Whether to bottle-raise or dam-raise your kids is a big decision when raising kids. On the one hand, bottle-raising kids makes them super friendly without a lot of work – but the effort of bottle raising can be quite labor intensive. On the other hand, dam-raising takes away a lot of the work, is more natural – but you need to make sure you spend time with your kids to make them people-friendly, and a much higher chance of milk-related diseases to be passed on.
For those visual people out there, I’ve made a pros and cons list!
Obviously, this isn’t a balanced list. This list is just to highlight the elements to take into consideration when deciding how to raise your kids. Many of these things can be managed to be a lesser problem. For example, taming kids is solved with just a half an hour of sitting down with new babies to familiarize them with you and people in general. And oh, it’s such a “chore.”
Different elements are going to have different weight depending on what you’re looking for. If you have a huge herd, taming all those kids may be a monumental task – in the same vein, bottle-raising may be entirely too much work.
The risk of CAE is unacceptable to some, and all kids are bottle-raised. Hard-core breeders who show consistently may not be willing to make sure to check for lop-sided udders, and kids are bottle-raised for the same reason.
In other scenarios, such as needing CAE testing, the testing should probably be done anyway. For lop-sided udders, which can be managed with some attention, you might not care if you’re not going to show.
It all depends on what you’re looking for in your ladies and what you want to do. And I have posts on dealing with different issues that arise depending on your preference for raising kids, as well.
Some specifics for bottle-raising kids:
Do not skimp on the colostrum, even if you’re bottle-raising! It’s the absolute best thing for babies in jump-starting their immune systems and making sure they grow up strong. If you don’t have a source of natural colostrum, there are colostrum replacers that can be bought. Try to find a goat-specific version.
If you do have a natural source of colostrum and are bottle-feeding for disease-related reasons, make sure to heat treat, not pasteurize, the colostrum. Pasteurizing the colostrum will turn it into pudding.
Also, if you’re going to continue using replacer, I really recommend buying cows milk and feeding half cows milk and half replacer. Feeding only replacer can make the kid bloat.
Have any pros and cons to add to the list? Let me know! I’d love to add them.