Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bottle schedules (several options) for full size goats

This question comes up frequently on the goat board at homesteadingtoday.com, so I've complied schedules here. Credits given.

Feeding Schedule *this is meant as a general guide, some babies will need more*

1st week~ 4 feedings per day, 2-4 oz. per feeding for small goats and 4-6 oz for large goats, colostrum for the first 24 hours!

2nd week to 8 weeks ~ 3 feedings per day, 5-12 oz. per feeding for small goats and 6-20 oz for large goats, you will be gradually building up to the larger amount of milk

8+ weeks ~ 1 or 2 feedings per day, 10-12 oz. per feeding for small goats and 15-20 oz for larger goats, gradually reducing the amount in the bottle until weaning is complete

*we aim for about 1 oz. per lb body weight for the 1st 3 weeks*

We recommend using Whole Vitamin D Cow’s Milk from the grocery to bottle feed your baby. At 4 weeks of age, we add .5 cc’s of Poly-Vi-Sol to a bottle every day for additional vitamins and minerals.

Always warm the milk to about 102* (a little warmer than you would for a human baby) – a baby goat cannot digest cold milk. The microwave is fine for this, but make sure to shake the bottle before feeding it to eliminate hot spots in the milk. You should start introducing water, hay and goat feed around 4 weeks of age. They probably will do little more than play with it at first, but they will eventually get the idea about solid foods.

Kids usually will drink only until they are full. If they are usually drinking a 12 oz bottle and for one feeding they only drink 6 oz, that is ok. Be careful not to overfeed them. Don't give them more than 12 oz per bottle for the small goats and 20 oz per bottle for the large goats.


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If I have the milk I pretty well let them take what they want every time I feed. When they start playing with the nipple they are done. Same way when I start with the lambar. If they all pull off and there is no milk left I put a little more in it next time. I only feed three times a day for three weeks or so, then switch to two times a day. I have three that are a little over a month old right now taking about 15 lbs of milk a day.


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I 'free choice' feed - meaning kids get as much milk as they want each feeding. This is how I raise my Nubian bottle babies -

They get 10-16 oz of colostrum in the first 12 hours after birth - divided into 3-4 feedings depending on the size of the kid - smaller kids will eat less more often.

For the next 24 hours they are fed once every 4-5 hours - 5 feedings. Here they are switched to milk and eat an average of 5-8 oz a feeding.

At this point I start adding in baking soda to the milk - 2 TBS per 1 gallon.
They are then fed once every 6 hours - 4 times a day for the next 2 weeks. They usually start out around 6-10 oz a feeding are up to 12-16 oz a feeding by 2 weeks of age.

After 2 weeks of age they are moved to a 3 a day feeding - once every 8 hours. Between 2 and 4 weeks of age they increase to about 20 ounce a feeding.

I keep them on 3 feedings a day until they are weaned. After they are month of age I usually give them a 12 hour night, and then the other 2 feedings 6 hours a part. Around 6 weeks of age they are eating between 2 and 3 quarts a day. Some of my largest buck kids will eat just a tad over 3 quarts, but most will only get up to 2 1/2 quarts a day. I have found that 2 quarts is an adequate amount with good growth, but wouldn't feed less. I don't wean my kids until they are 75-80% of adult weight which is usually around 6 months of age. In the end our kids average between 80-120 gallons of milk before they are weaned.

They are also started on alfalfa hay at a week of age, and really eating it by 4 weeks.

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