Each Spring we summon in the new year with a fresh batch of rambunctious kids, making January easily the most stressful, sleepless, wonderful time of year. If I had to pick one reason why we continue to raise dairy goats in such size and scale, I would tell you without a moment's pause that it's because of the kids. There is nothing in the world quite as adorable as a baby goat and we are blessed with them in large quantities.
Since our primary reasons of breeding dairy goats are for show and production, we choose to bottle raise all of our babies. There are several reasons for this;
Firstly, it reduces the chance of them picking up any milk-transmitted diseases that may be passed from the dam.
Secondly, bottle raised kids are much friendlier and much, much easier to handle, making it easier to train them for show as well as to sell them. In a few months they'll have grown quite a bit and it's no fun to be chasing them around in the Florida summer heat!
Now bottle raising kids means that we attend each and every one of the births. Once they are born we put them in large tubs of hay and bring them inside the house for the first twenty-four hours. And this is where the long nights begin! During that first night, it is my job to sleep on the couch next to them so that I can wake up every hour or so in order to make sure that they have enough colostrum. As you can imagine, this combined with the kiddings themselves can create a lot of stress. However, in the long run it is worth it every single time.
And so we wait with bated breath, impatient and straining. In fact I'm waiting right now! Our first doe of the season looks as though she's ready to pop any second. So wish us luck and Happy Kidding!