Our goats are raising calves :)

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Cara, Jul 29, 2009.

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  1. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    A month ago my husband woke me up to tell me he'd got a surprise for me. There was a dogie calf tied down on the back of his truck that he had found while checking the pastures. He suggested I try to mother it up with my doe Dizzy, and I thought he was out of his mind. I got her out of the pen and he was so hungry he went straight to her udder and started nursing. She just stood there and let him, and didn't even need a feed bucket! We put him in the pen with her, and figured we'd have to hold her 2-3 times a day for him so that he could feed. Again we were wrong, and she raised him like her own! After a couple of weeks he got too big to feed from her, as they can damage the doe's udder by butting. We put him in his own pen, and let him out to nurse from her on the milk stand twice a day. He knew where she was, we didn't even have to lead him, we just opened the gate and let him go! We'd switch out goats once she was empty, and let him feed from the other one. It makes life so much easier than milking then bottle feeding!

    Now he is too big even to do that, he puts his front feet on the milk stand and tries to climb up there with the goats.

    Last Monday my FIL brought me another calf. He'd found her following a bull trying to nurse from him. He had to carry her into the pen because she was so weak. She had the scours really bad, and could not get up. Her skin was cracking and bleeding from being so dehydrated. I stayed up all night giving her electrolytes by syringe every two hours, and was scared to check on her the next day because I was sure she would be dead. Instead she was up and trotting around the pen! The goats are raising her now, and she is doing great. Doris will be the start of our personal herd, until now we only had bulls and steers.

    We bought another goat yesterday to help keep us in milk, as the two we had couldn't make enough to keep up. Rose went to a new home, and we replaced her with our 'supergoat' Dot. Now we have enough for a third calf!

    My husband and FIL cannot believe how well the calves are doing in comparison to milk replacer babies. The bull calf doesn't look like he was ever an orphan, he is enormous. He has tripled weight in a month. The heifer would probably never have made it. I think part of it is that it is so much easier to get them to feed to begin with, rather than wasting a day or so trying to get them to feed from a bottle. It's also a lot more natural for them to nurse from an udder. The goat's milk is a lot more digestable than the replacer, and doesn't upset their stomachs. My husband is so sold on raising calves on goat's milk that he took no persuading at all to buy another goat! I think we may try raising dairy steers for beef once these are weaned.

    This is Alvin, the bull calf:



    Doris the heifer, taken last week. She is now gaining weight well:



  2. katrinag

    katrinag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Those are heart warming pics.
    I have never heard anyone say anything nice about the milk replacers.
  3. HenPen

    HenPen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2009
    New Hampshire
    So glad you found those babies before it was to late....thanks for sharing.
  4. Haviris

    Haviris Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2007
    That's great! I did a similar thing this year, my dad gave me a calf, I had plenty of goats milk and started mixing that w/ her replacer (my dad had already bought the replacer before giving her to me). She came over while I was milking and helped herself! I didn't end up putting her on the goats becuase I didn't want her ruining their udders and I wasn't able to monitor how much she was eating. BUT I have one doe that would come in and feed her on her own (the goats were free ranging and could come and go). I never did get a pic. My goats are Nigerian Dwarfs.

    My personal herd consists of one cow (hard to build a herd when all she has is bulls) (it actually consists of one cow and one steer). So after I sold her calf my baby was 5 or 6 weeks old, cow still had plenty of milk, so I put her on the cow! Makes my work load so much lighter, and my baby will also become part of my "personal herd", which has now doubled! Here is my cow (who was also a bottle baby) and my calf (she doesn't claim the calf, only feeds it)!

    And I've still got plenty of milk! I've considered raising another calf next year!
  5. kryptoniteqhs

    kryptoniteqhs Rosecomb Rich

    Nov 14, 2008
    Perris, CA
    that is AMAZING!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    How is it that you just stumbled upon two calves? Wondering around? Where did you go? I want to go for a walk and find calves!
  6. username taken

    username taken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2009
    if you value that doe at all, DO NOT LET THE CALVES SUCK OFF HER.

    Nothing will ruin a doe's udder faster than this practice of elevating does so that calves can suckle.

    Yes, calves do fantastic on goats milk, just about every animal does, but for goodness sake milk the doe out and feed the calf from a bottle/bucket.

    Take a look at a cow's udder and teats compared to a doe's udder and teats ... huuuuuuge difference. You even milk them in different ways.

    Bottom line is, doe's udders arent designed to withstand calves suckling. Lambs and kids yes, calves no.
  7. Big Chicken Little

    Big Chicken Little Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I could not agree more ..the amount of pressure a calf exerts on the teat is too much for the goat ....you will have problems later on. The teat will swell and can tear. Milk the goat and bottle feed the calf. Looks so cute but not good for the goat.
  8. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    Quote:For the record, the calves are no longer feeding directly from the goats. You would have found this out had you read the entire post.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2009
  9. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    Quote:LOL We live on a ranch. If we raise the orphaned calves we are allowed to keep them, or sell them once they're big enough.
  10. jjpiper

    jjpiper Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 3, 2009
    Great photos and stroy Cara.
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