Need:

To ensure easily accessible ad lib feeding of pre-weaned goat kids. The ability to offer milk replacer that is at a consistent temperature and is freshly mixed. Multiple feeding points and all-time access means that there is less likelihood of aggression among the kids than if there was only one feeding point and/or if milk replacer were only offered at intervals during the day. It allows the kids to feed when they are motivated to do so. It also reduces labour costs and time for the feeding of the kids. This system also allows the satisfaction of goat kids’ motivation to suckle, so reducing cross-sucking and other sucking vices.

Aim:

To optimise the intakes of milk replacer by goat kids while group housed.

Description:

A milk replacer unit that mixes goat milk powder and water and warms it to a temperature that can be determined and regulated by the farmer. Eight pipes lead from this unit to eight teats that the goats can suckle from ad lib 24 hours a day.   

How to implement:

The goat kids are removed from their dams at around 6 days old (earlier removal can lead to scouring and higher mortality). From that time until the age of around two months the kids are kept in two age groups and offered milk replacer ad lib from the teats. They are also offered clean hay, concentrates and clean water. The kids may need some training to use the teats, but soon learn. The kids should also be observed to check that they are feeding, alongside regular observation for their well being.

Expected benefits:

Consistent quality of milk replacer offered and the means of access. Higher intakes of the kids, less scouring, less disease and mortality. Reduced aggression. Reduced labour costs and time.

Prerequisites and/or limits:

Availability of necessary space and suitability of housing to fit requirements. The kids may show preference for one teat, and queue up to use this preferred teat rather than suckling on the other teats. The device needs maintenance twice a week.

Cost / Benefit Analysis

Less scouring, less disease and mortality among kids and therefore better welfare.

Country:

Estonia

Production system (Dairy or/and meat sheep/goat):

Dairy goat

Category of Animal (ewe, goat, replacement, lamb, kid):

Pre-weaned goat kids

Source of information:

 

Attachment/links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve5gvDqdbuo

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