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Raising baby goats is probably one of my favorite things about living on our farm. They are adorable, and I could sit and watch them hop and jump around all day. If you are new to goats though, you may find that a lot of breeders sell their goat kids as bottle babies. Or, if you are lucky enough to have a doe kid on your farm, sometimes things do not go as planned. The mother may reject or the kid, or become unable to nurse them. If this happens you may find yourself with a bottle baby unexpectedly. If you have never raised bottle baby goats though, it can seem a little overwhelming. There are so many things I wish I knew before I got my first bottle babies though. Even though I have raised many of them, I still find myself learning new things. So, here are a few of the basic things to know before you get bottle baby goats.
What to Feed
When it comes to feeding bottle baby goats, fresh goat milk will always be the best choice. But, you may find yourself without access to goat milk. If this becomes the situation the best thing to feed your bottle baby is plain old whole milk from the grocery store. There are tons of formula recipes online for baby goats, but if you were to ask an experienced goat owner, they will tell you whole milk is perfectly fine.
They do sell powdered milk replacer at most farm supply stores, but in my opinion, I would stay away. I have heard horror stories of those replacers causing all kinds of different issues, plus they are expensive. Just stick with goat milk or whole cow’s milk.
How to Feed
If you keep a surplus of goat milk in the fridge or are supplementing with whole cow’s milk, there is one important thing you need to do. HEAT THE MILK! Never give cold milk to a bottle baby, you are just asking for a lot of issues if you do. You also never want to heat the milk up in the microwave, it kills all the good stuff in the milk that those bottle babies need.
When you heat up your milk, it is always best to heat it up on the stove. I like to keep a rack on the bottle of the pot to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom. When you heat it up, the ideal temperature for a goat bottle is around 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choosing a bottle it is really a matter of preference. When I got the 3 bottle babies we have right now, they were already on a regular bottle baby. I do prefer a goat and sheep bottle though, it is just less messy and I find that the kids waste less when using them.
When to Feed
When it comes to how often and when to feed bottle baby goats varies. Larger breeds of goats may need more milk or feedings more often, but the chart below is a good point of reference.
When feeding your bottle babies, underfeeding is always better than overfeeding. We also prefer to bottle feed our goats for 4-5 months since it helps them grow better and they tend to be more healthy when bottle-fed for longer periods.
These are just the basics for feeding your new bottle baby goat, there is still sooo much more to know before you get your baby. Be sure to check back soon for more bottle baby goat info! Check out our YouTube Channel for more goat care info! Also, be sure to check out the DIY section to learn how to make your own goat milk soap!
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