The most important thing when feeding bottle baby goats is to try and do what a natural goat mom would do. The first few days goat moms allow the babies to eat many times per day but if you watch them they only eat a small amount each time - giving bottle babies 2 or 3 huge bottles a day in the first weeks is harmful for the baby's digestive system ! You can easily over-feed a newborn or very young kid. A kid will suckle until it drops if you let it. It doesn't know how much is too much milk. You have to control milk amounts, just like dams do. Baby goats will always act hungry when they see you because you are acting as their mom. It’s very important to not give them too much milk at one feeding because over feeding causes diarrhea which can quickly lead to dehydration. As the acting “parent” of a baby goat it is your responsibility to stop feeding them before they get full. A bottle-fed baby that stops sucking from the bottle and isn’t interested anymore has been fed too much and the amount should be reduced by 1-2 ounces at the next feeding. A general rule of thumb is if a kid lets go of the nipple offer the bottle one more time. The second time they let go of the nipple do not continue to offer the bottle. A kid has to have enough time between feedings to digest the milk in its stomach or undigested milk will accumulate and kill the kid. Overeating on milk is a painful death. If loose stool continues this is typically caused by over feeding. As always, call your veterinarian if you are concerned. Colostrum (First Milk) *Baby Goats NEED colostrum for the antibodies they get from the goat moms. Colostrum is the first milk goat mom's produce. It is thick and full of antibodies. The Baby Goat can ONLY assimilate the properties of these antibodies for the first 24 hours of life. After the first 24 hours of their life, the colostrum is good for them but is only rich milk. The antibody properties while still in the colostrum can no longer be utilized by the baby goat's body. Ideally- The newborn baby goat needs to have it's first drink of colostrum within the first 20 minutes of life.After they receive colostrum (Mother's first milk) For the first 24 hours of life, bottle fed kids should be fed fresh (or frozen) goat's milk if at all possible. If you cannot get fresh goat's milk, you can use whole (not 2%) cows milk from the store.
DO NOT FEED POWDERED MILK REPLACERS/FORMULA! MILK REPLACERS KILL BABY GOATS!!!!!
Give them Real whole milk, is much better for them than milk replacer , which can cause diarrhea and floppy kid syndrome.
NEVER give water bottles to your baby goats!
Bottle nipples: I recommend ONLY the Pritchard nipples. They are vented and the most natural and easy for the babies to suckle. The Pritchard teat comes with NO HOLE in it.. the very tip must be cut off.. Careful not to cut too much or you will have a mess and ruin the nipple. The idea is to make baby have to suck but not so hard it gets tired trying to get any milk out. You don't want the baby to choke on a flow of milk that is too much. With the Pritchard teat you need a bottle with threads since it screws on to the bottle. Some flavored water bottles have threads.
The "natural" way a baby eats is head tilted up. Tilting the head up sends a signal to the rumino-reticular valve to close therefore allowing the milk to flow into the proper chamber of his stomach. Just a Guideline, adjust to your baby's size and appetite- a well fed baby's stomach should feel full but not tight.Stop feeding when it feels full. Fill your baby bottle with a measured amount of milk , allow baby to nurse until the stomach feels full and not tight- then RE-measure what is left in the bottle- Subtract what he ate and this is a good starting point, as the baby grows they will need more milk less often- trying to feed newborn baby goats 4 or 6 times a day. DON’T fill the belly up with 8 ounces of milk right from the get go or it will make him sick. When dealing with larger babies and babies over 2 weeks of age you can go by body weight. Figure 15% of the kid's weight in milk spread over a 24 hour period. A 10lb kid "could " get away with 4 feedings at 6 ounces each totaling 24 ounces which is about 15% of the body weight in milk
Guideline for Bottle Baby Pygmy and Nigerian Goats. Amounts: In OUNCES Follow below chart
For babies appearing weak, add 1 "pump" of Goat Nutri-Drench to the first bottle of the day. You can add 1/2 tablespoon of electrolytes to the milk for diarrhea.
Feeding Baby Goats Goat Grain or Pelleted Feed ( Remember that concentrated feeds such as sweet feed, COB, goat chow, or any pelleted concentrated feed is difficult for a baby goat to digest because the rumen is not functional until they are 10 weeks old, and will not be fully functional for the first 6 months of life. Adding too much sweet feed or concentrated feed such as pellets or goat chow can throw a baby goat into digestive upset. Follow the suggested commercial feed amounts carefully. You can moisten and soften a couple pellets with a little warm milk for babies under three months old.
***Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. The information on these pages is based on information gathered from long time goat breeders, veterinarians and our past experiences. This is not intended to replace professional veterinary and/or medical advice. We disclaim all liability in connection with the use of these products and/or information.
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