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Hi all!

Okay, so I'm a bit shy about asking for advice on things, but I've been assured The Goat Spot has the bestest people to ask advice from :)

So... As much as I am an advocate for dam-raising, I am finding myself with less and less time to devote to being out to handle kids as often as I used to. I can see where bottle-feeding can benefit on taming kids, although I still prefer not to.

I am debating bottle-feeding the kids I intend to keep myself. Last season I had to pull some kids to the bottle and at the time, it was just easier to stick everyone on it instead of finagling my pens around. The kids were 4 weeks old and only 2 out of the 8 took to the bottle after letting them get hungry enough to want it. The 2 that did not were entirely convinced that they would rather starve than go on a bottle, and I got tired of waiting them out so I just stuck them on a doe on the milk stand. Not the best plan, but it worked.

If I do end up bottle-feeding some of the kids late, what's the 'ideal' age to switch them? I have heard that 2 weeks and no later to switch them to a bottle. I would like the does to at least keep their kids a week before I pull them, IF I pull them. It's just so much easier to let the dams do the work :p

Anyway, I'm just figuring out some options for the future if I ever decide to jump on the bottle-feeding boat. This semester isn't going to be quite as horrendousohmygod, so I'm fairly certain I'll have more time to dedicate to messing with the babies :)
 

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7 does - 2 bucks - 1 wether
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Two weeks is what I've heard as well. If you don't want to bottle raise another option is to have a lot of visitors come over and give the babies lovin'. =D
 

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I think Pan was about ten days old when I got him from Amanda and I think she'd been feeding him five days or so (Amanda, correct me if I'm wrong).
I just have to say that bottle feeding Pan was one of the most joyful experiences of my life :lovey: . He is the sweetest little goat imaginable and I wouldn't trade him, or the experiences I've had with him for the whole world!
 

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~Crazy Goat Lady~
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You could also dam raise and supplement with bottles to keep them friendly...
 

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J.O.Y. Farm said:
You could also dam raise and supplement with bottles to keep them friendly...
What a great idea! Give them a little extra on top of mommas milk so they take the bottle but still can be raised by momma.
 

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~Crazy Goat Lady~
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I found it was hard to get kids on a bottle when they were older.... we separate kids at 2 weeks overnight so we can milk moms... It was easier to get them to take the bottle then (after a few days of trying :roll:) then trying at any other point....
 

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owned by goats
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if i am bottle feeding i take at birth, before they bond otherwise i cant brong myself to fo it.

i have never had luck supplwmenting a bottle while on mum unless mums milk supply is not up to standard and the kid is hungry anyway.

i have found if changing to bottle before two weeks it is easiest, after three weeks ery difficult.

i too bottle feed because i work full time so cant spend lots of time with babies eery day.
 

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My doeling Suzie was dam raised, and she is SO friendly it can almost be a bit annoying (if I am trying to accomplish something without being lovemauled by a goatie). I don't think it makes them skittish if you spend sometime with them. I mean, the time it takes to measure, heat, and then feed the babies could have been spent loving on them whilst they were with their dam.
 

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Two weeks, for two reasons:
1. It's easier to pull the kid
2. The milk is safe to drink then. (It doesn't have any colostrum in it)

Hope this helps! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Haha! I love all the tips/advice gals! :D

@Stacykins - Yeah, my dam-raised babies are almost always ANNOYINGLY tame :p But when I get those seasons where I just can't put the time into them, I do get a few that are skittish. *le sigh*

I'm intrigued by doing both a bottle-feed/dam-raise combo... How does one go about getting them to take a bottle while they're on the doe as well?
 

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owned by goats
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Dreamchaser, why do you feel it is "easier" to pull at kid at 2 weeks? And what age are you comparing to?

I dont find bottle feeding time consuming at all. When I am feeding bottles, I milk straight into the bottle, pop the teat on and feed while still warm. This year I am putting all kids onto ad lib cold milk from a bulk feeder, so it will be a simple case of empty and rinse the bulk feeder, tip yesterday's cold milk in, switch ice bottles, and repeat at night.
 

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I have actually bottle fed at 2 months believe it or not LOL. The family took the baby early and I said he needed milk still so they took him home and he took a bottle right away.

Others, I have at a few days old(had NO choice) and they were SO hard to get to take the darn bottle. But I do think 2 weeks or even sooner would be best. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be.
 

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I personally would take them at birth rather than pull at two weeks. It's just less stressful on the dam as well as the kids...We used to do that and it was a living nightmare! The does were running around the pen screaming and the kids wouldn't take the bottle. Sometimes it took over 24 hours for them to take it. It's IMO way easier on mom/you/the babies to just removed them at birth...
 

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Lost Prairie said:
I personally would take them at birth rather than pull at two weeks. It's just less stressful on the dam as well as the kids...We used to do that and it was a living nightmare! The does were running around the pen screaming and the kids wouldn't take the bottle. Sometimes it took over 24 hours for them to take it. It's IMO way easier on mom/you/the babies to just removed them at birth...
I agree. I don't bottle feed but if I did, I wouldn't let the dam even lick the kids. I wouldn't want them to bond.
 

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I have been able to put kids up to 7 weeks old on the bottle.
I always leave them with the dam for at least 1 week but you can supliment from day one. Milk mom out and get kids used to bottle right off the bat.
If time is hard you may be best leaving kids with dams to raise but giving one bottle daily.
 

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I also think that simply supplementing with a bottle might work well for your situation - you get the benefits of dam-raising while also getting the kids a little more eager to see you if you don't have as much time to be out there handling them.

I had two kids that needed to be bottlefed this year. One of my little dam-raised bucklings would always watch me feed them and so one day, just to see what he would do, I offered him the nipple when the girls were done. He went right for it, and after that I always had to feed the girls separately because he would try to steal their bottles (even though he was getting the same thing, but fresher, from his mama)!

I think that if you start just offering the babies a bottle from early on, maybe with a little something sweet on the nipple, eventually they would mouth it out of curiosity and then get the hang of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So many different methods! @[email protected] Heehee!

Thank you everyone! :) I still don't think I'm going to pull right from birth. Usually only when I get weak kids at birth will I pull like that, so I'm really curious as to supplement with a bottle while dam-raising. I wonder if I should have them nurse from a bottle first thing? If not yeah, I think I'll play around a bit and see what works out -- offering them a bottle with something sweet on it might work. I guess I'll have to see what I end up with this kidding season first! Haha!

Another method I've heard about is pan-feeding? How does that even work? All I can think of is the flies/ants getting to the milk in a pan >_< Ick!
 

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I am also one to pull right at birth if I am going to. WAY easier on everyone. When I first got into goats I would let them stay on moms for a couple of weeks as that is what another breeder in the area recommended. But as others have stated, that is a lot of stress for moms and kids. Taking them as they are born they take the bottle pretty quickly, don't cry for mom and the mom barely misses them. She will also bond to you more if you have birthing "goo" on your hands and let her lick them. This definitely helps tame wild ones and helps milking go smoother as well. Of course they can still be switched to a bottle later but the longer you go the harder it is.
 

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Pan feeding is the same as bucket feeding, instead of sucking from a bottle they drink their milk from an open container (bucket, pan, trough etc).

Nursing from a teat is always preferable over bucket feeding as the suckling action opens the oesophogeal groove which directs the milk to the third stomach, whereas drinking milk from a bucket it will end up in the rumen. Many kids (and calves) are brought up on buckets and they do fine, it is not exactly detrimental to them, however the bottle is much much better. Oftentimes you will see faster growth in bottle vs bucket, and bucket kids/calves may get a pot bellied look for a while until they are weaned and catch up.
 

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And yes, bucket/pan/trough feeding whichever you use can get messy quickly - ants, flies etc. Plus they can tip it over, spill it and/or put their feet in it.
 
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