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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have some questions about feeding young kids. Im getting a couple of bucks that will be about 3 to 4 weeks old. I would have liked to get them sooner but because of the distance I wont be able to. This will be my first experience raising and training packers so Im very excited! Anyway, I have searched and read all I can find on the subject, here on the forum, and have learned a lot. I do have some questions though. I know I should be giving them grain and minerals, but what kind? Do you blend grains or is there something I can just get at the feed store and give them? What kind of minerals should I look for? Another Question I have is about milk replacer. My concern is with price. I have ran the numbers on 2 different goat replacers and One calf replacer. I am no math wiz, but this is what I came up with. The first brand is $5.50 a gallon (mixed ready to feed) 2nd is $6.00 and the calf replacer is $2.19. Carolyn's mix(whole,butter,evaporated) will be about $3.10 a gallon. Carolyn's mix is definantly cheaper then goat replacer but still more then calf. As i see it they will be eating about a gallon a day very soon, so it's going to add up very fast. I don't want to sound cheap,but every penny counts around our house, so I am just looking at how to get the most bang for my buck. Are my numbers close to what all of you figure its costing? Sorry this is so long. Thanks for all the help yall have already given me and I hope some of you can give me more!
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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I get asked by alot of buyers if they can pick up their kids early because they want to "bond" with them and feed them. I try my best to talk most of them outta it. Replacer of any kind is no were near as good as goats milk. Even pasteurized goats milk far exceeds replacers. Now if you do the math, you will be paying more for the kid in the end if you pick them up early for cheap rather then picking them up at the 3 month weening mark. Calf replacer should never be considered. It doesnt have enough of what the kid needs and will most likely stunt its growth. Poor quality feed equals a poor quality kid. There is more to growing a quality kid then just size.

So ill tell you like I tell other buyers. Although its a great experience to raise and feed your own babies, its better for the kids to stay on goats milk. Its not only cheaper for you to let me raise them, but the kids get exactly what they need. And as for the bonding thing, sure they will bond more with the person that feeds them milk, but as they are weaned, they will bond just about the same with the person giving them treats or feeding them hay. The only notable difference I have ever noticed is they respond better to the sound of my voice over that of my other half who doesnt do any of the milk feeding. But after they are weaned, they will bond with whom ever plays, pets, scratches and gives them treats.

The yearlings from last year, which I bottle feed, now consider my other half to be the "mama" as she carries around treats (grain in a bag) to give em. Sure they all still like me, but I am not the "mama" anymore :)

I sold 7 kids this year that were around a week old and am totally regretting it. We have so much milk, not only am I feeding all my babies, but I am making cheese daily. The only thing that will save us is all the triplets and as they get bigger, they will eat more. But I will be removing the option of early purchases from our website. Its harder for us to stay on track, and Id rather see the babies leave here knowing they got the best start possible.

So if you where asking me face to face, Id say, see if the breeder would be willing to keep the kids till the 3 month weaning mark and you will pay a bit extra for em. Also, if you do get them right at weaning, they will already be eating hay and grain and if you really wanted to be in on the milk bonding, you could get a single bag of replacer and give them a single feeding a day till its gone. At this point, they dont really need the milk feeding with them eating solids but it shouldnt hurt and you still get your milk bonding.
 

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If you want to bottle feed, I'd use Carolyn's recipe. As they get older they drink a lot more. Towards the end I was using straight whole milk with none of the additives. Safeway had a cheap brand that was like 2.19 a gallon. My boys turned out fine. Just turned 1 year and are about 31" tall. But it's a commitment. I like Dave's advice to buy weaned kids. Some packgoat breeders bottle feed and sell them at 4 months or so. Like Carolyn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply's. I get what your saying and I am leaning to your way of thinking. It makes total sense to me ,but I have a 8 and 5 year old daughters that I really wanted to be able to get involved and learn and grow with the goats.The breeder im getting them from is a dairy breeder. She dose not bottle feed but says that they socialize with the babies daily. She usually lets the kids go at 2 months, so it is the same price whether I get them at 3 weeks or 2 months. Will my daughters miss out on important bonding or will they still have plenty of time to get good bonding? Will the dame raising make a huge differance for the 2 months?
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Another possibility is to see if by chance there is a dairy breeder in your area. Not all will be listed with ADGA but if you give me your area, I can look in the members book and you might get lucky. We sell to friends at 3-5 dollars a gallon but its not unheard of for non certified dairies to charge lots more. But if you can mix 50/50 goats milk / replacer, that would be outstanding.

I dont wanna irk anyone by the way I word my posts. I speak from my point of view as I would do things and as I am stuck in my ways, I leave little room for other ways of doing things. Its not to say that others dont use other methods and have great results as I am sure they do. And I am sure I would have a totally different point of view if I werent surrounded by udders full of milk :) So everyones opinion is valuable and is the reason we all frequent these boards. Especially during baby season. In the end, each person can only do what they can and thats perfect. And although the first 3 months of milk are important in terms of development, its not a make it or break it deal regardless of how you decide to raise your kids. The farm I started out on would feed pasteurized milk just once a day and though aften smaller then normal, all the kids grew up into fine adults.

In your situation where you want your kids to be in on the bonding, that far out weights the discussion of which feeding style is best. And as long as they are growing and putting on weight, you really cant go wrong.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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And as for minerals, most babies wont even mess with it till about a month old. But a lose mineral salt is what we use here. We are low in selenium so we use one that has 120 ppm. We get 25 lbs bags from a feed store in Oregon and its a cow/goat pre mix that we feed straight. Dont use a sheep mix. Sheep cant have copper so it will be very low in it and copper is important for goats. Dont add any extra salt to a premix either. Cows can handle it but goats cant. They will get high blood pressure and get nasty shakes because they are going after the minerals but getting the extra salt as well. Mineral blocks dont work well. They often grind their teeth down to nothing trying to get enough of the minerals outta the block.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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With feeding something other then goats milk, Id look for one that has alot of extra minerals. A boar goat grower with coccy treatment is what Id suggest. If you cant find that then a general or all stock grain would be good. Lots of minerals and around 14% protein. If you find a good complete grain, you might even be able to hold off on the mineral salt till later. We stay away from wet and dry cob. Its more expensive here and has much less of pretty much everything in it. But its damn tasty! Kinda like total cereal vs fruity pebbles :)
 
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