When it comes to bottle feeding baby goats, there are essential considerations to ensure their health and well-being. While it's optimal for kids to nurse from their mothers, circumstances may arise where bottle feeding becomes necessary. In this guide, we'll delve into the key aspects of bottle feeding, from colostrum intake to choosing the right formula and managing feeding schedules.
Ideally, allowing newborns to nurse colostrum from their mother for the first 24-48 hours is crucial. When this isn't possible, powdered or gel colostrum substitutes are available at farm co-op stores or online supply companies. Preparedness is key, so having these substitutes on hand before the arrival of the kids is advisable.
Choosing the Right Formula
Two main options exist for goat milk replacers: commercial powdered goat milk or a homemade version using cow's milk. For beginners, the convenience and cost-effectiveness of powdered milk replacers make them a preferred choice. Ensure the selected brand is labeled specifically for goats, as nutritional needs differ among species.
For those opting for a homemade solution, a recipe consisting of one gallon of whole homogenized milk, one can of evaporated milk, and one cup of buttermilk has been widely used and proven effective by experienced goat breeders.
While various bottle and nipple options exist, the key is to find a combination that allows the kid to nurse effectively. Pritchard Teat nipples and thicker lamb nipples are popular choices, often fitted onto 16oz or 20oz soda or water bottles. However, regular baby bottles from the dollar store have shown equal effectiveness.
Understanding how much and how often to feed is crucial for the health of bottle-fed kids. A weight-based feeding chart provides a basic guideline, with adjustments needed for kids less than one week old who require more frequent feedings. Regular weight monitoring during the first few weeks is essential to ensure proper growth.
Acting as the "parent" of a bottle-fed baby goat involves recognizing signs of hunger without overfeeding. Diarrhea can result from overfeeding, leading to dehydration. Following a feeding frequency chart, gradually spacing out feedings as the kid grows is vital for a healthy development.
The weaning process typically starts around 10 weeks, gradually reducing the amount of milk given daily. A shift to a diet of grass, hay, and grain becomes more prominent. Introducing a 16% protein goat feed with Deccox (Decoquinate) at four months aids in preventing coccidia in young kids.
- Avoid overfeeding to prevent diarrhea.
- Diarrhea is a symptom that should not be ignored; address it promptly.
- Use Pedialyte or Perk-A-Lyte instead of water in the next bottle if diarrhea occurs.
- Deworm kids at 4-5 weeks and treat for coccidia around 6-8 weeks with a repeat treatment after 14 days.
Bottle feeding baby goats demands attention to detail, from choosing the right formula to managing feeding schedules and weaning. This comprehensive guide serves as a valuable resource for both novice and experienced goat owners, ensuring the optimal care and development of bottle-fed kids. For more detailed information and resources on goat care, visit .