Friday 4 April 2014

Kid rearing the African way

Night time creche for kids
You have two choices when it comes to kid rearing. If your aim is to maximise milk production the kids will be removed from their Mothers after two days and reared on a bottle until they are eating enough hay and concentrates to be weaned. Its expensive, time consuming ( 6 feeds a day at regular intervals to start with) and labour intensive. We have adopted the African method, well the African method for cows.

African peasant farmers are interested in yield security, they will sacrifice high yields for low cost and regular, secure output of animals or crops. They rear calves by letting
Just born and not quite ready for the creche
them suckle but they also milk the cows, when Crofters had milk cows they did this too.  Its cheaper, easier and more humane.

Once the kids are about two weeks old; at about eight in the evening I remove the kids from their mothers and put them in a pen by themselves so that they don't suckle. They have water, hay and creep feed. Next morning the Mums are milked but not milked out completely, then they are reunited.

Its important that the kids start eating solid food as soon as possible as this speeds up development of rumination and once the rumen is working they can be weaned." Weaning" according to Dormouse is another agricultural weasel word or euphemism she sees it as, "tearing the little critters from their Mother's breasts".

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