Opinions Needed! Bottle vs. Doe

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by FloatnRockRanch, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    We are reaching our last couple weeks and need to decide whether to pull the babies and bottle feed or to let them nurse on moms. Our end goal is to have as much milk for family use as possible. Any doelings will be kept to increase herd size and bucks sold or turned for freezer camp. There is always someone home to milk and bottle feed, so this isn't a deciding factor. We plan on getting a dansha milker. We have a separate area to keep babies.

    The deciding factors would be what gives the best baby growth?

    Do you get more milk hand milking or machine milking? (These are FF and we are first timers, so a definite learning curve. Milked cows by machine for years, but not by hand.)

    What way gives the most milk for family use?

    If we bottle feed, we would still need to feed the milk to the babies. So do you get more milk milking them or letting babies nurse and milking the left over?

    Also.....is it cost efficient and less time consuming using a lambar or single bottle feeding each baby if we go that direction?

    Any and all opinions would be helpful! Thanks, Stephanie
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  2. glndg

    glndg Active Member

    Feb 7, 2013
    Hi Stephanie,

    My vet was out to disbud and commented on the weight of my dam-raised kids. When I specifically asked for clarification, she said that while they were NOT fat, they were heavier than bottle kids ever get. (And she sees lots of kids.)

    OTOH, from what I have gathered, if you want a great-looking udder for show, you are safer raising the kids on bottles. You would probably get more milk for yourself this way as well.

    Here's an article that addresses dam vs. bottle raising.
    http://www.homegrownandhandmadethebook.com/2015/05/is-my-goat-kid-fat.html
     

  3. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    The best of both worlds would be to dam raise but after 2 weeks separate kids at night and milk in the morning.

    Another option is to pull and bottle feed kids you don't want to keep and sell them as fast as possible as bottle kids.
     
  4. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Sounds like dam raised for you gave you the better babies. My goal is healthy kids and milk for family. Not interested in showing or raising babies for showing. Something I thought, of was whether the teats become bigger/better and a higher yielding udder for milking when nursed with kids or mostly milked by hand/machine?

    Will dig into this article tonite! Thanks!
     
  5. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Would milking morning and night right from the start be okay? Paying close attention to the babies and how they look to ensure they continue to get enough. This develops the routine right from the start...

    This might be an option....will have to think on this. :devilish: I would get all does if it goes by my normal luck! :-D

    Thanks!
     
  6. Little-Bits-N-Pieces

    Little-Bits-N-Pieces Active Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    CA
    A lot of the time my bottle kids grow better than my dam raised kids, but it's sometimes the other way around, depending on the does production.

    If you want the kids to grow well, they need as much milk as they'll take, along with a good alfalfa and some grain. The calcium in the milk and the alfalfa is what's going to grow their skeletal frames. The protein in the hay and grain will put their muscle on, and the fat in the milk and grain will put their layer of fat on and also help with their development.

    I would say no to the cost effectiveness of using a lambar, if you have less than 5 kids on one. I use a 5 gallon lambar per 4-5 kids and it'll hold about 4 gallons, and I fill it twice a day, with zero to maybe half a quart of milk left over.

    With my bottle kids and lambar kids, they grow just as good, sometimes better than the dam raised kids. The key is they need as much milk as they will drink to grow the best. Even if you have to sacrifice not having milk for you, they need as much as they can get if you want to grow them to full potential.

    If you want the does to milk more and have bigger teats, you'll need to pull the kids and milk 2x a day. It will stretch the udder and the teats, and there will be a consistent supply and demand to go to her "milk memory". So they'll milk about the same or higher with their next freshenings.
     
  7. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Lacie,

    Would you say that the key to good early growth on bottle babies is using the dams milk and as much as they can eat? My thoughts are the only way to do this with out 24hr monitoring is a lambar, even for just a few kids as they are then eating what they need without ever waiting for a scheduled feeding. We would need to make sure of no waste by adjusting what was put in the bucket as they grew, monitoring and recording daily consumption.

    This would work along side of 2x daily milkings. Any thoughts on milker vs hand? Especially for a first timer. Guess I am worried mostly about the hubby having enough patience to strip well enough in the mornings since 5 days of the week it would be his morning responsibility.

    Thanks for you information!
     
  8. groovyoldlady

    groovyoldlady Goat Crazy!

    Jul 21, 2011
    Central Maine
    I've seen first hand that kids grow better when dam raised. However, we bottle raised ours because we have no way to separate kids to wean them. And we do show. It sounds like you would do well to dam raise the first year and evaluate after that. And you always should have bottles and nipples handy at kidding time because "stuff happens" and sometimes you have to bottle feed one or more kids.
     
  9. LibertyHomesteadFarm

    LibertyHomesteadFarm Member

    613
    Feb 1, 2014
    If you want to keep the kids on the dam, you can only milk once a day so as not to starve the kids. I separate the kids at night 12 hrs before morning milking, and they keep their dams empty during the day. If you milked in the evening after a day of kids nursing, the kids won't leave hardly any milk for you! :-D

    I prefer to dam raise my kids b/c they grow faster and I have way less problems with scours, cocci, worms, etc.

    Dam raising also gives you more flexibility; if you need to be away for a night (or more) you can leave the kids with their dams all night to keep the does milked out. That way your "goat sitter" just has to feed and water and doesn't need milking experience; and your does don't dry off. :)
     
  10. LibertyHomesteadFarm

    LibertyHomesteadFarm Member

    613
    Feb 1, 2014
  11. Little-Bits-N-Pieces

    Little-Bits-N-Pieces Active Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    CA
    Yep, whether it's their dams milk, milk from another doe, or even cow milk. As much as they can possibly swill, starting from birth, that's key in their growth.
    Lambar would probably work out well for you if you adjusted to what they need.
    I do not have experience with machine milking, so sorry, no help there. Just be careful with the suction, because I bought a doe back after being machine milked, and she had blown teats from it.

    Here is an 8 week old lambar kid, next to a full grown 2yr old doe. And here's a 3 month old dam raised doe kid, who was never separated, had all she could nurse and I just took the excess if there was any
     

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  12. Little-Bits-N-Pieces

    Little-Bits-N-Pieces Active Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    CA
    Also, I actually have less cocci and worm problems with bottle kids, than I do with dam raised kids. Also with dam raising, check religiously for mastitis, because they can get it while nursing, and you can mess up your doe kids if they nurse from a mastitis doe. Dam raised kids usually always have a bigger twin, with bottle and lambar raising, they're all on an equal playing field, equal growth rates, and they're less aggressive with each other as adults.
     
  13. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    I will never leave buck kids on a dairy doe again. Last year my yearling doe's twin bucklings bit through her fine dairy skin and destroyed her udder to the point she had to be culled.

    In fact, the 4 doelings I'm raising now will never raise a kid at all. I dam raised with my last group of does and it causes more problems than it solves...
     
  14. lottsagoats1

    lottsagoats1 Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    Middle Maine
    My bottle kids grow at the same rate as my dam raised kids, you can't tell which is which.

    A lambar is easier to use than bottle feeding each kid, one at a time. However, you do have to teach the young kids how to use it.

    The dam raised kids and flexibility is a valid point, it does come in handy to be able to leave the kids with mom if I have to be away.

    Have you had the does tested for CAE? If they are CAE+, you really need to pull the kids at birth and bottle feed CAE- milk/colostrum.

    My milkers produce way more milk than the kids use, so I can leave the kids on their CAE- dams (CAE+ get pulled) and still milk the does twice a day.

    If you bottle feed the kids, you can sell them very young instead of keeping them for 3 months or so.

    Hand milking is easier on the animal unless you are rough. I prefer hand milking. I can feel if anything is wrong in the udder/teats. You have to strip the doe out at the end anyway, which means hand milking the last little bit. Plus, with a machine you have all that washing up to do and it can be very easy to miss places where bacteria grow.

    What you may have to do it try different ways and pick what would work best for you. What works great for me (and my really odd schedule) would probably not work for someone else.
     
  15. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Why? What makes you prefer it? This is important to me and a big money item to buy. Is it easier to learn or is it personal preference. Do you get more or less milk?

    My thoughts were that it would be easier to use a milker on FF that are going to throw fits. Less milk loss. Easier for the hubby to manage. I know cleaning makes it take longer.....:think:
     
  16. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Yep pretty darn near the same size. Nice.

    It seems dam raised or bottle fed is pretty much good or bad based on personal preference and individual farm experience with no definite difference for baby growth. Everyone is pretty mixed on that topic.

    It seems to me that if you pull the kids only at night, you create havoc and stress daily for both the animals and yourself. Leaving babies and does open to greater chance of health issues and a major headache for me every night! I would think that a baby should have consistent supply all 24hrs of the day not just 12hrs during the daytime. A lambar provides the milk 24 hours supply a consistent milk supply and less stress coming and going with the dam, more handling by humans and my crazy kids, should equal some happy healthy kids! :-D
     
  17. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Lacie,

    Can you explain this...how do you mess up your doe kids if they nurse from a mastitis positive doe?

    Mastitis worries me....the one thing I haven't prepped for yet. Thinking I should probably get these supplies for the medicine cabinet. Does a box of Today, cannulas, tester paddle, CMT sound good or is there something else I should get?
     
  18. Little-Bits-N-Pieces

    Little-Bits-N-Pieces Active Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    CA
    Doe kids have a high chance of freshening with mastitis if they drink mastitic milk.

    Sounds like a good mastitis kit, you don't need the cannulas though, the ToDay and ToMorrow treatments have them on the syringe already.
     
  19. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Jill,

    Do you use a lambar or bottle for each baby? My hubby is concerned that the milk will sour sitting in a lambar bucket in the heat and make the babies sick. Is this true?

    Darn bucks sound brutal! My beginner does have much to be desired in there udders, however they are still an initial investment and I would hate to have to cull my first goat loveys! I will definitely find it hard to take the babies away. Poor mommas!
     
  20. FloatnRockRanch

    FloatnRockRanch New Member

    315
    Feb 7, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Some very good points! I hadn't thought about the need to strip out at the end even if using the machine. Cleaning for the hubby is a big one! He is terrible about the extra effort with cleaning, it is usually where I do double duty. This could be a problem and cause some issues with mastitis or even staph. Hubby also has issues with arthritis in his hands. Several people have this problem....:anyone: maybe have input on hand milking with hurting hands?