When we got our first baby goats last summer, I had no idea how often to bottle feed a kid. There was nothing in books. Nothing on internet searches. I ended up texting my friend, Jill, every week to see what the new ration should be.
This year was no different, I couldn’t remember how much to give each age and with Amy and Rob’s goats here we had three babies on three schedules. We had their bottle feeding schedule written on the blackboard door. Instead of a burden, it was truly an act of love and instant happiness bottle feeding the babies.
The babies are finally weaned and the bottles go up for another year. I thought it might be helpful for other new parents of goats to have a feeding schedule. Also, when I forget, I can revert back to this post and see myself how much each monster gets!
I had to call Jill one more time to find out about colostrum. She has always given me the babies post-colostrum feedings. She filled me in and we will be ready next year when Isabelle and the new babies start giving birth.
Day 1-2 Colostrum. Colostrum is the milk that all mommies produce the first few days. It is not like the milk we think of, but rather filled with immunities and nutrients to get the little babies off to a good start. Milk the mom immediately after she gives birth if it wasn’t too difficult of a birth. Have some colostrum in the freezer (you can purchase it from another goat farmer if needed) to have on hand just in case.
4 oz.. of colostrum should be heated up and given to the new baby every 2 hours around the clock. If they want more, they can have more at the feeding. This is the most important of all their feedings and they need as much as they will take.
Now starts our weeks. (Note: In editing this six years later, I would actually make each week 8 days to give the goats a full six weeks plus of feedings!)
Week 1- Post-colostrum. 6 oz. of milk every 4 hours. Feed late in the evening and then early in the morning. No more midnight feedings! (Five times a day)
Week 2- 8 oz. of milk every 6 hours. (Four times a day)
Week 3- 10 oz. of milk every 8 hours. (Three times a day)
Week 4- 10 oz. of milk twice a day.
Week 5- 10 oz. of milk once a day (this is when they start to get really nervous.)
Week 6- Weaned. Treat if you feel really bad but they don’t need any more bottles now. They should have noticed the other goats eating and be eating hay by now. A touch of sweet feed as a treat starting at 3 weeks helps entice them to eat solid foods.
Sadly put bottle up and wait until next year!
5 Comments Add yours
This is interesting! We started bottle feeding/trough feeding milk till they are 4 months this year.
Oh, our kids would love that! Let me know how that affects their health.
I definitely will. We’ve always done 6 wks but the last two dairy farms we went to kept them bottle fed/trough fed till 4 months. I was shocked, but we decided to try it this year.
This is great, I’m currently bottle feeding a set of quads whose mother didn’t survive the birth ( 😦 )
They are 5 days old now and eating very well on raw milk I was able to find for $2 a gallon. I really wasn’t sure I was giving them enough or not, Mother was full Saanen, daddy is half Saanen and half Nigi Dwarf, so out of the quads I got 3 big boys with straight noses and somehow a rather little girl who looks ND with a dished nose! She doesn’t eat as much, but doesn’t seem to need as much. Thanks for this schedule, I wasn’t sure when the right time to wean mine would be, and even if I go a little longer its clear now about them experimenting with the hay and maybe some feed pellets. I’m going to start keeping it in their pen so they have access to it to try, knowing they won’t really be eating it just yet. They currently live in a “kid” coral, separated from our other goats since they have no mamma to protect them… but they will have to learn the society soon anyway. Thanks again!!
We lost one in childbirth as well. Such a sad day. Bottle babies are a sure cure for the blues though!