When we got our first baby goats last summer, I had no idea how often to bottle feed a kid. There was nothing in books. Nothing on internet searches. I ended up texting my friend, Jill, every week to see what the new ration should be.
This year was no different, I couldn’t remember how much to give each age and with Amy and Rob’s goats here we had three babies on three schedules. We had their bottle feeding schedule written on the blackboard door. Instead of a burden, it was truly an act of love and instant happiness bottle feeding the babies.
The babies are finally weaned and the bottles go up for another year. I thought it might be helpful for other new parents of goats to have a feeding schedule. Also, when I forget, I can revert back to this post and see myself how much each monster gets!
I had to call Jill one more time to find out about colostrum. She has always given me the babies post-colostrum feedings. She filled me in and we will be ready next year when Isabelle and the new babies start giving birth.
Day 1-2 Colostrum. Colostrum is the milk that all mommies produce the first few days. It is not like the milk we think of, but rather filled with immunities and nutrients to get the little babies off to a good start. Milk the mom immediately after she gives birth if it wasn’t too difficult of a birth. Have some colostrum in the freezer (you can purchase it from another goat farmer if needed) to have on hand just in case.
4 oz.. of colostrum should be heated up and given to the new baby every 2 hours around the clock. If they want more, they can have more at the feeding. This is the most important of all their feedings and they need as much as they will take.
Now starts our weeks. (Note: In editing this six years later, I would actually make each week 8 days to give the goats a full six weeks plus of feedings!)
Week 1- Post-colostrum. 6 oz. of milk every 4 hours. Feed late in the evening and then early in the morning. No more midnight feedings! (Five times a day)
Week 2- 8 oz. of milk every 6 hours. (Four times a day)
Week 3- 10 oz. of milk every 8 hours. (Three times a day)
Week 4- 10 oz. of milk twice a day.
Week 5- 10 oz. of milk once a day (this is when they start to get really nervous.)
Week 6- Weaned. Treat if you feel really bad but they don’t need any more bottles now. They should have noticed the other goats eating and be eating hay by now. A touch of sweet feed as a treat starting at 3 weeks helps entice them to eat solid foods.
Sadly put bottle up and wait until next year!