or twice a day whether or not they have kids on them and let the FF's raise their kids, rarely milking them the first couple of months, except the first week they freshen, to train them to being milked. What I have had happen, is that occasionally, a doe will start to wean her kids at a younger age than one would expect and her lactation drops. With my goats, I've found that if I pull the babies at birth or pull them and sell tham at a young age, the does have a more level and lenghthy lactation. I breed mostly Nubians. I would imagine with the Swiss breeds, who have a reputation as heavy milkers, that they will likely keep producing longer, even with kids on them.
     
  15. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Is it true that a doe can choose to dry up her milk?
    ..................

    If you milk the does and let the kids nurse than since milking is supply and demand, she can't dry up. If you just let the kids nurse and she starts pushing them away from the teat to wean them herself, than yes you can go out one day and have a dried up doe ;) vicki
     
  16. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    I did the fiasco way for a number of years and never ever took any of the doe kids away except at night tho I sold or butcherd the bucks and milked the does still twice a day. I really like this way of doing it because of convience for me if I had to miss a milking. But changed because of CAE prevention.
     
  17. backyard_farm

    backyard_farm New Member

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    Thanks again to all who replied with advice. I will plan to let the does raise their kids.
    I think my does will kid today; do I need to start milking twice a day as soon as they kid or should I wait a week or two?
    Thanks again,
    Belinda
     
  18. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    The day she kids. Once she has had the kids milk out some colostrum from both sides and save it. Then let the kids nurse, when they have good round filled tummies milk some more colostrum out and save it. Then the next morning let the kids nurse and milk her all the way out...twice a day. She will milk more, keep and even udder, and produce even after you wean the kids. Vicki