How We Raise Our Kids

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So here’s the final count–2 purebred Oberhasli doelings and 4 Alpine/Oberhasli cross doelings, all doing well.  There are two schools of thought on raising dairy goat kids.  One method is to take the kids away immediately upon birth and begin bottle feeding.  The thought process behind this is the kids will bond with their human “mom” and therefore be much tamer and grow up to be easier to handle.  This, of course, is very labor intensive, but a lot of people subscribe to this method and swear by it.  The second way, and the way we do it, is to let the dams raise the kids.  I prefer to raise my goats as naturally as possible, and I just don’t have time to bottle feed babies.  I’ve found that it’s really the dam that determines how friendly the kids will be and not necessarily how they are raised.  Cypress’s kids are always like puppies, they just want to be loved and handled, just like she does.  Sage’s kids are very skittish, just as she is very aloof and not concerned with human attention.  Fannie’s kids start out skittish but quickly overcome that by being handled daily, as Fannie is a very affectionate goat.  We leave the kids with their moms 24/7 until they’re 2 weeks old, then they are separated at night into their own stall and have a “slumber party.”  They have a little box we built for them inside their stall and they love to pile in there and sleep, then jump on top of it, etc.  By this age they are nibbling grain and hay.  In the morning I milk the moms, then the kids are let out with them all day.  We’re sharing the milk this way and it has worked well for us.  There really is no right or wrong way, it’s just what works for you.  Tonight will be their first night of separation, and hopefully it won’t be too traumatic for them.  They were disbudded earlier this week so it’s been a big week for them!

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