Raising unweined beef or dairy steer calves using dairy goats

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Faith Farm, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have experience raising unweined beef or dairy steer
    calves using dairy goats for milk? This spring I may purchase a few dairy
    goats to feed some beef steer calves I plan to purchase locally.
    An article I read in the Stockman GrassFarmer "Dairy Goats Raising
    Dairy Calves" explains how this is done. Starting 150# Steer calves
    next spring on goats milk until they are old enough to put out on grass
    then selling them in the fall @ 600#s is an interesting concept.
    Any thoughts?
    Paul
     
  2. Teacupliz

    Teacupliz Well-Known Member

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    We raised a steer on goats milk and he did very well. We ate ours at 600lbs. we got a lot of meat and it was very tastey. A good way to but the goats milk to good use. with little money.

    Liz
    Teacup Farm
     

  3. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We also raised one to age 6 months and about 500# to butcher at home.

    I bought right from a neighbor with a Holstein dairy...."Cowboy" was 5 days old and 90# and drank about 2 gallon of goat milk a day....we didn't steer him because we planned to butcher young.
    It was a cheap and easy project for our very small farm that produced about 160# of boneless meat for about $225 total cost.
     
  4. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I raised a beef on my extra goats milk, he did wonderfully, and grew faster , and was more healthy , on the goats milk.
     
  5. billygoatridge

    billygoatridge Well-Known Member

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    My dad raises cows. We usually get one or two of his baby calves that are a twin or unclaimed by the mother. We raise them on goat milk and then in the fall we put ours in with his mother raised calves and they are the same size. Goat milk makes them grow much better and cheaper than milk replacer.
     
  6. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info. I hope to have 2 calves nurse from
    one goat @ a time in a specialy built holding pen. As the
    calves grow I may use a second goat to feed the two calves.
    I hope to start out with 6 or 8 steer calves and 4 milk goats
    this February. Should be interesting.
     
  7. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you plan to let the calves nurse directly from the goat? I know it is done, but having bottled calves, I can tell you they get pretty rough pretty quick. Like goat kids, they naturally butt to get the milk to let down. A calf is a lot bigger than a kid, hence a lot rougher.
    We brought home a couple of bottle calves from auction this summer. One knew how to take the bottle, and I could not any way force the other to take it. Finally, we did put him up to the goat, and he knew what teats were. I don't think it pleased the goat, but it got him started, and I offered him a bottle afterwards, which he took. That was the only time I let him nurse the goat, though.
    If you have never had milk goats, you might find it to be quite an undertaking to try several, and several young calves, at once. Also, I'm sure you understand that some goats give a lot more milk than some other goats. You might want to know how much milk those calves are getting. I wouldn't think that most goats have enough milk for two calves.
    Good luck.
    mary
     
  8. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think 2 calves drinking directly on a goat would absolutely ruin her udder in one lactation. She would have to be in kid at some point if you want her to stay in milk and I dont think unborn kids would stay alive for long with a calf butting the doe. If you were talking 1 lovely gentle Jersey calf maybe but not 2 beef calves. Just in my opinion. :)
     
  9. Frenchy

    Frenchy Wrangler's Roost

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    Have a friend who milks her goats for calves an uses a bucket with a bottle nipple mounted to it .......... she just milks directly into the buckets then has a bracket on a post an sets the bucket in it to feed the calves from

    I have never had any dealings with milking for feeding calves or using buckets or anything else for this purpose .........so just wanted to relay what I had seen being used don't know how common this is used ..........

    :cowboy:
     
  10. tinetine'sgoat

    tinetine'sgoat Luvin' my family in MO

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    We were helping our neighbors this summer milking while he was in the hospital and they had a calf that momma had died so they were using 2 nubians to nurse him. At first it was ok then as the calf grew he was getting rougher with them and they were getting VERY leary to get in the stanchion. We had to use ALOT of bag balm because the calf sucks so hard that they got very tender. We put him on a lead and brought him in, he would put his front knees on the platform and start nursing. When he started ramming them excessively was when we quit using them. One of them suffered from MAJOR mastitis after that. It was horrible milking it out of her, like milking cottage cheese out of a baby bottle!! I think that letting the calf nurse had alot to do with it, and I personally wouldn't do it to one of my milkers after seeing it. I would milk her and then bottle the calf. We were using 2 very productive nubians just to feed one calf. One of them was a gallon + a day milker and the other was close to that.
     
  11. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Even the lovely gentle Jersey calf we bottled last year was pretty rough by the time he was two months old. Personally, I would not do it to my goats.
    mary
     
  12. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

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    The calves we have do get rather rough with their MaMas
    as they age and gain weight. The article I read did not go into detail
    concerning possible utter damage and other side affects. I joined
    this forum to get "the rest of the story" and listen to the pros.
    How can I milk several goats daily, pour the milk into buckets with
    bottle niples to feed these very young calves if I am solo? Are there
    mechanical milkers available for goats which I can use? How many goats
    should I use per angus calf and would Nubians be the choice breed for maximum production? Thank you,
    Paul
     
  13. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If by "solo" you mean by yourself...I think you'll find that even though most of us have partners we milk and raise the kids on our own....well I do anyway cos someone has to work off the farm :) What you need is a drum specially made with holes around the top for the teat to poke through and tubes attached to the teats which goes down into the drum therefore into the milk. You milk the goats and then pour the milk into the drum and the calves suck the teats. You can hand milk, if you dont know how then you will have to get the people that you buy the milkers from to show you. Same with a milking machine.
    Before I had goats and when I used to raise poddy calves I went to our local milk product company and bought their bags of waste milk powder...much cheaper than calf replacement and the calves went well on it....that is if you didnt want to hand milk goats twice a day.
    Cheers
     
  14. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Once you get the hang of it, milking doesn't take that long. I've never used a milking machine, but I believe that set up and clean up would take as long as doing the milking myself.

    I raise Nubians and love them, but they are not the best of the milk producers. From what I have read, I think your best bet would be Alpines, or Saanens.

    mary
     
  15. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We raise them in groups every year.

    Feed them straight goat milk -- don't let anyone talk you into diluting it with water or it won't curd in the calf's stomach and it WILL make them scour.

    We just weaned the last holstein heifer -- at 7 months old :rolleyes: She was drinking 4 gallons a day at that point, lol.

    A good Alpine will certainly give you enough milk -- we got our final milk test back on my top girl yesterday. Her record this year -- 4710 lbs of milk and 207 lbs of butterfat!!!

    Tracy
     
  16. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One goat at about a gallon a day will feed a calf to one month old...then you'll need two goats and two gallons of milk. My "good" goat milkers hand milk out in about 7-8 minutes by hand.....so 20 min for two goats and 7 min. to feed 1 calf....I was hand milking 5 goats and bottle feeding the calf in 45min the summer we had him.

    I would never direct feed a calf on a goat....they are rough!
     
  17. billooo2

    billooo2 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am single. I have raised holstein and jersy bull calves. I would NEVER let them nurse directly from the doe.

    If you are only going to be milking 2 or 3 does, then it would take longer to use a milking machine (because of the cleaning required). The last time I raised calves, I used poly dome calf hutches. I would put the milk into bottles and drop the bottles in the holders. By the time I had given them their grain (calf starter) a handful and hay, and their water.....they would be done with the milk. I would just take the bottles back to be washed.

    I plan to raise more calves this summer. I plan to keep them in the hutch for about a week, and then move them to a small "paddock," and use a bucket with nipples.

    Nubians give the richest milk, but the least amount of milk. I have Alpines, and am very happy with them.

    Good luck!!
     
  18. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

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    These responses are awsome! My wife said "As a man you have no clue."
    She thought I was crazy to even consider direct calf/goat nursing. Poly dome
    calf hutches sounds like the way to go with cattle panels. How much would
    one of these domes cost and would a larger dome for several calves be
    healthier? Alpines or Saanens seem to be the breed of choice here. The
    goats will roam free within our perimeter fenced 95 acre farm. Will they return
    to the barn for their daily milkings? My cows are always waiting for me each
    morning like clock work for their grain suppliment. Thank again for all the
    advice. Paul
     
  19. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh My.....Will they come back for food? YES!!....and if they catch sight of you they will MOOOOOOOOOOOOO you for moooooooooorrrrrrrrreeee milk please!! Even if they just had a bottle. :rolleyes:

    Our guy did his milk dance....run up and down his 10 * 20 fenced stall and hop up and down!! It was cute :) Then he'd get his big Slurp-a-dilly-do tongue to wagglin'

    Our hutch was made from two (back and top) 4*8 pallets and two 4*4 pallets with chipboard on sides and roof. A little paint or Thompsons and thats it. We might have $10 in the whole thing.
     
  20. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with your wife! No, I would never let a calf nurse one of my does....even if they weren't show goats! A calf would break down those udder attachments fast, and the worse the udder is to start with, the faster it would go.

    The poly calf hutches run about $220 each around here.

    We've raised in groups and seperately -- the only thing you have to watch for in a group is that sometimes you get calfs that just want to suck on anything -- not so bad if it's just an ear or each other's face -- but they can literally rip the guts out of a newborn if they get going on a fresh umbilical cord :(

    Tracy