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Author Topic: Managing goat kids  (Read 1869 times)

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Managing goat kids
« on: April 24, 2017, 10:00:14 am »
We have 3 kids just over a week old. We thought we had a plan to leave them with mums for 5 weeks then start bottle feeding and wean at 16 weeks. However re reading books and listening to afvice from other goat owners has left us totally confused. They are Golden Guernsey. Any sage advice please?

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2017, 12:29:20 pm »
You will struggle to get them onto a bottle if you leave them on their dams much longer. We took some off the dam on Saturday am at just over 1 week old (and we hadn't managed to give 1st colostrum feed by bottle due to a difficult birth and kids being a bit slow) and are still finding that they are not keen to suckle...

So if you want to milk the dams over the summer/winter then I would get the kids off them asap, and start milking the dams twice a day. As to when to wean - when you get fed up with bottle feeding and you need the milk for making cheese...

My kids are on 4x500ml until 3 months and then I drop a bottle each month, and usually keep the last bottle (at 10pm) until I get fed up or they are near 1 year old and new kids are imminent. But I have quite a few goats and some running through all the time, so excess milk always available.

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 06:18:42 pm »
That's very clear Anke, thankyou

fsmnutter

  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 08:49:28 pm »
Alternatively there are options for leaving the kids with their mothers. We usually start separating kids from their mothers overnight, milking in the morning before the kids get back in. Then we leave the kids to be weaned naturally about 5-6 months.
Depends how much milk you need versus how much effort you want in terms of bottle feeding.

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 09:53:03 pm »
I do the same. Except this time I have one kid who is still suckling. He is over ten months old and bigger than his mother and has a struggle to get under her. She had to lift her leg for him the other day. His sister gave up on milk ages ago.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2017, 10:36:43 am »
I like to leave mine on as well, saves stripping out ?. I start by leaving kids in while mums are grazing, milk mums a bit before i let kids out of tneir pen, then later separate overnight but out with mums out at grazing, gives babies chance to have some concentrates without mums pinching it.
Again, depends how much milk is needed.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2017, 11:15:56 am »
It does depend on the goat if they let you milk them while they still have their kids on them as well. Some will not let their milk down except for the kids. I have also found that goats that have their kids on one year can be difficult milkers for the rest of their lives...

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2017, 10:42:36 pm »
Mine is fine at being milked although she expects me to stop once her feed bucket is empty. Without food she won't stand still. The kids will both be going for slaughter very soon.

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 09:49:57 pm »
Alternatively there are options for leaving the kids with their mothers. We usually start separating kids from their mothers overnight, milking in the morning before the kids get back in. Then we leave the kids to be weaned naturally about 5-6 months.
Depends how much milk you need versus how much effort you want in terms of bottle feeding.


All being well, this is the system I'd like to adopt with my two girls - fsmnutter when would you start separating the kids overnight? What age would they be?
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 06:01:01 am »
I do the same, usually start separating overnight at about 4 weeks old, although haven't got organised yet due to other stuff happening.

Talana

  • Joined Mar 2014
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 08:03:41 am »
I separate them around 4 days- just in next pen and bottle feed the kids then get mother into milking routine and you know how much milk mums got and divide it out between the kids supplement more if needed (some first kidders especially smaller breeds like gg may struggle for enough milk for twins triplets ) or keep the spare for yourself.This is the easiest way for having a dairy goat and since some will run through milking for a second year it can be difficult to naturally wean. They go out grazing together still have a bond stress free weaning.Best to take out of sight by 2 weeks or mother will let them sook always I have found. I have found this way easiest you have friendy kids a milker who lets you milk her instead being difficult and saving milk for her kids and can be run through.
 I have found if you keep them in sight for the first 2 weeks they will do bottle and suckle mum so you have a flexible system. Kids need to learn the bottle young (under 2 weeks) as leaving til older they won't take. I have in the past seperated them in next pen or large dog crate through the night bottle fed kids then then put them out with their mums through the day. Can work well but then one year I had a kid who wouldn't wean finally got it sorted when she was 2 years. (despite being on different holding for 6months came back straight to mum to sook who happily obliged! You got to do what fits with your lifestyle but the goats don't always co operate so you need extra patience and perseverance. You can just leave them on mum but you will have a more difficult weaning and more difficult to milk her especially if you are keeping her kids, but it is possible, leaving kids on and stripping her out twice a day, but if she decides she prefers you to milk her when kids are a month old she won't let kids sook and you have 2 hungry kids who won't take the bottle.Had that aswell.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 08:21:35 am by Talana »

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 11:44:31 am »
Gawd! Sounds awful complicated - sometimes I wonder why I got the goaties, but it doesn't last  ;D
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

Isla

  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
    • Facebook
Re: Managing goat kids
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 10:06:34 am »
So many options!  Looks like there's no right answer!

I had to bottle feed right away because one of the triplets (the female) wouldn't get a chance to feed from her mum due to greedy brothers.  Plus, the goat, a first kidder, could not produce enough for all three and was getting irked by them pestering her.  Fortunately the kids were always hungry enough to feed from a bottle as well as directly from mum.

It seems common for people to separate at night then put kids with mum during the day.  I was worried about cold night temperatures so I put them with mum overnight then separated from about 7am to about 10pm.  This also meant I didn't have to milk in the morning before work.  When I milked in the evening I could really take my time (first time for her and me) and get her trained to let me milk.

We are now approaching three weeks old and the kids have been completely separated from mum since they reached two weeks old.  Their pens are made from some sort of hen run mesh (fox proof stuff, not chicken wire) so everyone can see each other.  Goat seems happy enough to sit next to the kids' pen or go out to pasture.  Now I milk in the morning and it doesn't take very long because Ruby the goat is all chilled out now she knows the routine.

Like most aspects of goat keeping (and I suppose all livestock) it seems to be down to research, listening to others' experiences and then finding what works for you through trial and error.


 

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