Photo is a tribute to Siren, our farm wether who was very loved and adored by all.
Why do we dam raise?
Our kids are 100% dam raised, and this is something we feel very strongly about on our farm. It is not true that bottle fed kids are more tame, unless you are getting kids from a farm that does not interact with them at all. We have brought in kids before that were dam raised and not properly socialized, and that is very unfortunate when it happens. Our goat kids are handled from the moment they are born, are incredibly friendly, like puppy dogs that you would literally need to pull off your lap to get them to leave you alone! :-) While larger dairies can't afford to dam raise as you won't get access to the doe's milk immediately, since we are a small farm and this fits well into our needs and philosophy. We feel that kids who are raised naturally and at mom's side are better integrated into our herd from the beginning. We've noticed that they tend to learn appropriate behavior quicker with mom to teach them, can nurse on demand when they/mom decides it is appropriate (following natural instincts), are less stressed with having their caregiver to protect and comfort them, and generally grow much healthier and faster. Also, kids get their mom's milk in its raw state with all the enzymes needed for digestion. The only reason we would consider bottle feeding is when mom might have too many kids to feed at once (that hasn't happened yet!). If we do decide to start milking a doe, we won't separate kids from their moms until they are older and are drinking a bit less, and will then only separate at night where all the kids can "hang" together. Milking takes place first thing in the morning, and we are sure to leave plenty of milk for the kids to have breakfast! :-) Most of the time, however, kids remain full time with mom until 8 weeks of age or longer.
When our kids leave the farm, they are a minimum of 10-12 weeks of age, have been wormed weekly with Molly's Herbals beginning at 3 weeks of age, and have the best start possible. They also leave with detailed, complete health records and documentation from birth to departure, as well as hands-on instruction about how to trim goat hooves, and advice about books, supplements, feeds, minerals, etc. While we feel it is so important to have our kids leave the farm healthy and well adjusted, we feel that it is equally important that the new owners are confident in how to care for them once they go to their new homes.