What to feed kids

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by missanna, May 26, 2008.

  1. missanna

    missanna Guest

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    Hello,
    I am both new to this forum and new to the dairy goat world. I am planning a commercial dairy right now in Virginia and have a question for anyone out there who has a large number of kids every year and also milks all the goats. I am not sure how to feed all the kids. As a commercial dairy, I am going to want all the milk from the mothers. Many people talk of bottle feeding the kids, but I want a large number of does, and so it will not be practical to go to the store and by gallons of milk and bottle feed all the kids. I have thought of getting some saanens with high production who could feed many kids, or maybe even a cow to feed them off. What do other people do for their kids?

    -Anna Bedell
     
  2. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    That will be one of the biggest problems with your dairy. The shear labor of raising out kids who are sold for meat at a loss. If you were part of the forum longer this thread would be moved to Off Topic, part of the forum you won't see until you have made 25 posts...so we can talk about this privately. It is a matter that can land you in jail and our ADGA president was ran through the mud when tails of this and other things that happen on dairies everyday during kidding and breeding season became public. You can only sell so many doelings and bucklings even in a breeding stock herd before you are wasting milk on kids who you will not make your labor and money back on. So you learn to kill them at birth, something that is done on cattle dairies also. In the beginning the idea was appauling to me, but when you sit down with paper and pen and really look at the costs of one kid after it has nursed mom (and if you have sales for colostrum also like I did/do) you really don't even want diary kids nursing mom for the 36 hours before she is on the milkstring...then what will you do with the kids? Even at give away prices it would have meant 60 to 70 people all coming to pick up one or two kids over 30 days..imagine that. Or starting them on milk replacer, mechanical warmer for milk and scours and illness and disease.

    The idea your first animals unless you are diligant won't have CL or CAE, mycoplsma, ecoli, abortive disease...it's the curse of the 'just a dairy goat' mentality that ends up in folks first dairies...you can imagine the problems that are then tracked into the kid pen. Having kids raised right is a whole nother wage to pay, it is a full time job during kidding season.

    There are buyers of milk fed fat kids for Easter which would mean only freshening does to kid for the meat buyer, but he only takes top notch kids...when asking dairies who do this they will not say what the bottom line of selling these kids are, if they are making money even....mostly because I think the reality of it all is that they will not put kids down at birth so this loss at the farm, which is really to the detriement of the quality of life for the does, not thier pocketbook, is just accepted.

    I did everything, selling cheap (you end up with 50 phone calls about kid health). Selling for meat, they really don't want them 3 days old. If they do they really want to only pick up every Saturday and for $10. Breed to boer, once again they really don't want them 3 days old. BARF, the bucthering of young kids at 3 days old and cut into small raw meaty bones for dog food. This is an avenue if you could hire someone to butcher for you for a good price, that is worth looking into. But the reality that there is someone on your farm who is not busy during this time who can butcher, wiegh out into bags and price, and then freeze all this meat, then deal with the folks coming and purchasing it usually in 30 pound boxes, it's alot of people once again, alot of time. Raising replacements, until you know what you are doing you wouldn't want the replacements you grow out, not until you learn about disease, prevention, vaccination, feeding management.

    Good luck with this, there are lots of us on this forum who have dairied...retail on the farm, selling to a cheesemaker, selling by the hundred wieght, and those who have worked for others.

    But you can see why you will get few answers to this question on forums.
     

  3. missanna

    missanna Guest

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    You gave me lots of food for thought. I had never considered that situation before, and it will be something I will need to research a lot about. What is it that can get you arrested?

    How did you feed the kids that you did keep?

    -Anna Bedell
     
  4. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    killing newborns

    you could let them nurse their moms and also milk the does but then your not doing CAE prevention for any you sell or keep for yourself.

    Now I bottle feed and use goats milk and if not enough buy Vit D from the store. Never use replacer as gives you nothing but trouble and the runs.
     
  5. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    My first experience with goats was working at a commercial dairy. The woman I worked for could not bring herself to put down newborn baby goats if they were not deformed. She left them on their moms for a few days and then hauled all the bucklings to auction or sold them off her farm. The doelings she either kept or sold cheaply or bartered for work on her farm. Barter was how I got my foundation stock. She had lambars and a robot feeder and fed the doelings milk replacer after they had a couple days of colostrum. Health problems forced her to sell out her business and she no longer feeds replacer. The man she sold many of her goats to also feeds replacer to the kids. I haven't spoken with him in a while, so I'm not sure how he currently disposes of the bucklings.
    I do not run a commercial dairy. I bottle feed most of my doelings, the remainder are dam raised. I also allow my dams to raise most of the bucklings so I don't get attached to them. I sell bucklings/wethers at 8-12 weeks old at our local auction. Kathie
     
  6. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    What is preceived by some as cruelty to animals.

    I raised replacements on goats milk. Back in the early 90's it cost about $75 in saleable milk to get a doeling to weaning...I can't even imagine what it is today with the amounts we get for our milk. Figure that I have 6 doelings I am raising and they are drinking $30 per day in purchased grocery store milk now so I can sell the milk they would have drank for $18 more. Sure you can raise them on alot less milk, find them milk that is cheaper, but they won't be 90 pounds at 8 months to breed and kid at 135 to 145 pounds at 1 year and be on the milkstring.

    Read Kathy's post, the labor, the mechanical feeder is hugely expensive, all the folks coming to the dairy to buy, bartering to get rid of kids...lets get real she was begging folks to come and help and take kids for pay. That is no way to run a business but it is how alot of dairies are ran. The cruelty to animals doesn't come into play killing kids at birth it comes into play when 1 or 2 people are working around the clock and still dont' have time to clean barns or trim feet and the belt is tightened around the does feed budget because of these excess kids eating profit. Vicki