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I have a produce farm. Spring and summer are very busy so I try to plan kidding in the fall and milk until I get too busy in the spring/summer. Next year I will have 8 does in milk and I feel like that’s too many freshening all at once. I’d also like to stagger them so that I get milk all year round. I’ve always bottle raised kids in the past but I’m thinking that if I have kids in the spring and dam raise them, that I could milk once a day(or maybe skip days?) and I could work it into my schedule. I’ve never done this before and I have a ton of questions before I decide.

1. What age do you start separating at night to milk in the AM?
2. When do I separate bucklings and how does that work?
3. I will most likely be selling kids, when and how would I wean them?
4. After they are weaned can I dry up the does at anytime?
5. The does I would be breeding would be FF. How likely would they be to reject kids? If they rejected the kids and I bottle fed and sold right away, how long would I need to milk momma before drying her up?
6. Would kids nursing the dams effect the size and shape of their udders if I ever wanted to show them?

I'm sure I’ll think of more questions but that’s good for now. Also, please let me know if you have anything else to add that I may not be considering.
 

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Hi there! Sounds like you will have your hands full next season!

1. I wait two weeks to start milking, but some people start milking once a day right away if the doe has less than two or three kids and enough milk to support all of you.

2. Most people separate whenever he starts extending fully. You can put bucklings in a separate pen and bring mom in for visits so he can get his meals.

3. Weaning at three months is preferable. It's best to just sell them to their new home without any weaning beforehand.

4. Yes.

5. Kid rejection of FFs is completely up in the air. There is no way to say if a mother will reject a kid, but it's not like you should bet on it. You can dry up a doe any time after the kids are gone.

6. Yes, I've heard that it can. Especially bucklings can be rough on udders. Get some second opinions on that, as I do not show.

Hope that helps!
 

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Breeding Quality Nigerian Dwarf Goats
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Okay, here's my take on all this.

1. What age do you start separating at night to milk in the AM?
It really depends on the number of kids and how they are thriving, but the general rule of thumb is two weeks of age. If you have a single that is doing very well, you could probably start a little earlier than that. I personally like to start earlier than two weeks if possible to help increase production - I put a link down below with more info about this.
2. When do I separate bucklings and how does that work?
You usually don't have to separate bucklings until they are 8-10 weeks of age which is about the time most of mine are headed to their new homes.
3. I will most likely be selling kids, when and how would I wean them?
I wean my kids at a minimum of 8 weeks, some will need a few extra weeks with mom. I personally just leave them with mom until the buyer comes and picks them up. It really does help when kids are sold in pairs/groups.
4. After they are weaned can I dry up the does at anytime?
It really depends on the doe, but usually, yes you can. Some does are hard to dry up and will stay in milk for a long time, while others don't. When drying up a doe, just make sure that her udder doesn't stay full and tight.
5. The does I would be breeding would be FF. How likely would they be to reject kids? If they rejected the kids and I bottle fed and sold right away, how long would I need to milk momma before drying her up?
I really don't think it's likely for goats reject their kids unless there is a problem or too many kids for her to care for. Again, it really just depends on how long it take and the method you use to dry her up.
6. Would kids nursing the dams effect the size and shape of their udders if I ever wanted to show them?
You are most likely to run into problems with singles than any other number of kids. With singles, most tend to favor a teat and if not caught soon enough, the udder could stay uneven. Keep in mind that kids favoring a teat can happen with any number of kids, but if you just keep a close eye on udders, everything should be just fine. I have heard of aggressive kids actually damaging the udder, but that is very rare.

Here's the link about what age to separate kids Glimmercroft - Udder Development and Dam-Raising Kids

Hope this helps!
 

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Haha! @Dandy Hill Farm that's the link I was going to post here! It's a good read!
Having done both dam raised and bottle kids now, I like the dam raised better! The kids are so fat and growthy, and they are just as friendly as my bottle kids, but not generally as demanding.
I usually start milking 12 - 24 hrs. after kidding, as my does' udders get so full that they are uncomfortable and, in some cases, I need to take some pressure off for the kids to be able to nurse properly.
Don't mess around with the kids too much right at first, unless you have to. Let the doe lick them and bond with them. If she doesn't want to nurse them, milk her a little to make sure her udder isn't uncomfortably tight, then let the kids try again. I will sometimes bottle feed a little colostrum if a kid is struggling, then get them latched and nursing once they're stronger.
Bottle kids are way more hungry and bouncy then dam raised, in my experience. The dam raised sleep A LOT, and just nurse a little at a time at first. I just keep watch that they're pooping and peeing, and that tummies aren't looking empty. You can weigh daily if you're concerned about the kids gaining weight. But I pretty much trust my girls to do their job, and don't mess with that unless it looks like there might be a problem.
Singles do sometimes tend to favor one side of the udder. Or sometimes a more aggressive nurser will pick a favorite side and nurse more than their sibling/s, resulting in an uneven udder. If I'm milking once a day, though , I feel like I can keep the udder pretty even. And you can also tape one teat to encourage kids to use the other side. :)
 

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Haha! @Dandy Hill Farm that's the link I was going to post here! It's a good read!
Having done both dam raised and bottle kids now, I like the dam raised better! The kids are so fat and growthy, and they are just as friendly as my bottle kids, but not generally as demanding.
I usually start milking 12 - 24 hrs. after kidding, as my does' udders get so full that they are uncomfortable and, in some cases, I need to take some pressure off for the kids to be able to nurse properly.
Don't mess around with the kids too much right at first, unless you have to. Let the doe lick them and bond with them. If she doesn't want to nurse them, milk her a little to make sure her udder isn't uncomfortably tight, then let the kids try again. I will sometimes bottle feed a little colostrum if a kid is struggling, then get them latched and nursing once they're stronger.
Bottle kids are way more hungry and bouncy then dam raised, in my experience. The dam raised sleep A LOT, and just nurse a little at a time at first. I just keep watch that they're pooping and peeing, and that tummies aren't looking empty. You can weigh daily if you're concerned about the kids gaining weight. But I pretty much trust my girls to do their job, and don't mess with that unless it looks like there might be a problem.
Singles do sometimes tend to favor one side of the udder. Or sometimes a more aggressive nurser will pick a favorite side and nurse more than their sibling/s, resulting in an uneven udder. If I'm milking once a day, though , I feel like I can keep the udder pretty even. And you can also tape one teat to encourage kids to use the other side. :)
Ha! It really does have great information! Love it.

I agree, most bottle babies get bratty personality and are overly friendly IMO. If you take the time to love on dam raised kids, they will still be very friendly, but not the pushy friendly most bottle babies turn out to be. I had a bottle fed wether that was a very in your face friendly and pushy. He also would also rear up and challenge any young children under the age of five. Nope, not going to deal with that. We ended up selling him, because we couldn't stand his personality.

Yes, some does that are very heavy producers will need milked shortly after kidding. Last fall, I had an FF Nigerian Dwarf/Pygmy doe freshen with twins. She was such a heavy producer that her udder stayed tight even after her twins nursing so we had no choice but to milk her shortly after kidding to keep her comfortable. I also started separating her kids (at night) at a few days of age because of how much milk she produced. So yes, make sure you keep an eye on your does' udders and that they don't stay too tight.
Thank you guys! Love that link. It was super helpful! One follow up question: when I separate the bucklings for supervised visits. How many visits would they get a day?
I agree with @Cedarwinds Farm. Unless you plan on keeping bucklings on their dams for a while, you shouldn't have to separate. If you do need to separate, I think it would depend on their age, but three times a day should be a good starting point.
 
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