Bottle Feeding Goat Kids
Bottle feeding kids is not recommended unless it is necessary for the kid to survive, such as if the mother dies shortly after giving birth or becomes too ill to care for the kid, or if the mother refuses to accept the kids. Bottle feeding requires a lot of time and a total commitment to the kid. It is best to feed the kid at the same time of day during each feeding. Feeding often, will produce much better results and a much healthier kid. It is best to use a milk replacer such as Land-O-Lakes, Ultra 24, or real goats milk. DO NOT USE SAV-A-KID! Goat kids will die on the Sav-A-Kid product. Goat kids have different needs than other animals. Lamb milk replacer is too high in fat and calf milk replacer is too low in protein for goat kids. If you are using a powdered milk replacer, make sure that each time before you fill the bottle with milk, you stir the mixture very well. Some powdered milk replacers will have sediment settle in the bottom of the container. This means that the mixture is not correct and will often cause diarrhea in young kids.
If milk replacer is not available, you can make your own by mixing: 1 gallon of whole milk, 1 can evaporated milk, and 1 cup of buttermilk (Take the gallon of milk, pour out about 1/3 and set aside.) Pour into the gallon container 1 can evaporated milk and 1 cup buttermilk. Then pour the rest of the milk that you set aside in to the gallon container until full. Shake and serve warm. Using this recipe, you can raise a healthy kid without ever switching to powdered milk replacer. Or, this works great if the local feed store is closed and you dont have any milk replacer on hand. Make sure that bottles and nipples are thoroughly cleaned before each use. If you have kids that you are supplementing with a bottle because the doe is not producing enough milk, only feed them what they will readily eat. The amounts will vary each time you offer them a bottle depending on how much milk the doe is producing. Refer to the charts below for feeding amounts.
Boer Goat Kid Feeding Chart
Pygmy Goat Kid Feeding Chart
***Please keep in mind, the above charts are for reference only. Different size and gender kids will eat different amounts. Depending on the size and growth potential of the kid you are feeding you may need to adjust the above amounts accordingly. If diarrhea occurs as a result of over feeding, decrease the amount of milk you are feeding until diarrhea has stopped.
***Colostrum is mothers first milk. Colostrum needs to be fed the first 2 days after birth because it contains antibodies, sugars, fats, and vitamins essential to insure that kids get off to a healthy start. You can buy powdered colostrum or if you have a doe that is a heavy milker, put some in a container and freeze it for future use. If the doe has died shortly after giving birth, milk the colostrum from her to use for the orphan kids.
Sometimes it is difficult to get kids started on a bottle. The younger the kid, the easier it is to get them started on a bottle. Kids are ready to eat when you put your finger in their mouth and they begin to suck it. Cover their eyes with your one hand and put the nipple in their mouth with your other hand. Covering their eyes simulates the natural darkness that they experience while standing under their mother and often times when the eyes are covered, they readily accept the bottle. After they have been on a bottle for a few days, they will accept it without having to cover their eyes.
Kids will cry when they are hungry and stop sucking when they are full, don't force them to eat. Between day 21 and weaning age, kids will seem to want more milk than you are feeding them. Do not feed them more milk during this time. Your goal at this time is to leave the kid feeling somewhat hungry so they will begin to eat hay, grass, and grain. The goal you are working towards is gradually weaning them so they will be solely dependent on hay, grass, grain, and water, filling them up on milk will hinder this process. Weaning age is between 8 and 10 weeks of age. It is best to wean kids gradually. For example, instead of feeding 3 times a day go to 2 times a day, then 1 time a day, until they are weaned from the bottle. You can also fill the bottle with water while you are weaning them and then stop the bottle all together.
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