Bottle Feeding Kids
Updated on 11/30/13, Originally posted on 2/4/12
Weekly Bible Verse: Genesis 1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind;” and it was so.
God is the Creator of all animals!
Bottle feeding a goat can be one of the most fun things to do but also it’s a lot of work. When bottle feeding, it is always best to use the milk from the kid’s mother. Milk replacers just don’t have the nutrition in them like mom’s milk but they can be used if the kid’s mom has died. When bottle feeding newborn kids, it is of the utmost importance that the kid(s) get the colostrum milk from mom within the first hour after birth. The colostrum has antibodies and will strengthen the baby goat’s immune system. The kid’s body will be most responsive to the colostrum in the first 24 hours. An important note on milk for kids is to NEVER give them cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is very hard on a kid’s stomach and can even kill them! If you don’t have the kid’s mom to milk you may consider surcharging for a breeder that has fresh raw goat’s milk before buying a milk replacer.
What is beneficial about bottle feeding a kid? Bottle feeding a kid will bond them closer to humans. If the doe of the kid(s) is fearful of humans they will teach the kid(s) by example to avoid humans. Even if the kid’s mom is friendly toward, kids are still naturally fearful of humans to some extent. Bottle fed kids make excellent pets because they become very friendly with humans (they see people as part of their herd). Here is an example of a feeding chart for how often to bottle feed a kid.
Birth to 2 week = 4-5 times a day
2 weeks to 5 weeks = 3 times a day
5 weeks to 7 weeks = 2 times a day
7 weeks to 9 weeks = 1 time a day
You can wean a kid as soon as 6 weeks or as late as 12 weeks. We like to wean our kids at around 7-8 weeks. Kids will start to nibble on hay around 2 weeks old and will start eating it around 3 weeks old, that is if they see another goat eating hay (otherwise it can take longer before they start eating hay). Remember to add more hay as the kids get older and less milk. Also use cation not to give a kid too much milk as most kids will not stop themselves, they will guzzle it down until you stop them.