Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

What do you think about this written about dam raising vs. bottle raising? Any truth to it?

I dam raise our babies and love it.  But I came across this site and noticed what these people had to say about bottle raising.  The last part is what really opened my eyes.  Does anyone see any truth in this, I  love to hear what others think about this.


 When dams are allowed to raise their kids, the       kids must be weaned at some point. This is very stressful to both mom and       baby. Our goats are monitored, via barn cameras, 24 hours a day. Due dates       are always known. When a doe is in labor, at least one member of the       family is always present with others standing by. As the kids are born, I       catch them, clear their noses and mouths so they can take their first       breaths, then they are wrapped in a towel and handed off to the family       member responsible for the babies) while I stay in the       stall with mom waiting for more kids or just letting her bond to me as she       would bond to her kid soon after birth. The doe never sees her kid, she       only sees me. They bond quite strongly to just about anything that they       are around right after labor. Our does never go through the stress of losing       their kids at weaning time either, as they are bonded to us instead of       their kids. This makes milking time, even for first time moms, much       smoother, since they see me as their baby.

     The kids,       subsequently, bond to my daughter and people in general. We never have to       stress our kids by having to remove them from their dams because they       never knew their dams as their dams. They are bonded to people. This       method also makes the kids very easy to handle/train since they are very       friendly and people oriented. This also makes their eventual transition       into the milking herd much smoother.

     Another reason for       this method of raising our kids is that baby goats do not have clean       mouths. They put everything in their mouth, just as human children do.       That is one of the many reasons they are called "kids." They chew on       everything from walls and floors to dirt, and yes, even POOP. Then they go       back to mom’s udder multiple times during the day and night. I cannot risk       this type of contamination.  The cleanliness and       wholesomeness of my milk is paramount. This requires clean, disease free       udders on my milking does. From the possible bacterial contamination, to       the bruising caused by kids as they grow and get more rough with their       dams, quality control dictates that they remain separated

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Comment by Laci D. Culpepper on March 21, 2014 at 2:31am

So glad i found this post! I'm new to raising goat and lately I've read so much about how you're supposed to bottle raise the kids and why, but like Deborah said, goats have been raising their own kids without our help since God made them, why change it unless a situation makes it necessary? It's good to see that there's people who give good reason to dam raise.

Comment by Bonny Covington on April 10, 2012 at 9:14pm

I've only been at this for a couple of years and I see a LOT more experience in these comments!  However, I will say that my Dam raised goats are much better behaved than the bottle babies!

Comment by Hannah on April 2, 2012 at 10:40am

From what I've seen, people have very strong opinions for both sides. We're letting our doe raise her kids and we probably will again in the future, mostly because we're not around enough to bottle feed the babies or milk her.

Now that I'm reading what everyone is saying, I realize now why our doe is so loud. Where we got her, they bottle raise all their babies, so we can infer she was bottle raised, whenever we leave she follows us and yells after us, or if she sees us outside or through the window in the house, she'll stand there and bleat at us. All of our other goats are essentially silent.

I don't think we'll have to do anything to wean our kids. They're 5 weeks old and already they're wandering around with all the other goats eating grass and weeds and things.

Comment by Amber Patterson on March 31, 2012 at 8:51pm

I have had the same experience with my goats, a few were bottle raisied and are the most annoying things, they scream, kick on the stand and are not the greatest mothers.  My dam raisied does are the sweetest on the stand and have been the greatest mothers!  They have never screamed while waiting to be fed, and in turn their kids have never once screamed.  Again the bottle raised does had their kids 2 months ago and they are screaming just like their mother!  Thanks for all the great opinions, I feel better about how I am raising mine, and realizing I am not the only one out here dam raising.

Comment by Margaret Langley on March 31, 2012 at 4:08pm

Well everyone has an opinion and no one is 100% correct or 100% wrong all the time. They have a few valid points about some things but the fact is even though they may be right about the tight kid/human bond etc, does that mean that is what is best. They do get real attached but it really can be a pain in the rear for them to be so dependent. I wonder what these people in this family have grown up like. I mean seems like the real human children would be 40 year old momma boys etc. I may have different views than most on this because not only do I have a good since of animal psycology I also have 7 children and yes I am weird in most peoples views because I actually breast fed them all on average 1 year each and I am telling you I feel that natural IS better for people and animals. My children are healthier and more independent than most. There are usually happy mediums available and I think everyone that has already commented on this has a good grip on where that line is located. There are many things that those of us who love our goats can do to increase the bonds between us without destroying there natural herd family. I guess if we can steal goat terminology for our KIDS then we can use the human saying "breast is best" for our goats. Except there called udders, so will just have to say "udders are bedder" instead.  I say momma/baby bond is more important. We will be better served by goats that are allowed to be goats and share our lives. I mean I want my goats to know I am there HUMAN momma that loves them Not think I am their KID.  I just think they seem kind of extreme.

Comment by Deborah Niemann-Boehle on March 31, 2012 at 1:21pm

And as a person with an English degree, this line really bugs me --

That is one of the many reasons they are called "kids."

Actually "kids" has always meant baby goat. Using it to refer to human children is slang and was initially used in a very negative manner.

Comment by Deborah Niemann-Boehle on March 31, 2012 at 1:13pm

This is a pet peeve of mine. I really hate it when people act like bottle-feeding is the only way to raise kids, especially since kids were dam-raised since the beginning of time, and people have been milking goats and cows and sheep for thousands of years. Ugh! We've dam raised for ten years, but we do wind up bottle babies sometimes because of extreme situations, like hypothermia -- or this year we had a goat die. I can actually give you a long list of reasons why I prefer dam-raised babies -- and one of those reasons would be that they are easier to handle. It depends on how you define "easy." We actually sold a bottle doe several years ago because she was one of the worst behaved goats we'd ever had on the milk stand. When my daughters showed their goats, some of the bottle babies were the most difficult to show because they wanted to jump on us all the time rather than walk.

As for cleanliness, does this person have goats that live in a sterile environment? Do they never lay down in dirt or on poopy straw? I agree with what everyone else said about cleaning the udder and doing first squirts into a strip cup. Plus, I actually think that dam raising is far healthier for a goat's udder because it is being continually milked. If a goat gets mastitis, one of the first recommendation is to milk her as often as possible. Only milking a doe twice a day allows bacteria to build up and multiply. As for kids damaging the goat's udder -- knock on wood -- I've never had that happen, other than a kid biting a teat, which has happened about three times in ten years, and we milk about 18 a year now. That usually happens with kids that are older, and I take them away at that point and let the teat heal, but it's never caused any long-term damage. Cow dairies have been claiming this for years but I don't know if it's based on any research or just common practice. And there are probably far more udders damaged by milking machines than nursing kids -- and that is a well documented fact.

As for stress of weaning, I never wean doelings or wethers, and this year, I'm going to work on not weaning bucklings. And as someone else said, kids that go to a new home are stressed, regardless of how they are fed. Ironically, the ONLY kid that was ever returned to me was one that was bottle fed. She was sold with a dam-raised wether, who was quiet as a mouse at his new home, but the bottle-raised doe would not shut up whenever the people left the barn -- even screaming all night long!

Comment by Kailyn Elliott on March 31, 2012 at 9:24am

As far as the cleanliness issue goes, it's really not a huge dilemma. Yes, the kids can get the udder dirty, but that's why they make udder wipes and advice you to use a strip cup to put the first few squirts in. I would personally never bottle-feed a kid unless the dam tested positive for CAE or another disease. But I would also test before breeding to help eliminate the risk of this happening. If the dam died, I would try everything to get another dam to adopt the kid(s). Basically, successful breeders have been dam-raising kids for years, and as long as they go to the proper extent of making sure the udder and their hands are clean before milking, and don't let the milk become contaminated once in the bucket, there isn't a problem. As I'm sure you already know from experience, you can let the dam raise her own kids and still have good, clean, wholesome milk.

Comment by Janel Rickey on March 30, 2012 at 9:47pm

I see a lot of point this person makes, but for me I love Dam Raised goats.  We have 3 bottle goats and 2 dam raised and I disagree with them being easier to handle.  My one doe that just gave birth (that is a bottle goat) is a horrible mother.  She is so dependent on human interaction, that she neglects her kids.  She acts like most of the time she has lost her mind and is so crazy about anything and everything I'm doing.  My other doe that just gave birth (dam raised) is amazing.  She is an amazing mother and goat.  She stands so patiently on her milk stand for grain, while the other doe is trying to rip open the bag.  I have to lock her up in the stall until it is her turn.  Even at that she is still acting crazy even when it is her turn.  When we brought the bottle babies home they were 3 days old, 2 days old and 2 weeks old.  They all cried and cried for a few days until they adjusted to their new environment.  I think any separation for animals is hard.  I know a lot of people bottle raise their babies and think its the only way to go. Having had the experience of bring home both bottle babies and a buck that was dam raised, there wasn't really any difference between the 2 scenarios.  The buck was so friendly and sweet and cried for a few days, while the bottle babies were sweet and cried for a few days.  In my opinion I think Dam raised goats have better manners and better personalities.  Would love to hear others input also...

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