Bottle raising goat kids: HOW?
I get messages and calls SO OFTEN this time of year. . .
A goat emergency. . .someone has a listless kid that will not eat. There is a very young kid was near death and vets or breeders have told the person to raise the goat kid on milk replacer. . .or the newbie breeder or buyer can't get the kids on the bottle.
First, "Please, NO REPLACER. Take the kid off REPLACER now, if you're using it. Put the kids on Whole cow's milk (never 2%) if local, tested goat's or cow's milk can't be had."
As always, if the folks know how to feed the kid, the kid is then perfectly fine within a day or so.
Replacer kills kids at a huge rate. It isn't as good as store bought milk, and it certainly isn't as good a real (disease tested) cow or goat's milk.
I've been getting these calls for MANY years now, and the answer THAT HAS ALWAYS WORKED has been - NO REPLACER. WHOLE COW'S MILK if goat's milk isn't available. Every single person who has called me and listened to what I suggested has saved their kids.
Keep this in mind when you sell bottle kids or purchase them - please tell buyers this and please understand this as buyers.
Sometimes kids live being fed by replacer, but it isn't typical.
People will tell you how replacer worked for them fine. . .remember everyone's version of fine doesn't always equal really excellent growth and health, and also, that does nothing for the many people who simply end up with dead kids. Don't risk it, folks, if you're a newbie.
Another bottle kid goat tidbit:
I also had an email dialogue one year with a lady raising some quads. She initially thought leaving quads on the doe would be ok, but it is RARELY OK. You usually must pull one or two on a doe who births quads. Either one or more kids will not get enough or it will pull the doe down too far.
If you have a yearling who has triplets, the same applies.
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of easy to find information online as to HOW much to feed when folks pull.
That caller knew to not ever use replacer, but she said the 7 week old bottle kids were stunted in size. I asked how much she was feeding. It added up to about 30 oz or less a day for full size kids.
Full size breeds MUST get 60 oz a day, at least. This doesn't apply to Nigerians. Also, you must give milk until at LEAST 12 weeks. I personally do not wean until older.
This is MY SCHEDULE:
First 24 hours
I start offering 8-10 oz of colostrum to a newborn kid. If they drink it all, I wait 2-4 hours before offering more. I continue this the first 24 hours every 3-4 hours and wait up to 6 hours overnight.
Day 2-7- they are on about 10 ounces 4 times a day
Day 7- 4 weeks - I do 20 oz 3 times a day, if they will accept it
4-8 weeks - 20 oz plus ounces 3 times a day or go to free choice lamb bar feeding
8-12 weeks - 30 oz 2 times a day
If you continue beyond 12 weeks (I do 16- 24 weeks) - a 20 to 30 oz bottle once a day.
Don't skimp on feeding your kids, folks. It isn't kind and doesn't lead to healthy goat kids.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens
- Proverbs 27:23-27