Welcoming newborn goats to your farm comes with the important decision of whether to opt for dam-raising or choose the bottle-feeding route. This pivotal choice can be influenced by factors such as promoting friendliness, managing the dam’s udder, or addressing specific health concerns. In this guide, we delve into key aspects of bottle-feeding baby goats, answering crucial questions and providing invaluable insights.
Choosing the Right Milk
When bottle-feeding baby goats, the initial and vital milk they must receive is colostrum. Ideally, this should come from the dam, but alternatives include colostrum from another doe that kidded simultaneously, frozen colostrum from a previous kidding, or kid colostrum replacer. It is imperative to ensure the replacer is specifically designed for kids, not calves or lambs. Colostrum is irreplaceable in the first 24-48 hours for the survival of newborn kids.
After this critical period, the transition to milk occurs. Fresh goat milk is the ideal choice, with some owners opting for immediate raw feeding, while others choose to heat-treat the milk to eliminate potential diseases. Whole cow milk from the grocery store can be a suitable alternative if fresh goat milk is unavailable.
Initiating Bottle Feeding
Getting a baby goat to take a bottle is a straightforward process when the newborn exhibits a strong sucking reflex. Utilizing smaller nipples designed for newborns, such as the "Pritchard" nipples, facilitates easier sucking. It is essential to snip the tip of the nipple to allow milk flow. Gently holding the bottle at an angle, opening the baby’s mouth, and placing the nipple inside typically initiates the feeding process.
For weaker kids, a medicine dropper or tube-feeding might be necessary initially. Stimulating the sucking response with supplements like "Nutri-Drench," Caro syrup, or coffee on their gums can provide an energy boost.
Determining Feeding Amounts
The quantity of milk to feed baby goats depends on their breed size and age. As a general guideline, aim for three to four ounces per five pounds of weight per feeding. In the initial days, feedings may occur every three to four hours, gradually reducing to four feedings a day. Adjust the schedule based on your own constraints, but the provided charts offer a solid starting point.
Bottle-Feeding Schedule for Nubian Goats (or other full-sized breeds):
- Age 0-2 Days: 3-6 ounces, Every 3-4 hours
- 3 Days to 3 Weeks: 6-10 ounces, Four times a day
- 3 to 6 Weeks: 12-16 ounces, Three times a day
- 6 to 10 weeks: 16 ounces, Twice a day
- 10 to 12 weeks: 16 ounces, Once a day
Bottle-Feeding Schedule for Pygmy Goats (or other miniature breeds):
- Age 0-2 Days: 2-4 ounces, Every 3-4 hours
- 3 Days to 3 Weeks: 6-8 ounces, Four times a day
- 3 to 8 Weeks: 12 ounces, Twice a day
- 8-12 weeks: 12 ounces, Once a day
Duration of Bottle Feeding
As a general rule, consider bottle-feeding doelings for at least three months and bucklings or wethers for at least two months. Extending the duration can be considered if surplus milk is available. By the two to three-month mark, as they begin to consume grass, hay, and grain, their reliance on milk diminishes significantly.
Bottle-feeding baby goats demands commitment, but it also serves as an enjoyable opportunity to build bonds and foster friendliness with your newborns.
In conclusion, the decision to bottle-feed baby goats involves careful considerations such as milk choices, feeding initiation, quantities, and duration. By following this comprehensive guide, you ensure a robust start for your young goats, fostering their health, and establishing a positive connection between them and their caregiver. For further details and insights, refer to reputable sources like and .