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Hi folks,
I am a new goat owner. I only have one kid that I am bottle feeding right now. I am looking for another wether with horns. A pack goat breeder contacted me yesterday about one she has. Heres the confusing part. She sells them at 3 months and does not bottle feed. Her explanation is that bottle fed kids are to klingy and not as independent. I have been reading a 'lot' about goats lately. Everything ive read says to bottle feed for the bonding. All 3 of my books say this. Most things i read on the net say this. Does this person know something most others dont? They have been in business a long time. What about me getting the kid at 3 months? Any thoughts? Thanks
 

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Re: Need help Confused!

Bottle raising is a lot of work. Some breeders don't want to go to the extra effort. I won't buy kids that are not super friendly and that means they are either bottle fed or the breeder has spent a lot of time bonding with them in the pen. I'd be very wary.
 

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Re: Need help Confused!

I have four pack goats none of whom are bottle fed. Three of the four are extremely bonded and friendly even though they were dam raised, you could even say clingy if that means they would love to sit in my lap and sleep in the tent if I let them. I got one of the four from butthead packgoats in Grass Valley and they don't bottle feed unless there's a problem with a mom not being able to supply the milk to a kid. They do a super job though of handling them and making them very friendly. He is totally great. I would highly recommend them if that is who you are dealing with.

I noticed you are from Sonoma, I live in Sebastopol. Around here there are some goat dairies that will sell you wethers for pretty cheap, and leave the horns on if you want. They usually want to castrate them earlier that a pack goat breeder should though. Or you have to take them home before they get too mature. There's Redwood Hills dairy, Salmon Creek dairy, and one in Bodega. Their goats will not be as big and likely to pack as well as a reputable packgoat breeder's goat would though, in my experience.

You could ask your breeder when they castrate, are they CL and CAE free, are they primarily a dairy, can they give you the name of someone as a reference you can call who has packed with one of their babies. If they really are good packgoat breeders they should be able to give you answers to those questions and you can decide then if they know what they are doing or are just trying to get rid of male babies. I wouldn't judge them just on whether they bottle feed.
 

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Re: Need help Confused!

I only have two goats four years old now. One is "clingy" and the other slightly independent. Looking back at being new to goats four years ago, I would prefer the "clingy" type of goat any day. Love the independent guy but he is just more of a challenge especially when you are new to goats. Not sure how close you are to the Oregon border but you might want to check out Willow Witt Ranch on their web site. They don't breed solely for pack stock but looks like the Alpine buck they used this year was huge. I think they bottle raise their kids they sell for packing.
Good luck on finding another kid.
Denise
 

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Re: Need help Confused!

A well bonded kid is a joy. The other type not so. Bottle feeding is the surest way to get that. You do have to spend a lot of time with them if you don't bottle feed and the result is often not as good. I'd pass.

I like my goat kids clingy. Later on that translates into attached to you.
 

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This topic always makes me nervous. We're currently letting Penny raise her kids and try to make up for not bottle feeding by spending lots of time with them; but I may panic tomorrow and try to get them on the bottle! Up until last summer all our goats were bottle raised and I thought it was totally essential. Last summer we bought our first doe and she not only wasn't bottle raised, she was borderline wild. The breeder (a good friend right up the road) told us we could just keep her for a while before deciding if we wanted to buy her so we decided we would give 'aggressive socialization' a try. It didn't take long before Penny would let us just come up and pet her, and not long after that, she seemed perfectly comfortable with us. She follows and crosses water as well or better than any goats we've had, and I like the fact that she isn't constantly bugging me when I'm in the goat pen.

Our bottle-raised kids have been a mixed bag. While Penny keeps a respectful distance from our small children, our bottle-raised kids love to play with them--sometimes too rough, and sometimes requiring goat discipline. Two of our bottle raised kids exhibited a strong sense of entitlement (no goat/human boundaries) that made them unpleasant to be around while camping (probably our fault), and one was strongly attached to me but stand-offish around the rest of the family.

In the past we've had a couple Saanens and Toggs at different times, now we just keep the Oberhaslis. I think Oberhaslis are such a friendly breed careful socialization of Dam-raised kids should produce good results. But, then again, I may change my mind tomorrow! I don't have much time left to change my mind as they're 10 days old now. JD
 

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I, personally, like to have bottle-fed goats. Three of my four goats were bottle-fed and they are loyal and loving but still have independence. Honestly I don't think there is anything more pleasing to hear my goats start "baa-ing" as soon as they see or hear me. I would look for bottle-fed goats instead.
 

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i am no expert but from my experience and what i've read bottle fed kids are the best way to go. but any goat that is friendly could possibly be a packer. i am going to be keeping one (maybe two ;) )wether(s) to train to pack and harness.
i am going to keep the babies with mom for the first 5 days. day 6 mom goes out to the "big girl" barn with my other does to be milked. and i bottle feed until weaning time. this way kids get all the colostrum but i get milk and to bond with the kids.
good luck! :D
 

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Oreopacker1 said:
I, personally, like to have bottle-fed goats. Three of my four goats were bottle-fed and they are loyal and loving but still have independence. Honestly I don't think there is anything more pleasing to hear my goats start "baa-ing" as soon as they see or hear me. I would look for bottle-fed goats instead.
Since you have both, I'm curious about how does the dam-raised goat compares to the other three?

JD
 

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I normally talk all about how I have no experience before I post responses, but I was in the same boat two years ago with my kids. Everything I found, including on this site, was insistent that you had to bottle feed kids. I can't say I remember much of anything that said otherwise. I understand that getting a random leftover dairy goat that hasn't bonded to humans can be bad and should be passed up to avoid wasting time and energy. However, that absolutely does not translate to bottle fed only. I will share a few stories to address the original post and the duffontop post.

First, my breeder also does not bottle feed for the same reason stated by yours. The story that applies was our first visit to their adult herd. All goats came when called (30-40) even the ones eating leftover Christmas trees. Two goats would not leave us alone... at all. We went there to learn about goats and decide if they were right for us and I learned very quickly that a clingy goat was not for me. I love getting in a goat pile with my guys and napping while they chew cud, so understand how much I enjoy the companion aspect of my goats. It was obvious those two goats were not from the breeder or their herd, and even though all of them were friendly and interested in us and wanted to walk with us, those two were a serious pain.

Duffontop, don't think for one minute you are doing wrong. My breeder tries to get to all of the kids as soon as they are born. When you walked in that pen, you couldn't get them off of you. They weren't after a bottle or a treat, they just wanted attention and play. The year we got ours, she pointed out 2 or 3 kids where the mother sneaked off and had them without getting caught in time for bonding, and there was no doubt they were destined for dinner. The difference was night and day. My partner, Amy, spent one afternoon holding a kid under the heat lamp during our visit. A week later, on our second visit, that little pain in the butt came running right to her as soon as she walked through the gate. Needless to say, he is now the spoiled one. My kids were not bottle fed and they will follow me into hell and back... ok, they are smart enough to wait at the edge of hell for me to come back, but they will be very agitated until I return.

The point is that it isn't any different than buying a puppy, and they don't get bottle fed. You can tell right away which ones are curious and playful and want to be friends. If you visit your breeder and meet a fun and playful goat that you like, than there is no reason to pass. If it hides in a corner behind it's mother, then it isn't the best choice for a packer. There is no switch on them. They aren't going to be a fun playful kid and then one day switch off and be a bad packer because they weren't bottle fed.

I hear plenty of people talk about goats that aren't bonded to them following someone else they meet on the trail. Most of those stories are related to goats that originally belonged to someone else and were acquired at an older age and added to a larger herd. So I will, as always, throw in the caveat that I am no expert, but in this case, I have 3 amazing and wonderful goats that were not bottle fed, and I wouldn't trade them for a million bucks. (but if you want to test that theory, feel free to make me an offer).

I also went back and read rather quickly to make sure I wasn't being too nasty, and I don't think I am, since I am seeing that same definitive stuff about bottle fed and bottle fed only and advising you not to get it, when the only thing we know about the goat in question is that it comes from a long time pack goat breeder and that it isn't bottle fed. I had three awesome brand new baby goats that I loved and loved me and were so much fun I couldn't describe it... and I was still worried I had made a mistake because of what I read about them not being bottle fed. You have one goat already and are getting one more. I am fairly sure they will get plenty of love and attention at a young enough age to bond with you.

Go meet the breeder and you can decide very quickly, just like with buying any animal from a breeder or pet store, if they are a good trustworthy person by how they act around their animals. Go meet the goat and you can decide very quickly if it is a companion for life or if it is an animal to pass on by how it behaves when introduced to you. Rex is right, they need attention if they aren't being bottle fed, but that should also be apparent in the animals behavior, and how the breeder answers that question when asked

....And the main reason I went back and read and ended up with another 2 paragraphs here was the 3 month old question. My guys were three months, a little over, I think, when they came home. We tried a bottle because we thought from our reading that they should still be getting milk and that was the only way to bond, but they would have none of it. They ate hay and grew like weeds... and still became bonded companions.

I really hope this detailed account of my experience helps you make a more informed decision about your situation.

Good luck whatever you decide,

Gregg

Picture evidence follows:
 

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And since 5 attachments are the limit, and I have 3 goats, and you got 3 adult (well 1.5-2 years old) images and I know you also want 3 adorable baby goat images.... Here is Teddy Goat. Look at the smile on that kids face. I was not smiling since my whole excuse for getting goats is my bad back, and Teddy refused to let me put him on the ground.
 

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Hello,

I have dam raised goats that will follow me everywhere and love to stand beside me and I have bottle raised that couldn't care less about me.
 

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We are talking Apples and Oranges here.

The Apple:
As a buyer, I wouldn't care which method the breeder used because I could look them all over and pick out the friendly ones to take home with me. What Greg said is totally true, a dam raised goat can be nearly as friendly as a bottle raised goat "when done properly". If you go to a breeder and pick them out, you have the ability to pick and choose. The ones which didn't bond well with this method are quickly out of sight out of mind. If your goats are well bonded then great. If they are kinda bonded... well lets just say I'm sure I'm not the only person to watch a fellow goat packer chase their dam raised goats through camp areas and parking lots trying to bribe them to come to them when they got loose from their tie out.

The Orange:
As a breeder, what do you do with the ones who did not bond properly? Most likely they will be meat or weed eaters. As a breeder the success rate with bonding is near 100% when bottle fed so why would I chance it? I needed every whether kid that hit the ground to make it as a pack goat. Hence, my preference to bottle feed. If you are a breeder and have dam raising down to a science and are willing to accept that a few kids may refuse to bond properly then that may be the best option for you. Where my whole problem comes in is when a goat breeder sells their dam raised kids to some family just getting into packgoats. Not everyone researches things as thoroughly as Gregg. Most first time buyers tend to trust the breeder. Unfortunately I have seen way too many cases of people buying skittish goats from a breeder who told them "don't worry they will be fine when they get used to you." This nearly always makes the whole packgoat thing a very frustrating experience for a new person.

So now factor in that I get dozens of calls from people wanting to get started with pack goats. I don't know the buyers level of experience or the breeder they are buying from. The safest advice is to suggest that they buy bottle raised goats. At least that way I know they will be starting with a well bonded kid. That is the best track for a successful introduction into the wonderful world of goat packing. The rest they can figure out as they go.

As for the clingy thing. It only lasts while they are little. Maturity on the goats part and a little training makes this a non-issue later.
 
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