Bonding goats dam raised and bottle babies
Ok I have a question about trying to bond with your pack goats. Bottle babies are the way to go IMHO, but  I have not seen or heard of people bottle feeding a dam raised goat. Is it not possible to do both let baby feed off mom and bottle feed once or twice a day.
Seems like that would be the best of both worlds. Has anyone done both and been successful?
I tried a hybrid bottle/dam approach early on and it was a dismal failure. I never attempted it again. It just made the kids angry because they weren't hungry enough to want to take a bottle, and me shoving it in their face and mouth just made them upset. I once bought a couple of two-week-old bottle kids and I was able to feed them bottles or put them on a willing dam until they got to the point that they preferred the dam (they nearly always prefer a real teat to a rubber one). In the end it didn't make any difference. My dam-raised kids are so bonded and attached to humans that you can't tell they weren't bottle raised except that instead of begging for food, they beg to be petted and held.
I've had both bottle raised and dam raised. My experience was exactly like Nanno. My kids just preferred their momma over a rubber nipple. I now only have dam raised babies. They are everybit as attached and bonded to me as my previous bottle babies. What I think is most important is spending a lot of with both the mom and babies taking them on walks, letting them out while I milk and just let them explore while you do chores.

My dam raised goats have everybit of a desire to follow me through the extremely rugged backcountry conditions I demand. They have all the heart and desire as my bottle raised boys. 

Bottle raised packgoats might have a slight edge over dam raised babies but from my experience its just too much work to bottle feed. Especially since I see no significant difference in their outcomes. I believe bucket bottle feeding is not the same as bottle feeding by hand.

Now if I didn't work and could bottle feed I would, but have had poor luck trying a hybrid method
I am just getting to the tail end of my first ever breeding season so I'm no authority on this topic but from my limited experience, a hybrid method is great in theory but the individual kids will determine if it will succeed or not. I have 9 kids. I have not tried to force a bottle on all of them but the 6 that I have at least offered a bottle to have been 50/50 on whether or not they are willing to take a bottle while mom is still in the equation.

All three are boys coincidentally (I have 6 boys and 3 girls). The first one to take a bottle refused a little bit at first but then decided it wasn't so bad and would take it after just a day or two. His brother (from a set of triplets) figured things out about 5 days later after I "plugged him in" for a few days. If I just opened his mouth and stuck the bottle in he would drink it but he wouldn't just latch on on his own for the first several days. Now he does. The last boy is one of my youngest and all I did was stick a bottle in his face and he latched on without any effort from me at all and he does so every time I offer a bottle. His twin won't take a bottle and fights me.

One thing I "think" is that dam raised kids are just bigger and healthier than straight bottle raised kids. I've had bottle babies in the past and these kids birthed her and left on their moms are huge compared to my bottle babies. I have a really big not quite 15 month old buck (33" and 187 lbs) that was bottle raised. I checked my records and he was 37 lbs at about 7 weeks old. His kids (and the kids from my other buck) have all blown past 37 pounds by 5 weeks old while being left on their moms. That includes bucklings and doelings. The dam raised kids are still very bonded to me, jump all over me and come to me for attention. I don't think anyone could tell the difference in my bottle babies from the past and my dam raised kids when they were all the same age.
(05-27-2022, 03:15 PM)CMGifford Wrote: One thing I "think" is that dam raised kids are just bigger and healthier than straight bottle raised kids. 

^ THIS! When it comes right down to it, humans just can't replicate a good natural feeding regimen. Moms feed their kids many times/day in small meals while we have to consolidate them into larger meals fewer times/day. We can't safely feed kids as much milk in 24 hours as a goat mom can. Dam-raised kids also start eating solid foods much earlier than bottle babies. Plus there's the social aspect that we just can't replicate. Kids love to snuggle up to each other, but they also love to snuggle up to their moms, and I can't help but believe that this "parent" factor and the safety, warmth, and security that comes with it contributes to a healthier, less stressed mental state. Less stress=healthier, more robust kids. Not only are they bigger, they're more resistant to things like coccidia, parasites, and digestive issues (which are common in bottle kids but rare in dam-raised). When I go to goat shows, I regularly get extra checks on my kids' date of birth because they are always substantially (and sometimes I mean substantially!) bigger than the others in their age division. Dairy kids are almost universally bottle raised. My junior kids are easily as large as intermediate kids, and sometimes as big as the senior kids!

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