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Goat Milk “Better Than Milk Replacer”
If you have good dairy goats, you don’t need to buy milk replacer for bottle lambs and calves, says Kiersten Sombke of Conde, S. Dak. Her milk replacer comes fresh from the goats she’s milking, or out of the freezer jugs.
  When she and her husband, Clint, purchased dairy goats for their sons to show at 4-H 15 years ago, they soon realized that they produced a lot more milk than needed for offspring. The Sombkes started feeding the extra goat milk to their bottle lambs and beef calves.
  “The animals we fed it to just flourished, and it was a huge savings,” Sombke says.
  In addition to the milk, she emphasizes the value of the goat’s colostrum to feed to newborns that don’t get it from their mothers.
  “Dairy goats have 1 to 2 gal. of colostrum, and I can get 20 bags (to freeze) from each. I can grab a couple of bags out of the freezer, throw them in hot water and I have two feedings for lambs,” she says, noting she uses larger amounts of colostrum for baby calves.
  The Sombkes breed 4 to 5 of their 27 Nubian and Nigerian dwarf goats at a time to get a steady supply of milk to fill two freezers as well as have fresh milk on hand during calving and lambing.
Sombke is particular about cleanliness – clean buckets kept in the house, thoroughly washed udders, and keeping the milk in ice water or straining and freezing it immediately.
  Cleaned plastic antifreeze containers filled about three-fourth’s full work well for freezing milk.
  “I let them thaw out, and goat’s milk is naturally homogenized so it doesn’t separate fats and cream and it stays smooth,” Sombke says.
  Though their youngest son is in his last year of 4-H, the family plans to continue raising and showing goats.
  “The babies (livestock) that are fed goat’s milk look like they have been fed by their mom,” she says. The 10 to 20 kids, lambs and calves the Sombkes bottle-feed for about 8 weeks each year don’t have the potbelly-look common with bottle-fed animals, Sombke says.
  Do your homework about breeds and breeders, she suggests, before purchasing dairy goats.
  “The convenience of having milk outweighs the work of having goats,” Sombke says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Clint and Kiersten Sombke, 14249 406th Ave., Conde, S. Dak. 57434 (ph 605 395-7438; kiersten.sombke@k12.sd.us).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #5