Freedom Star Farm
This is how I bottle feed kids at Freedom Star Farm. Everyone does it different but I have found this way works well and I feel that it is as close to natural dam raising as I can get. My preference is dam raised kids but sometimes that is not possible due to multiple births or a buyers desire for a bottle kid.
**These numbers are what I feed NIgerian Dwarf goats this would be much different for full size breeds.
When I dont have actual goats milk I use Myenberg Powdered goat milk. They do also have liquid goats milk in many markets but I find it is expensive. I mix the powder with warm water aiming for a temp of about 101 When it is mixed with very warm water it mixes easily just by shaking it. You don’t want it too hot to burn the kid or too cold to chill them (if they are newborns). If the water is not warm enough I warm the bottle by placing it whole in a coffee mug of hot water. The water in the coffee mug can be microwaved to make it hot but I never microwave the milk for the bottle since you can have hot pockets. I mix at a rate of 1&1/2 TBS per 6 oz.
*People all have different opinions on what feed works best. Some use whole cows milk, some use replacers. Some people make a mix with cows milk and egg and cream. I would never recommend the eggs as goats are herbivores.
My second choice would be whole cows milk and I have used it with great success.
I like the prichard nipples. On first use you need to cut the tip off to open it but cut the smallest amount possible not a lot. When the kid gets older they may want more of a milkflow and you can make the hole bigger but be sure not to go too big or the flow will be more than they can keep up with. They fit well on plastic soda bottles or water bottles but I like to use a measured bottle. I get my nipples and bottles from Premier One but they are sold many places.
Always feel the kids belly before and after feeding before it will feel empty and after the feeding it should feel lightly full never tight or hard.
I always leave the kids with the mom until 1 week old whenever possible.
Some people like to pull kids at birth but I like mine to get a good natural start at life with mom. My whole herd is CAE free so risk of kids contracting CAE from dam feeding is not possible. I have pulled kids at 1 month of age no problem. It takes persistence to get a kid on a bottle no matter the age you start. You have to make them take it until they understand and some really fight it.
**The first 24 hours all feedings should be colostrum.
Birth - 3 days old - feedings every 2-3 hours, starting at 1-2oz per feeding increasing to 4oz per feeding if the kid wants.
1 week - 2 weeks - 6 feedings
Increase no more than 1 oz at a feeding per day; if the goat wants to. So potentially 7 days old =4oz per feeding, 8 days =5oz per feeding, 9 days = 6oz per feeding.
** From here until weaning I do not go over 12oz per feeding for my Nigerian Dwarfs full size breeds need more. Feel the belly; you never want it tight or hard.
week 2 - 5 feedings per day
week 3 - 5 feedings per day
week 4 - 4 feedings per day
week 5 - 4 feedings per day
week 6 - 3 feedings per day
week 7 - 2 feedings per day
week 8 - 2 feedings per day
week 9 - 1 feeding per day
week 10 - weaned as long as they are eating well on their own and drinking water well. By now you know what a empty v. full belly feels like so gauge by that.
Some people start at 5 feedings at birth and by 1 week they go to 3-4 feedings and week 2 down to 2-3 feedings per day until 7 weeks where they cut to 1 feeding and week and wean at 9 weeks.
I am home and can feed more so I do. Naturally goats take sips from the dam all day. They will nurse and play and go back for more 20 mins or 2 hours later whatever they feel. I like to do the more feedings but it is not necessary as long as the kids is growing and active and energetic.
The aim is 10-15% of the goats body weight in milk per day.