The barn has been busy lately with banding the bucklings that we do not want to sell as breeders and determining which bottle kids should be weaned.
Yesterday I chose the kids that were 2 1/2 to 3 months old and decided to give them one last smidget of milk this morning to start their day off right. Tonight they got fresh hay and no "juice" beyond the water bucket.
Let me tell you, weaning is always hard for me. I simply cannot look at their young eyes and feel like I am doing them any good, even though I am. So, I "feel" their stares and reply without letting my heart sink, "You will be healthier now on good hay, water, and some grain."
Of course, I watch these kids closely even before I wean. They must eat well on their own.
When feeding a bottle kid I follow a schedule that I adopted several years ago. We go from newborn feedings round the clock, to four feedings a day within 24-48 hours, 3 a day thereafter, and at week 3 just 2 feedings a day. They are introduced to hay and grain as early as possible. They never receive more than 20 ounces of milk at a feeding. Because of that limitation I am leery of trying "bucket" feeding, but it sure would be easier on my part for any future bottle kids.
So...today I am down to 3 bottle kids. They are just 6 weeks old so they will be on the bottle for some time longer. And now, lo and behold, I have oodles of fresh goat milk coming out of my ears. Just in time for the promise that I made to myself yesterday. Every curing rack is to be full by Saturday!
By the way...the photo is not a goat kid, of course. It is Sunday, one of my mature boer does. She is one of my favorite gals. She "moowwwws" like a cow, a very nice big girl, and has wonderful big kids (normally bucklings), a watchful dam.
Have a good evening!