Milk goats and beef calf

(New York)

I have question about raising beef cattle on goats' milk. I plan on getting dairy goats and a calf to house over the winter (will be indoors almost all winter as we live in the northeast). I would like to keep feed costs down by feeding the calf goats milk well past the age I see for weaning (10-12 weeks). Because goats are herd animals I will be getting 2 and I can't see how I would ever use that much milk. I see the extra milk as calf food. Is there a problem with this idea?

[MEG: While real cow's milk would have to be the best option, goats milk is equally nutritious plus easy to digest, and would be far superior to a commercial powdered milk substitute.[

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Mar 02, 2011
indoor living not good for cattle
by: R.Stone

Raising the calf on goats milk is a terrific idea. Goats milk works better to raise calves and people than cows milk works to raise goats and people.
I am somewhat concerned when you say you are keeping the calf inside because of the weather. I strongly suggest that the calf be allowed outdoors every day to run around in the sunshine. There are more calves lost to pneumonia than anything else when kept confined all the time. It is very hard to keep a building properly ventilated- we think it is too cold, forgetting that the animal has a warm fur coat. If you are concerned abut the cold, make your calf a coat and ear muffs and let it out for some exercise!

Jul 18, 2010
feeding calf on goat's milk
by: Anonymous

Use the goat's milk straight, don't dilute it. You can feed milk to a steer all his life. It makes them get larger than they might if not given milk past 12 weeks old. It also makes the meat more tender, similar to veal. A calf will need at least 3 quarts of milk 2 or 3 times a day until he's a month old, and a gallon twice a day after that, more if you feed solely milk. Offer hay or grass after the first week, but don't expect him to eat much of it until he's 6 to 8 weeks old. If you have to, you can wean him at 6 weeks. Two milking does would have to be excellent milkers to feed a calf. Four or five would be better.

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