How to Raise Bottle Fed Baby Goats!

Bottle feeding baby goats is one of my favorite things to do! I have been doing this since I was a teenager and the very first animal I bottle fed was a bummer lamb. My friend’s sheep had triplets and ended up rejecting one of the babies. She then asked me if i would come over and bottle feed the baby. I had never bottle fed before, but i was up for the challenge. I ended up taking her while I was bottle feeding and she slept with me at night and was always with me. Once she was old enough, she went back to my friend’s house because we didn’t have any animals or anywhere for her to be at that time.

After learning to bottle feed and this wonderful experience i knew i wanted animals. I knew i wanted animals that I would be able to bottle feed as well. A year later we got out first bottle baby goat and the rest is history! Today I want to share with you about how to bottle feed goats! This isn’t for everyone because it is very time consuming, but it brings me so much joy to share it with you!

As a beginner the easiest way to start is by purchasing a goat from someone who already bottle feeds them. This way the person is experienced and is able to help you and they tend to start them on the bottle right away. Since it’s not natural for the baby to want to suck on the bottle having this option is amazing. If you don’t have this option, you want to find someone who does that you can chat with.

We also always feed our baby goats, goat milk! You can usually find this at a local health food store or someone who milks their goats. A lot of people usually use a milk replacer that you can buy at your local farm store. We choose not to do this because the babies aren’t getting all the nutrients they need. They tend to get the runs as well.

Another must is using a Pritchard nipple. This nipple is close to the mothers Teet in shape and the goats tend to suck on them better. It is super easy for them to latch and suck on. We just put this on a soda bottle or water bottle.

I always start with a small amount of milk, but you can look up the exact amount they need. I tend to feed them every three hours during the day and at night go a little longer. As they get older you will start to go longer between feedings until they are off the bottle. I am able to be flexible so i can feed them at all the different hours. I feel it is just easier on their tummies to do smaller amount of milk more often. It feels more natural for them and if you are able to, I encourage this!

It’s important to heat the goat’s milk up to a room temperature to slightly warm temp. Since mamas’ milk would be warm baby goats eat so much better when you feed them warmed milk to start with. This is very simple but just takes a few extra minutes. All I do to heat their milk is put a large mug with water halfway filled in it and warm it up for about two minutes. Then I set the bottle with milk in it in the water for a few minutes.

Watch that it doesn’t get too hot and always test it by pouring a little on your wrist. If it does get too hot just add a little cold milk to it and shake a bit to cook it down. Baby goat will appreciate the warm milk so much and will definitely be a better drinker for you!

It’s important to start introducing hay between two and three weeks of age for your baby goat. Some of them don’t take to it right away but over time they’ll start nibbling at it and eventually it will become their main source of food. Around four weeks introduce grain a few times a day because this another important part of their diet.

I don’t worry too much if they don’t eat it at first, they will when they’re ready. I feed goats milk at minimum until 8 weeks and then I work in weaning, but this is a different kind of process then with other animals who haven’t been on a bottle because likely your baby goat won’t know how to drink water from a bowl yet and you don’t want them getting dehydrated.

When your baby goat turns eight weeks it’s time to start the weaning process. I start this by still doing some goats milk and just start watering it down a little. In the beginning it’s mostly milk with a little water and by the end of the week it’s mostly water with a little milk. It’s important to do it gradually so that the goat will still like the taste and want to drink rather than switching it up on them too quickly. I then still give my babies water from a bottle for several months.

I don’t do it as much on a schedule and I make sure they have access to other water sources throughout the day, but I want to keep that bond/connection going and I also want to be sure they’re staying hydrated. If you see your goat drinking from a bowl or pail regularly this isn’t necessary, but honestly Claire adores giving Joy her bottle and it’s something fun she looks forward to everyday.

Our goats are Nigerian Dwarf goats, so they are a smaller breed. We keep them inside until they are big enough and have adapted to go outside. We keep a diaper on ours while they are in the house to minimize the mess. Put a onesie on them and the diaper, then we pit the top of the diaper to the onesie, so it doesn’t fall off. Joy is about 3 months old now and is in a size 6 diaper. Gracie is about 3 weeks old now and is in a size 1 diaper. Always let them have their diaper off for a few hours a day. You wanted them to be able to air out, so no infection or sores appear. This can mean going outside with them or having them in a certain area of the house that is easy to clean!

Baby goats are so snuggly and love to cuddle up with you. They also love our cats and dogs and love being with someone. They really don’t like to be alone, so you need to get them a companion. This will make leaving them alone easier and transitioning outside easier as well!

Your baby goat will bring so much enjoyment to your life. They are so fun to watch and snuggle with for hours on end! I always get asked when I know it is time for them to move outside. You will know once they start jumping on everything, chewing everything, and are just bored inside. At this point it is time to let them move outside!

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