Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
Onion Creek Ranch "Chevon, cabrito, goat... No matter what you call it, it is the HEALTHY red meat™
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COLOSTRUM AND GOAT MILK --
STORING FOR EMERGENCY USE

An important part of preparing for kidding is to have real colostrum and real goat milk on hand for emergencies. The doe who gives birth but has no milk, the dam who develops mastitis, the mother who dies and leaves orphans, the sick mom who can't nurse her kids, the dam whose teat orifice is too small for good milk flow, the doe who is unable to raise three or more kids . . . each of these situations is easier to handle if the producer has previously collected and frozen colostrum and goat milk for emergency use.

There are commercial substitutes for both colostrum and goat milk. However, real colostrum and goat milk contain antibodies specific to the producer's location that are critical to newborns' continuing health. Goat kids are not born with independently-functioning immune systems but rather operate off their dams' immunities for the first several months of life. If the producer must use commercial substitutes, avoid soy-based products.

Obtain a new or used chest or upright freezer and designate it as colostrum and goat milk storage. Collect empty 16 - 20 ounce plastic soda-water bottles with screw-on caps. Remove the labels, clean and dry them thoroughly, and store them for future use. Obtain stick-on labels for identification of the contents. Buy a funnel that fits the top of the bottles. Have on hand a stove-top pot with an elevated rack placed inside, a hot plate or stove, a counter, and running water. Save wide-mouthed jars into which to milk colostrum and goat milk. Buy screw-on Prichard teats that fit the plastic bottles. Automatic-defrost freezers speed up degradation of frozen colostrum and goat milk because they take moisture out of the air and therefore out of the frozen product. Plastic bottles protect frozen contents better than zip-lock bags or ice-cube trays.

When a doe has more colostrum or goat milk than her kids require, clean her teats with an alcohol prep pad and milk into a wide-mouthed jar. Write the following on the stick-on label and apply it to the plastic bottle before you funnel the contents inside: "First-Day Colostrum," "Second-Day Colostrum," or "Goat Milk," the date collected, and the dam's name and eartag number. Fill the plastic bottle half full, allowing for expansion when frozen, and screw the cap onto the bottle. Store the filled bottle upright in the freezer. A larger bottle can be used to freeze goat milk, but colostrum needs to be stored in one-feeding quantities. Once thawed, it is of questionable value re-frozen. This writer has successfully used both colostrum and goat milk that has been frozen for more than two years. Use oldest dated bottles first.

Thawing colostrum is a delicate task. Seldom does the producer have time to refrigerator or counter thaw. Place the raised rack in the bottom of the stove-top pot and fill it with water; loosen the screw-on cap and submerge all but the top of the frozen bottle of colostrum. Begin to thaw over medium heat, reducing heat to low temperature as thawing proceeds. Shake and turn the bottle frequently to prevent scorching or clotting. Colostrum should not be thawed or warmed in a microwave; it turns gummy.

Goat milk can be thawed in a microwave, using several-second bursts of energy and can also be heated in a microwave without destroying its immunological and nutritional values. However, do not over-heat milk. Test the heat of the colostrum or milk on the inside of your bare wrist before feeding it to kids. Do not try to re-use plastic bottles in which colostrum or goat milk has been frozen. Colostrum especially leaves residue in the bottom of the bottle that can attract bacteria. Keeping a frozen supply of colostrum and goat milk that is specific to your ranch for use with stressed newborns is a sound management practice.

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Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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