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Childhelp goat project
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many goat dairys "socialize" their replacement does when they are babies so that they are more manageable when they are added to the milking herd?

As you may have read in my other post I am hoping to find a goat dairy farm that would be willing to "loan" kids to our residential treatment facility for a period of time so that the children could "cuddle" and socialize the baby goats as part of the children's treatment.

My questions are:

What concerns as to disease or care methods would such an arrangement raise for you as a dairy farmer?

What "sweeteners" (like a tax break or covering cost of feed) would make the arrangement work in your mind?
 

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Katrina
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I picked up two 6 month old lamancha does this summer. The dairy I got them from bottle feeds all their kids, resulting in overly friendly kids.

I'm sure that doesn't answer your question, but that's been my experience a few times :)
 

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It's important to me that I have tame dairy goats. I'm not sure how big of a dairy you're talking about(I have 16), but even 100+ goats I'd try to have them all tame. That way if one ever needs extra care (illness, injury, etc) she's not stressed out, wanting to get away, when she's being treated. I don't like the goats overly friendly either. I like the goats to surround me when I come in the pen, looking for treats, scratching, etc. but when I ignore them and am fixing the fence or something, I don't want them chewing on me, climbing on me, taking my tools, etc. They should just leave at that point.
 

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Childhelp goat project
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am trying to find a goat dairy near enough to our facility (residential treatment center for traumatized children) that might be willing to let us "borrow" some of their babies for a time to be "therapy" animals for the children. I got the idea from a story I read about a goat dairy that invites volunteers to come and "cuddle" their babies to socialize them. I want to give that experience to the children we serve. It could be helpful to them. So I am trying to find out how many goat dairies do some kind of socialization with there kids. The website for out facility is https://www.childhelp.org/residential-treatment-facilities/alice-c-tyler-village/
 

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All major dairies pull the kids at birth and bottle or bucket-feed them. So all the kids produced at these facilities are quite tame as they associate humans with food. Typically they will sell the bucklings at a few days old after being started for pets and retain doelings for replacement milkers. I'm not sure the "socialization" aspect will be any benefit for the major dairies.

You might occasionally find a meat goat herd that has rejected kids or triplets that they want to pull one and have it bottle raised! But they typically kid once a year so the need would not be year round.

Bottle raised goats tend to have no space boundaries with humans and this presents a problem later for breeding bucks maturing and becoming aggressive but is typically not an issue with wethers and does (other than quite annoying as they want to be glued to you at all times).
 

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Childhelp goat project
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Would it be a benefit if we offered to bottle feed the babies for them until weaned? That is the arrangement I have with a local cow dairy. But I admit that I don't know much about bottle feeding goats.
 

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Fair-Haven
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As a dairy goat breeder (and yes I am small), I would never loan out my goats to anyone. Nutrition. parasite control, disease control and evaluating my replacement does rate of growth is extremely important, and I would not let my growing doelings off the farm for any reason. I do sell wethers. You may just want to get a couple of wethers to keep year round for your children to feed, brush, lead and work with. You can find some very healthy goats at a reasonable cost, or consider taking in a couple of rescues.
 

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Goat Crazy!
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I only have 4 does right now. But I would be very open to having needy children coming here to cuddle or help me feed the kids. I would also be open to taking the kids to a children's facility on a regular basis - as long as the facility policy allowed it.

However, I or a member of my family would have to be involved in some way. I don't think I'd be comfortable just "loaning" them...
 

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I'm not sure if anyone who is serious about their goats' future production would want to loan them out to someone as babies.

But, the goat dairies around here sell tons of bottle babies every year for very little money ($25-$50). You could raise a couple whethers or does. Adults make really nice pets too. For therapy animals, I think Saanens would be just wonderful. They are so calm, sweet, and affectionate.
 
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