This season I am experimenting with management of the dairy goat kids.
In the dairy world (cow, sheep and goat) the herd keeper either bottle raises their dairy kids, or they allow the kids to be raised by their dams.
I normally bottle raise my dairy kids.
Bottle raising kids is a huge undertaking, especially in cold weather. One year, during a blizzard, we had 19 kid goats in the house at once. We had dog crates everywhere. Sleeping, eating, bathing, all of the normal human functions in the house were difficult. The washer and dryer ran constantly.
Why did I do it? I wanted to protect the dam’s udders. I wanted the udders symmetrical (goat udders have 2 compartments), and I did not want their udders to suffer any injury from the kids. Goat kids really “knock” hard on their dam’s udder when they are nursing. Knocking on the udder helps to release more milk. The releasing, or dropping, of milk is entirely hormone/mental/physical.
This year I decided to allow the first dairy doe that freshened (to give birth) to raise her kids. So far it is working well.
Chameaqua (a snubian doe, one of my own past kids) gave birth to two doelings. She took to motherhood like a champ. She came back to the milk-stand like a champ as well. I do not excessively milk her out. I basically even up her udder, releasing any pressure. Like a God-send, her twins are pretty much nursing from one side of her udder.
I have been able to put precious colostrum back in the freezer, which is always a necessity for a goat person to have on hand.
Note: I ensure a kid has colostrum in their belly within the first 4 hours of birth. A kid’s first drink of colostrum affects their health for the rest of their lives. And, a goat kid cannot maintain their own body heat without fuel in their belly.
With Chameaqua passing the dam-raised test, I will be allowing all of the dairy girls to raise their kids.
No more heartache for me. It was not easy to remove their kids. Plus, I will still put milk in the freezer (for soap or kids) and/or have fresh milk on hand for lotion.
Everything will work out perfectly!