Whether they sproing around on four hooves, or learn to walk upright on two feet, we can all agree that kids are a lot of work. Farmer John makes it look easy, but the TLC he gives his herd of goats is unmatched. Sometimes, love means going the extra mile, so at Beekman Farm we choose to bottle feed our baby goats instead of letting the dams (mothers) feed their own kids. Sure, this requires a lot more work (round the clock baby goat bottle feedings, anyone?) but we believe bottle feeding is what’s best for the kids, the dams, and the health of Beekman farm. Why? Well, we’ve goat our reasons…

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1. Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis

The health of our kids and dams is our first and foremost priority. Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis is a viral disease of goats that can often go undetected before it’s too late. CAE leads to arthritis, pneumonia, weight loss, and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain tissues.)  CAE is passed on to the kids through the infected mother’s milk. While we’re proud to say our herd has tested CAE free for years, we continue to pasteurize the milk fed to the kids and bottle-raise each new herd every year. 

2. Wean on Me

As if the arrival of dozens upon dozens of new baby goats under one barn roof isn’t stressful enough, fast forward to when it’s time to wean. Yikes. Weaning can be an incredibly stressful time for both mom and kid. But, by bottle feeding the kids from birth, Farmer John has all the control and can begin the weaning process when the time’s right by reducing the number of milk bottles fed to the kids. Sure, they might be hangry when they don’t get their bottle, but they’ll be far less confused and stressed because they’ll still be in the familiar company of the herd.

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3. Stress Free Zone

Goats are instinctively skittish and wary of humans. Anyone who’s been around wild goats know that it’s impossible to pet them. And since our goats eventually will be milked twice a day, it would be inhumane not to have them be comfortable around humans. Because Farmer John bottle feeds them from birth, our kids imprint on him and think of him as their caregiver. Thus when they’re fully grown, and ready to be milked, they actually look forward to the time they get to spend with Farmer John during milking time. Thanks for getting them used to the human race, Farmer John!

4. Udderly Smooth

Any mother who’s breast fed their child knows what havoc those little teeth and constant nibbles can wreak. It’s important for our dams to have healthy udders, because healthy udders mean healthy milk. (Plus, the milking machine is just waaaaayyyy more comfortable than teeth.) 

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5. The Friendliest Kids

Many of you have toured the farm and witnessed first-hand the antics of our goats. Most of you have probably even gone away with goat nose prints on your cameras. Bottle-fed goats are more outgoing and less fearful because they’re used to seeking their needs from humans from day one. In fact, they kinda have us wrapped around their little fingers. (We mean hooves.)

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6. Health is the Greatest Wealth

We started this list with our herd’s health, and we’ll end it with our herd’s health….because that really is our #1 priority. By bottle feeding, we’re able to keep a much closer eye on our kids during the crucial first few weeks of life, allowing us to monitor sickness, activity, mood, and other physical or behavioral concerns. Furthermore, not all dams produce enough milk to feed all their kids, which can sadly lead to starvation. In fact some dams refuse to allow their kids to feed, for reasons no one fully understands. But by sharing the milk wealth across all the kids, no kid ever walks away hungry at Beekman 1802 Farm.

by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

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Heidi Meka

Awe! Thanks! We love everything about YOU! Thanks for being a great Neighbor!

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Alison Wulff

Hello I’m new to your site. I am very interested in dairy goats and this year I was thinking that I’m ready to have a few of my own. Do you sell your babies? If so please let me know if you have a doeling.

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Colleen Burke

My dad was born and raised on a dairy farm, Jersey cows in Teaneck, NJ. At one point their herd was about 900. He used to tell my sister and I bedtime stories about being on the farm with the barn cat and his St. Bernard, SunnyGail. I remember him telling us they had just cows because of the challenges and health concerns with goats was more then they had time for. Cheers to you all for the love and care these oh so lucky Beekman goats get.

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Betty Stone

Thanks for your info on feeding the babies. I wish I lived closer would love to see the farm and the babies. And all of you guys of course!

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Louise Duhaime

Thanks for sharing the pictures, it warms my heart. Does farmer John entertain the possibility for volunteer help? Would like to come up on a weekend to help with goat chores. I have a little goat raising experience, with adults and hand milking, cleaning bedding and watering. You must get a little weary during the busy times. I live in Northwest NJ about 3 hours south and would make for arrangements to stay over the weekend close by..

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kay myers

We always bottle fed our babies, even if it meant getting up (4: am) and hand milking before we went to work. They would come to us to get their bottle. One year we kept them on their mothers and they were as wild as March hares. Lesson learned. And then when they were finished with their bottles, they would give you kisses.

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Barbara McGuire

Kids who are snuggled, held close and loved, from the beginning always have a fruitful life no matter where their life leads them.

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Susan Jacobsen

Bottle-feeding goat kids helps prevent their becoming sick from inherited disease, and ensures that each baby receives the amount and quality of food it needs.

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Jane McKenna

My 5 year old twins insist that the baby goats are bottle fed so they get enough food and are nicer when people get near them 😉

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Susan Adams

I gave my granddaughter The Goats of Anarchy as a gift. The book is so inspiring and today I got your email about the Beekman goats. Is there a way for me to arrange to take my grandkids to see the goats sometime this spring?

I am turning 70 and my daughter will be 40 this year, as well. My husband passed away and I think this is an appropriate way to celebrate lives that must go on even in pain. I just loved the photos of the goats being bottle fed.

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Dianne

I love Everything Beekman. I have been following your adventures even before the Amazing Race when Josh still worked in the city. I love you both. I have always wondered how goat soap gets that beautiful scent. I hope to visit the farm someday. Happy Trails to you!!

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Lauretta

God bless you for the great care and love you give these little babies! God entrusted us to be the stewards of the earth, and taking care of these is part of that stewardship.

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debra kunz

I enjoyed the email story about the whys and hows on the baby goats,it almost seems you might be trying to defend yourselfs with this information ,well let me tell you don’t let the haters or the judgemental people out there get to you, with all there stupid questions on how you raise your goats ive never been to your farm our have met you guys but I know you do a fantastic job .well done guys thanks for being you. Deb Kunz

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Joan

Oooooo, if I lived closer, I would definitely be over to help farmer John feed those baby goats. I love your babies (and mama’s and daddy’s too)

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Donna Hobbs Conner

I have raised dairy goats since early seventies and you are spot on in your reasoning. Your babies are beautiful btw

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Cynthia Begg

It is the highest quality of care for both the kids and the dams! I LOVE GOATS!

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Jim Morey

Dude! It’s clearly for Udder Health….who wants a mangy ol’ udder!? Not this guy!

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Lorissa Camarda

It’s less stressful to kids and mom to bottle feed the kids. It allows John to wean the kids at the right time.

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