Weaning Question: More How than When

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by foxhollow, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. foxhollow

    foxhollow Courtney @ Fox Hollow

    53
    May 5, 2013
    Wester Massachusetts
    Hello everyone,
    There is always a lot of talk about when to wean and I am curious to the different methods of introducing grain, hay and minerals and reducing/eliminating milk replacer.
    I have two, 2 1/2 month old Alpine kids (a doe and a soon to be wether). They have been eating hay consistently for about a month now and I have introduced grain for the last week at about a bit less than 1/2 cup per kid in the morning. I am hesitant to up the grain to morning and night because I would prefer the dependency on browse and hay. I am still giving almost 4 cups of milk replacer 2 times a day but it is at a lower potency. The doe seems much more interested and frequent about visiting the water. She takes quick sips. The wether is not as interested and I have not actually seen him consume any. He is still quite the eager bottle recipient.
    Should I stop the milk replacer all together or reduce the amount for the next week? If I reduce it, should I leave the potency at a weaker level? Am I over thinking this process and should I just cut off the milk so that they can just go for the grain and hay? (chuckling)
    Thank you for your input in advance! I always learn something from this excellent site!
     
  2. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wyoming
    They have to have a higher amount of grain because their tummies cannot hold enough hay/browse to provide the nutrition they need to support growth and proper development. You cannot get around that. I have hay and grain/goat grower pellets in front of my bottle babies from pretty much day one - literally day one on the hay, I introduce goat grower pellets at about a week of age. I raise standard sized goats, and I will not even think about weaning them until they are eating at least a pound of goat grower pellets, and I prefer them to be eating 3 lbs per day, split into 2 feedings morning and night. Once you wean them and they are eating more hay then you can cut back on the grain/pellets, but I would keep them on it for at least 45 days post weaning - especially if you're planning on breeding the doeling. I read an article in Goat Rancher magazine that showed first timer doelings milk up to 15% better if kept on grain/pellets for 45 days post weaning.
     

  3. foxhollow

    foxhollow Courtney @ Fox Hollow

    53
    May 5, 2013
    Wester Massachusetts
    This is very helpful! Thank you for your input!
     
  4. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wyoming
    You're welcome!