Basics of bottle feeding goat kids

bottle feeding baby goats

Even though I strongly believe that goat kids should be raised by mom, there are times when that simply is not possible. A doe may have more kids than she can feed. A kid may be born too small or weak to be able to nurse. And on rare occasion, a doe may reject one or more kids. So, if you find yourself with a bottle baby, what do you do?

What do you feed a baby goat?

Goat milk is best, and I prefer raw milk because it has all of the antibodies intact. However, if the milk comes from a doe that has CAE, Johne’s, or another infectious disease, then the milk needs to be pasteurized so that the kid does not get infected.

Beyond that, you’ll hear people argue all day long about what to feed. We’ve used milk replacer, and we’ve used whole milk from the store, and we had equally OK results with both.

Without mom’s antibodies in fresh goat milk, the kids will be more likely to have problems with worms and coccidia, which is why some people use medicated milk replacer, which helps prevent coccidiosis.

I really think the reason some kids die on milk replacer is because of human error. If you do not mix it up with the correct amount of water, a kid can wind up with an intestinal blockage. Of course, if someone makes a mistake, it’s a total accident, so they would probably never realize they had done it. So if you do use milk replacer, be extra careful when reading the instructions and mixing it up.

How much milk do baby goats need?

All kids should get 5% of their body weight in the first six hours and 10% of their body weight in the first 24 hours in COLOSTRUM. Without colostrum, kids will die. When calculating, remember to convert pounds to ounces. If you have a 3-pound Nigerian dwarf kid, that’s 3 X 16 = 48 ounces, which would be 4.8 ounces of milk in the first 24 hours.

It would need to have half that amount in the first six hours, which would be 2.4 ounces. You may have to split that up into two bottles. If the kid wants more, that’s fine. This is just the minimum. If I can get 10% of body weight in colostrum into a kid within the first six hours, I sleep much better.

Chart that shows how to calculate milk requirement of newborn

20% of body weight in this example would be 16 ounces, which is preferred. The above example is only the MINIMUM amounts of milk needed in the first 24 hours!

I gradually increase the amount of milk in the bottle, up to 32 ounces per day for Nigerians. For years I maxed out at 24 ounces, which is what most breeders did back then, but I discovered that the kids are much healthier and grow faster with 32 ounces a day.

Ellen Dorsey of Dill’s A Little Goat Farm in Chelsea, OK, has raised Nubians and Alpines and says, “I’ll give them a 1-liter bottle, which is around 38 ounces, three times a day and then gradually reduce the middle bottle once they start eating hay and grain. So, I max them out at 114 ounces.”

Although most people today max out somewhere around 20% of the kid’s body weight every 24 hours, it is important to watch the kid. If you have recently increased the amount of milk in a baby goat’s bottle, and it gets diarrhea, go back to the amount of milk you were feeding before the diarrhea started. If the diarrhea was caused by too much milk, it should stop as soon as you cut back on the amount of milk you’re feeding. If it continues, check out this post on diarrhea in goats.

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How do you get a baby goat started on a bottle?

It is much easier to get kids started on a bottle if you are using a Pritchard teat because you can squeeze the bottle, which causes a few drops to go into the kid’s mouth. This helps them learn that this is how they get milk. And while they are learning, you are getting some milk into them, even if it is a few drops at a time. It’s much easier and faster than using an eye dropper!

Many years ago when we were new, we used human baby bottles, which works okay for a kid that already knows how to take a bottle. However, if the kid has never taken a bottle, that makes it much harder and sometimes impossible, which is why we started using the Pritchard teat at least 15 years ago and never looked back.

Below is a video of two kids getting their first bottle. Keep in mind that it is usually much more challenging to get kids to take a bottle if they have already been nursing from mom. The longer they have been nursing from mom, the longer it usually takes to get them switched to a bottle. It is not unusual for a kid to fight the bottle for several days or even close to a week if it’s been nursing for more than a day or two.

How often do baby goats need to be fed?

Most people feed 4-5 times in 24 hours, and you can usually go 7-8 hours overnight between bottles, so it’s about every 3-4 hours during the day. If a baby goat can’t consume much in the beginning, I may need to give five bottles to get at least 10% body weight into the kid in 24 hours. If the kid is a little piggy, I may be able to do it in four bottles in 24 hours.

Some people try to get kids down to only two bottles as soon as possible, but in my experience, baby goats are more likely to get diarrhea when given too much milk at a single feeding.

Feeding too much milk at one time is also the cause of abomasal bloat, which can cause death if not treated quickly.

For the first two to four weeks, we give bottles at about 7 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. After one month, we do three bottles a day, which would be 7 a.m., 3 p.m, and 10 p.m. After two months, we do two bottles a day — one in the morning and one in the evening.

How long should baby goats get a bottle?

Kids need milk for a minimum of two months, or in the case of my Nigerian dwarf kids, until they weigh at least 20 pounds, which is about 1/4 to 1/3 of their adult weight. I cringe when I hear someone say that they wean standard size goats that weigh only 20 pounds because obviously they need to be even bigger before weaning. And age is simply not a good indication of when to stop giving milk. Weight is much more important. After all, the goal of feeding milk to kids is so they can grow big and healthy.

Between keeping copious records of feeding and weight gain on our own kids, I have also received way too many emails and messages from people who have Nigerian dwarf kids that are several months old and weigh only 15 pounds and are suffering from chronic coccidiosis and diarrhea. These kids are obviously malnourished and have a very poor immune response due to not getting enough milk early in life.

In the early years, we used to bottle feed for three to four months. But since we’ve learned that mama’s milk makes them healthier, and they grow faster, we now bottle feed for five or six months. People who wean earlier are usually providing medicated feed to prevent coccidiosis. But that doesn’t always work either.

Where should bottle babies live?

bottle feeding baby goat

Of course, it is tempting to keep bottle babies in the house with you. They are so adorable and cuddly! And it’s easier than going out to the barn to give a bottle at night. But having a kid in the house creates so many problems!

Sure, it’s cute and fun until the kid is running around and eating your mail and chewing up your extension cords and dancing on top of your CD player. (Yep, really happened.)

The worst part, though, is that they don’t know they’re a goat, and eventually you will have to put them outside, and it will be a very sad day as you listen to that kid screaming for hours. So, if they are a normal, healthy kid, I now make them stay with the other goats.

If they are weak or having trouble maintaining their body temperature, we will keep them in the house initially, but we move them to the barn with other goats as soon as it’s safe for them, which is usually within one or two days.

If we have more than one bottle baby, we will have a bottle baby pen in the kidding barn, so they can all stay together. But if there’s only one, we try to keep it with its mother and siblings, if possible. Because goats are herd animals, they should not be alone, and it’s best for them to realize that other goats are their herd, rather than humans.

For more information on how to feed kids as they grow, check out this article on What Do Goats Eat? It depends?

 
Bottle baby

312 thoughts on “Basics of bottle feeding goat kids”

    • It is not normal for a kid to not want a bottle, assuming he’s been bottlefed since birth. Over the year, we’ve only ever had three kids that age that were difficult to bottlefeed. Two died. The vets said they had been born with some type of congenital abnormalities that affected their digestive systems. The third was vitamin E deficient and improved after we gave him a daily softgel of vitamin E for a couple of weeks.

      If someone just sold you this kid and pulled him off his mother a few days ago, then this is totally understandable, and you really should continue to force him to take the bottle because he really needs the nutrients in milk. If he’s going to be a wether, he might be okay if he quits now because there are not many demands on a wether, but if he’s a buck, it could negatively affect his growth and health long-term if he doesn’t get milk long enough.

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      • My kid is 3 Days old and I bought him yesterday (at 2 days old) and he doesn’t like taking the bottle. The man I got him from advertised that he is a bottle baby but he said he has been nursing off his mother. Which makes him not a bottle baby. What do I do?

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        • You force him to take the bottle, or he will die. Watch the video in the post above. If he is only 3 days old, he will pick it up fairly quickly. I hope you have other goats or are planning to get more because goats are herd animals and need another goat friend to be happy and healthy.

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          • I have a bottle baby that is a week old I was wondering how you do the feedings when you have to work and can’t come home to feed, I work at a vet clinic and am taking her to work at the moment. I also was wondering about their pooping schedule she only poops once a day and pee’s all the time should she be pooping more what can I do to make her poop should I do an enema

          • It should be able to go 8 hours between bottles at this age. So you divide its daily total by 3 and give it bottles at 8 a.m., 4 p.m., and midnight or something similar. Do NOT worry about the kid pooping. With almost 700 kids, I almost never see them poop. First of all, they poop very little when they are only consuming milk. Second, it will fall into the grass or bedding if they are outside or in a barn. And if they are in the house and you have a dog, they love baby goat poop. Baby goats do NOT get constipated on milk unless you are using a milk replacer and mixed it up incorrectly and it is too concentrated. As long as you are using either real milk or carefully reading the directions and mixing up the milk replacer correctly, kids poop just fine. If she is still alive at a week of age, obviously her plumbing is put together correctly, so you have nothing to worry about.

      • I have a 5kg wild buck. Unsure of age as he was abandoned and found drowning at work. He will not drink a botte, 2-4 oz in a day but will graze for hours. What do i do???

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        • If he was nursing on his mom, he will not know what to do with the bottle. In the video I show you how to get a kid started on the bottle. It just takes patience and time. Looks like you’re from Australia. I think you can get Pritchard teats there, which are much easier for getting kids to take a bottle than using a human baby bottle.

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          • I have a doe that just had her second round of kids with us on Friday, January 8th. Both female (yay!), but the mama always rejects the second born. First time around I did make the choice to bring the kid inside and she luckily integrated well with the rest of the herd. This time my husband and I are taking shifts every four hours to get the abandoned kid to nurse from the mama-which works if I have her comfortable and distracted with grain or with her preferred and accepted kid in front of her; however, is there any hope with the mom re-bonding with this second kid, or should I just emotionally prepare that it’s unlikely? Any hunch why she always abandons the second kid, and obviously we will keep a close eye on her weight gain over the weeks to come-but hoping for perhaps any other tricks of the trade that might get the mama to re-bond with this little sweet thing so that we have hope of not stepping in every four hours for the next 8 weeks (and if we have to, so be it ). Any feedback is so greatly appreciated. Heather

          • There are a few reasons why a doe may reject a kid. A traumatic birth can cause a doe to reject kids. The kid may be nursing in such a way that is painful, but if she’s not pitching a fit when you hold her to let the kid nurse, then that’s probably not it. If you dry off a newborn kid with a heavily scented towel (fabric softener), that can do it. If something disturbs the bonding process, such as a livestock guardian dog separating a kid from the doe, that can do it. The odor from disbudding can cause a doe to reject a kid, although that’s usually temporary. These are just examples of some of the things that can throw a doe off. But plenty of does have these things happen and bond just fine with the kids. Rejection is more common with first fresheners.

            It is truly anyone’s guess about whether or not she will accept him. I once had an experienced doe reject both kids at birth and then I realized she was really sick. She spent seven days in the vet hospital, and when I brought her home, she let the kids nurse, so anything is possible. But usually if you’ve been trying for a few days and a doe is still rejecting a kid, she has her mind made up.

            If this is a Nigerian it should be gaining 4 ounces per day on average.

          • Hi There,
            I’ve just stumbled onto your post as we’ve just gotten out first goats. They’re Australian miniature x Pygmy. They’re just over 2 weeks old. They were feeding from Mum until the seller took them off Mum a day before selling them to us & started them on the bottle. She said they both took the bottle fine but one refuses it every time. We’ve tried every trick I’ve found on google. When we force it into his mouth he thrashes around & refuses to suck. A few times he’s sucked a little bit but spits it out almost straight away. We keep trying but he’s been with us 4 days now & we’ve barely managed to get any milk into him. We’re using a Pritchard nipple which the other little guy is using with no problem. As a last resort we’ve syringed some into him & he swallows it, he’ll also lap some up in a bowl & we have a bit of chaff which he is eating really well. I’m looking for some advice on what to do. Do I just keep forcing the bottle into his mouth & hope he eventually learns to suck? How long do I persevere with this? We’ve been trying 4-5 times a day for the last 4 days & he’s not any more interested now than he was on day 1. The vets in my area are not experienced with goats so I’m finding it hard to get support. Any advice appreciated.

          • This is so sad and far too common also in the US. NO ONE should be selling kids as “bottle babies” if they’ve been nursing! You absolutely MUST keep trying or the kid will die. It is just that simple. It needs a minimum of 10% of body weight per day. If it’s not getting that, it’s burning internal fat stores, and once those stores are gone, the kid will be dead. Yes, they act like you are trying to poison them, but you have to keep trying. There are no tricks. It just takes practice, patience, and persistence. You hold the bottle in the kid’s mouth and don’t let go. If you only get half an ounce into it, then try again in an hour. The more often you try, the faster he will learn. I had a set of triplets whose mom died when they were a month old, and it took me 5-7 days to get them switched to the bottle. Back when we were on milk test, we needed to give a bottle to all of the kids for 24 hours every month while the moms were on test, so I’ve tried to give a bottle to literally hundreds of dam-raised kids, and about 1 out of 20 don’t fight you. Luckily you got one of those! I get emails from people like you all the time who have two or three kids fighting the bottle. It it totally normal for you to wind up with milk all over yourself. And do not believe anyone who says that it will take a bottle if it gets hungry enough. That’s just crazy! That’s like saying that you will speak Greek to ask for your dinner if you get hungry enough. Being hungry has nothing to do with it. Taking milk from a bottle is different than nursing from mom, and they just don’t now how to do it — just like I don’t know how to speak Greek. Just keep trying! I’m so sorry someone sold you kids like this.

      • Help! I have 3 babies rejected from mother. All are drinking milk replacer now. 2 are siblings from a fainting goat and a dapple goat one is MAYBE a pound (female) male is maybe 2 pounds?? They are two almost three days old and are eating about 1-3 oz every few hours is that okay? Then the third goat is just a dapple 6 day old who weighs about 4-5 pounds at most she eats 2-4 oz every few hours but I noticed has mustard colored diarrhea almost every diaper change but is peeing well and acting fine what should I do for that? I’ve never bottle fed babies before and every post I read is something different. I just want these babies to live healthy!

        Reply
        • You need to know exactly what they weigh. I’m sure the one is more than a pound, and the other are probably more than 2 pounds, especially if they are fainting goats. You have to be much more specific. Saying 1-3 ounces every few hours could be almost anything from 6 ounces a day to 18. There is a diagram above that shows you how to do the math so that you will know exactly how much they need. If you see different amounts, it’s probably because people are not talking about how much the kids weigh, and obviously a boer would need a LOT more milk than a fainter.

          Mustard colored poop is normal for babies getting 100% milk. It should look like scrambled eggs. If it looks like you squirted mustard all over their back end, then you’re giving them too much in one bottle.

          Please remove the diaper. Just keep them in a playpen with a towel on the bottom or put them outside in a stall in the barn. They will wind up with skin problems if they have a diaper on 24/7.

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      • Hello, I’m new to bottle feeding baby goats. I have a 8 day old and a 12 day old. They are both eating well! My question, though, is.. When I feed my 8 day old, if I touch under his chin area to open his mouth to put the teat in he gets all stiff, extends his neck and hell cry.. why is this. He was bottle feed before I took him home. My 12 day old wasn’t and he does fine.

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    • We’re purchasing out first goats (Nigerian dwarfs) for fair showing the doeling should be 6 weeks old and I’m not sure about the buck. Do you reccomend to keep bottle feeding them whole milk for the doeling? The breeder said the mothering doe usually has them weaned by 6 weeks because of how rough they nurse her so it wouldn’t be needed but I’m hoping for a second opinion.

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      • Goats need milk for at least 8 weeks minimum. In 18 years or raising goats and more than a decade helping people with their goats, I have never heard of a doe weaning kids at six weeks. I can’t imagine why the seller would even assume that the doe will wean these kids at six weeks. To an inexperienced person it may look like kids are rough when they’re nursing, but it’s normal and not a big deal. The moms don’t mind. I would tell her that you want the kids to nurse until at least 8 weeks. If you’ve been reading comments, you know how hard it is to get kids to take a bottle if they’ve been nursing from mom.

        I do hope that the “buck” is actually a wether (castrated male). A reputable breeder would not be selling you an intact buck with a doe if they know you have no more goats. The doe could wind up pregnant way too early, and you may have to face the choice of a c-section or a dead doe. Goats are herd animals and should not be alone, which means you can’t keep them in separate pens. They will be miserable alone and spend every minute trying to figure out how to get together.

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        • I have a male kid that is about two weeks old, he has been bottle fed since about 3 days after his birth. He poked his eye on something and injured it, the mom then stopped taking care of him because he was sickly. He has been doing well but today I noticed that he is peeing a lot! He also hasn’t drank as much today as normal. I’m so worried that something is wrong, if you know anything please respond. 🙂

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        • I have a 4 day old Nubian baby girl. I have never had a bottle baby goat. Calves and pigs yes but never a goat. I was told to feed her 4 oz every 4 hours but sometimes she only wants to eat 2 oz. After this the next feeding she wants to eat 5 or 6 oz. What can I do to get her to eat more and stay consistent. Her last two feedings she has only drank 2 to 3 oz. I thought she may be sick but she’s running and playing fine.

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          • It could be because she’s still getting used to the bottle. As long as she’s consuming at least 10% of her body weight and no more than 20% in 24 hours, I wouldn’t worry — also assuming she’s not drinking so much at one time that it’s giving her diarrhea. You don’t need to be feeding her around the clock at this point. She’ll be fine for 8 hours overnight.

  1. Triplets born this am. Mom will not nurse and think she killed one of them stepping all over it she constantly tries to get away from them. I have bottle fed before and use canned goat milk and Vit d milk which has worked well I the past. But these guys don’t weigh even 2 lbs. How much clostridium since I’m almost certain all they got was when we were holding her down? I have gotten 1 oz of milk down them with a dropper my nipples the little red ones seems to big and they seem t be having trouble suckling so I am using a dropper. How much clostridium and milk and how often? Really need your help.

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    • All kids should get 5% of their body weight in the first six hours and 10% of their body weight in the first 24 hours in COLOSTRUM. Without colostrum, kids will die. When calculating, remember to convert pounds to ounces. If you have a 2-pound Nigerian dwarf kid, that’s 2 X 16 = 32 ounces, which would be 3.2 ounces of milk in the first 24 hours. It would need to have half that amount in the first six hours, which would be 1.6 ounces. If the kid wants more, that’s fine. This is just the minimum. If I can get 10% of body weight in colostrum into a kid within the first six hours, I sleep much better. I gradually increase the amount of milk in the bottles, up to 32 ounces per day for Nigerians. For years I maxed out at 24 ounces, but I discovered that the kids are much healthier and grow faster with 32 ounces a day.

      Most people feed 4-5 times in 24 hours, and you can usually go 7-8 hours overnight between bottles, so it’s about every 3-4 hours during the day.

      Reply
  2. I have only one baby being rejected. Hie got in the pen with another mom and baby overnight and since we reunited him with his mom and brother, Mom has rejected him. She rammed him into the wall and bit him and sling him across the pen. We took him out. Do we keep him inside alone? Keep him outside alone? Not sure what to do with one.

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    • That is so hard. I’d keep him in the house. He’ll see you as his family. It won’t be easy to put him out when he starts getting into things (like eating your mail and chewing on electrical cords), but you can’t leave him outside alone either — especially if it’s cold where you are. They need to cuddle up with others to stay warm. You can give him supervised time with other goats daily, if possible, and once he’s big enough and/or smart enough to get away from any big bossy goats, you can leave him out there. It’ll probably take a couple of weeks. But he’ll have his brother and other babies as friends.

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  3. I have a mama who dropped quads apps 2 wks ago. She didn’t appear to reject any babies but I’ve noticed I have one that is smaller than her three siblings. She isn’t as aggressive to feed and I’m a bit worried about her. Have you ever successfully given a supplemental bottle and left the baby with mom and siblings? The babies seem active and alert, we can watch them on a camera 24/7 because I was worried about her rejecting one or more. I’m new to having goats and I want to make sure I’m doing things right.

    Thank you so much
    Connie

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  4. We have a 3 day old bottle baby. He was on mama until today. How much should we be feeding him? We buy raw goats milk and are giving him some of that.

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    • You didn’t say what breed, and it’s based on size. Start out at 10% of body weight. Some people go up to 20% of body weight if they want that much. When calculating, remember to convert pounds to ounces. If you have a 3-pound Nigerian dwarf kid, that’s 3 X 16 = 48 ounces, so 10% would be 4.8 ounces of milk.

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        • It’s 10% of body weight in 24 hours, so if the kid weighs 3 pounds, it needs 4.8 ounces in 24 hours. How much does this kid weigh? If it’s an Alpine or Boer, it is going to weigh two or three times as much.

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  5. I have a 6 pound, one week old alpine baby and her mother has rejected her, so we have her in the house. I need to know how much milk and how many times a day she should be fed. Thank you.

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    • Start out at 10% of body weight. Some people go up to 20% of body weight if they want that much. When calculating, remember to convert pounds to ounces. If you have a 6-pound kid, that’s 6 X 16 = 96 ounces, so 10% would be 9.6 ounces of milk. At this age, split up into four feedings. As they get older and can consume more milk, you can split the milk into three feedings. I personally don’t like to go to less than three, some people will go down to two. If you feed too much milk at one feeding, however, they get diarrhea, which is why I prefer to do more feedings with less milk in each feeding.

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    • Hi, we just got our first two girl baby goats. One is @3weeks old and one is now about 6 weeks old. We wanted to bottle feed them because we wanted them to be friendly as pets. Anyway, I ended up bottle feeding them raw goats milk from our local organic specialty grocery store because the first 2 days we had them, they wouldn’t accept the goat milk replacement formula and I panicked and went and got raw goats milk because I read that’s the best choice next to mothers milk. So the raw goats milk is pretty expensive at the local grocer at $10 for 1/2 gallon. This milk is from a local farm. We do not have access to the mothers anymore. They are located about 45 min. away from us. My question is: can I mix the raw goats milk and formula gradually to get them to drink just the formula? Would you give me any other suggestions? We are in love with these goats and want to do the responsible thing for them and our wallet. Thank you!

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  6. We just got our kids both bucklings. We have one that is taking the bottle very well and the other one just holds it in his mouth! He has some loose stools this morning. They were born Sunday. Is this normal or should I call the vet?

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    • That’s normal, and I’m really sad to hear that someone sold you a kid that has not yet learned to take a bottle. It can take several days or even a week sometimes. You just have to hold it in his mouth until he gets what he needs. I really like the Pritchard teats because you can squeeze the bottle, so the milk gets in them drip by drip, even if they don’t suck. If you have a human baby bottle, it’s much harder. The poop should look like scrambled eggs or mustard. Scrambled eggs is more normal. Mustard usually means they are getting too much milk. It’s not harmful, just an indication that they don’t need that much.

      When you say “both bucklings,” I assume they are not wethered? Unless you are breeding, they should be wethered. Hopefully the seller has agreed to castrate them for you at no charge when they’re a little older.

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  7. We have adopted a 2 week old Nigerian Dwarf bottle baby. What is the ratio for determining getting enough milk for this breed? 10% of Weight in ounces divided by 3 bottles? Thanks so much.

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    • Yes, you start with 10% of body weight minimum. I gradually increase the amount of milk in the bottle, up to 32 ounces per day for Nigerians. For years I maxed out at 24 ounces, which is what most breeders did back then, but I discovered that the kids are much healthier and grow faster with 32 ounces a day.

      I do hope you have other goats or are planning to get more very soon because goats are herd animals and won’t be happy when alone.

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      • going on the advice of the person I got the goats From I was giving my eight week old Nigerian dwarf goats 28 ounce baby bottles of goats milk a day. Reading your blog indicates I should have been feeding them much more. They are now four months old and I’m still feeding them 28 ounce bottles a day. They weigh about 20 pounds. Am I on the right track or do they need to be weaned? They eat a little grain and nibble at the hay but I can’t see that replacing the milk yet even though they are four months old. I see that you have fed them for 5 to 6 months. But it’s at 32 ounces of milk at this age? Should I be feeding them 32 ounces of milk at age 4 months? Some people try to get kids down to only two bottles as soon as possible, but in my experience, baby goats are more likely to get diarrhea when given too much milk at a single feeding. We don’t usually get kids down to less than three bottles ever.

        For the first two to four weeks, we give bottles at about 7 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. After one month, we do three bottles a day, which would be 7 a.m., 3 p.m, and 10 p.m. After two months, we do two bottles a day — one in the morning and one in the evening.

        Per the instructions from the person I got the goats from at the age of two months I was feeding them at first three times a day 8 ounces each time. And then I reduced it to two times a day 8 ounces each time. But I fear that I might have reduced their milk intake too soon based on what you’re saying. they are now four months old and They eat a little grain and they nibble at the hay but I can’t see that replacing the milk yet even though they are four months old. I see that you have fed them for 5 to 6 months. Should I be feeding them 32 ounces of milk at four months of age?

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        • Normally when I talk about reducing the number of bottles, I am also reducing the total amount of milk because I am still giving the same amount of milk per bottle. So when I go from 3 bottles a day at about 11 ounces each down to two bottles a day, they are still 11 ounce each. However, most of my kids hit 20 pounds by 8 to 10 weeks of age, so your kids are considerably smaller. It is totally up to you, but I would keep giving them about 32-36 ounce of milk a day until they are closer to 25 pounds, then gradually reduce the milk. Nothing can put weight on them like milk can because there is not any other food that has as much protein and calcium in it, which is what babies need for fast growth. There is nothing wrong with giving them milk for a longer period of time. There are no benefits to weaning, especially when kids weigh only 20 pounds.

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  8. We have a Mytonic girl that is three months old and was rejected at birth by mother, her brother was not. I see you say to bottle feed 5 to 6 months? Is that correct? We just weaned the buckling. They are both close to same size. She is being fed 3x a day, 16 oz each time. I feel like that is to much. Thank you.

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    • That’s what we do now. Back when we got started in the early 2000s, we would only bottlefeed for about 3 months, but we’ve gradually increased that because we realized that the kids are healthier and grow faster if they continue to get milk for that long. I like to be able to breed does at a year. Plus, if they are getting raw milk, they are also getting antibodies, which are extremely helpful in avoiding problems with internal parasites. We do cut back to only two bottles by two or three months (depending upon how fast the kid is growing) and then cut back to one bottle in the evening by about 4 months.

      Since I never wean doelings that we are keeping, and we bottlefeed for this long, the only kids I’ve had with coccidiosis in years are bucklings after weaning, which is unavoidable if they are not castrated (and you don’t want unplanned breeding).

      Reply
      • Actually, the kids digestive system can only absorb antibodies for 24-36 hours after birth. And colostrum has antibodies. Milk does not. Milk has lots of other important nutrients.

        Reply
        • The kid’s gut is “open” and can absorb the colostrum within the first 24 hours after birth in a way that it cannot absorb it after the first day. That’s why it’s vital to get colostrum into the kids ASAP after birth and why it’s really only necessary for the first day or two.

          However, milk does contain antibodies. It is not as concentrated as colostrum. That’s what makes colostrum “liquid gold.” Some people refer to milk as “white blood” because it’s very similar to blood in some ways, such as having antibodies. It’s a way that a mother can provide her baby with antibodies while its own immune system is maturing. Baby goats are born with a very immature immune system and because of the odd nature of their placenta with the cotyledons, there is not much antibody transfer at birth, so nursing (or getting raw milk) for an extended period really improves outcomes.

          Reply
        • You can usually do it within about 3-4 bottles. First bottle is 25% milk replacer, next one is 50% milk replacer, third one is 75% milk replacer, and then next one is 100% milk replacer.

          Reply
      • My baby will not take a bottle. She is clearly hungry and will suck on fingers, etc. We have tried Prichard nipples and a longer nipple. Going to try a baby bottle now, but thinking it’s a texture issue. We’ve tried the switch (finger to nipple), even a little honey on the nipple. We’ve put milk in a bowl and offered to her. Any other suggestions????

        Reply
        • Texture has nothing to do with it. She just has no clue, which is normal. Be sure to watch the video. She won’t just grab it and suck. She probably won’t even suck if you just stick it in her mouth and let go. You have to hold it in her mouth while the milk drips down her throat. This is why I prefer the Pritchard teat. If you squeeze the bottle, it will drip out. It can take a lot of time and patience before they “get it” and start to actually suck — as in, DAYS. In the meantime, you use the mathematical formulas above to be sure they getting enough milk in 24 hours. I do hope this kid was not taken away from her mother. If she’s already been nursing, it will usually take a lot longer to get them switched to a bottle than if you started at birth.

          Reply
          • We got her Saturday and it’s now Thursday….and she’s still not taking much. At what point will we need to take her to a vet for help? I’m more worried about her in that aspect. We can only get a few ounces down a day…otherwise she just lets it run out of her mouth.

          • She may need to be tube fed soon to be sure she doesn’t starve. She needs at last 10% of her body weight minimum daily. She should swallow if the milk is in her mouth. A young kid should NEVER be sold to anyone unless it is already a pro at taking a bottle, so this is concerning.

  9. Hi I will be getting a 3 1/2 week old buckling he weights 25 pounds and I was wondering how much milk I should be giving him and how many times a day

    Reply
    • He needs 10 to 20% of his body weight, so 25 pounds X 16 ounces = 400 ounces, so he needs 40 to 80 ounces a day. Ask the breeder how much he is accustomed to getting and start with that amount. You can gradually increase up to the higher amount, if he wants it.

      Reply
  10. Nigerian dawarf buckling, mom had to have a c section and died as her uterus tore. He’s had colostrum for first 24 hrs and now on formula. He’s 2 days old now. Is putting a small container of water in pen fine or bottle feed some water for first week?

    Reply
    • No. Milk is about 85% water. Kids do not need any additional water for awhile. Never give water in a bottle. If he is with other goats, he’ll learn to eat and drink from a bucket by watching them.

      I’m sorry to hear that you lost his mom.

      Reply
  11. I’m really struggling trying to figure out how much to feed my Nigerian Dwarf babies. They are 2 weeks old today. The feeding schedule the breeder gave us caused severe diarrhea. After reading up on the problem, we discovered that they were severely overfed. So at 5lbs we have been feeding them 4 x at 3 oz. each feeding per day. In the past 4 days they have dropped 1/2 lb. What is the correct amount to feed these babies?

    Reply
    • 5 pounds X 16 ounces = 80 ounces, so at 10%, they need a minimum of 8 ounces per day up to a max of 16 ounces per day. You are giving them 12 ounces per day, which is right in the middle, so the amount should not be causing diarrhea. Did you switch them from goat milk to a milk replacer? Did you make the change gradually by mixing the two together initially? If yes, what type of milk replacer are you using? Sometimes that causes diarrhea, especially if it mixed incorrectly or if it not a goat-specific milk replacer. They should be gaining about 4 ounces per day at this age, so losing 8 ounces is really not good. A variety of infections can also cause diarrhea, if the problem is not the milk.

      Reply
  12. If allowing kids to stay with mom, how do I ensure good milking returns? I allowed my first doe to raise her doeling, but I did not milk. This year I have 3 bucklings I hope to sell & they have been with mom for the first few days of course. I have been milking as well (retaining the milk for bottle feeding the goats for now) but I’m already seeing a big decline in milk & was wanting to separate the kids…

    Reply
    • A doe cannot make enough milk to feed three kids AND you for the first couple of months. Here is more info on how many kids a doe can feed —
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/how-many-kids-can-doe-feed/

      When your goat had the single, you could have separated her every night and milked in the morning because you would have been taking the milk that a twin siblings would have consumed. But if you do that with triplets, you will have three sickly, skinny kids.

      What you got for the first few days was not milk, but colostrum, so you should freeze it, and label it with the date and age of colostrum, as the earlier colostrum (24 hours) is more concentrated. It changes gradually from colostrum to milk.

      Here is info from my goat group about how to start milking a doe when she is feeding two or more kids —
      http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/forum/topics/starting-to-milk

      Reply
      • Oh, I have 2 does, with 3 kids! 2 with my 3 yr old (2nd kidding) and 1 from my first freshener.
        And I should have been more specific. First buck is 10 days. He spent 48hr with mom, no milking. Then I went to 2 milkings per day. My other 2 bucklings are 4 days now, & again spent 48hr with mom (she is my 3yr old). I have retained all the milk. But if I keep them on the teat, when do I give it back?
        I will read your other post as well. I guess that would have been a better way to ask my question… how do i manage milking while mom is feeding 🙂 i certainly dont mind sharing, lol! & I definitely want healthy kids! I just want to ensure the “demand” is right, to make for good “supply” through and after she weans them.
        Thank you!

        Reply
        • Sounds like you haven’t read the links I provided because your questions are answered in them. You need to let the kids nurse as much as they want. If you’ve saved colostrum, you freeze it to use in the future if you ever have an emergency situation with newborns.

          Reply
          • Thank you. I had. & my questions were answered, I was just recognizing that I hadn’t done a very clear job of asking the first time. & thank you for answering my only other question, on what best to do with the milk I have retained. I have been keeping the kids with mom & will continue to do so.

  13. I didn’t know i shoukd NOT bottle feed my baby goat…he has had two weeks of bad diarhea , and didn’t give him milk so I gave him water and gaideraid, then we changed to homo milk and 2 days later all better… But I have still been giving him lots of water in a bottle and his urine is red today for the first time…. I know it’s the water…. Will it correct itself by stopping water bottle feeding. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow . Poor baby… He’s about 5-6 weeks not sure.. Still small and skinny.

    Reply
    • You are correct that you should NOT be giving him water in a bottle. Blood in urine is a common problem with that. Hopefully you have stopped and he will be okay. I don’t really understand what your first sentence means or what you’ve been doing or how long he had diarrhea, but there are about two dozen causes of diarrhea in kids. As for feeding if he is not nursing, he needs either whole fat milk or a milk replacer daily.

      Reply
  14. Did you ever have baby goat that waves his head back and forth… I noticed my neighbors baby goat does that.. he drinks his bottle pretty good.. it cries a lot

    Reply
    • It’s not normal for a goat to wave its head back and forth, but you need to provide a lot more details before I could explain what’s going on.

      Reply
  15. I read your post on Pritchard teats. I have had a Pygmy for 3 days. He is 20 days old. He doesn’t like the bottle at all. I tried the Pritchard teat but was told a baby bottle would be easier. It isn’t. I like the comment you made about the milk dripping in and being able to squeeze the bottle. So, I am thinking about trying it again. I am wondering if you would describe for me how big to make the hole in the Pritchard teat. I think I made it too big before, because he hated it and wouldn’t take it. I also read the comment about it taking a few days up to a week, so I am hopeful.

    Reply
    • This is one of my pet peeves — people pulling a kid off a doe and selling it to someone without training it to take a bottle first. A kid can wind up dying in a situation like this. I’m glad you are being so persistent.

      If you think the last hole was cut too large, just snip off the skinny part of the Pritchard teat that sticks out. The hole will be small. When he’s a little older he will appreciate a larger hole because the milk will flow faster, but initially they can choke on the milk if it’s flowing too fast when they’re learning.

      Reply
  16. I’m sorry, I have another question about the Pritchard Teat. It is so hard to take apart to clean and put back together. You also have to worry about losing the tiny ball bearing. Is it sufficient, when cleaning, to leave the nipple in the plastic ring and just use a bottle brush to clean it and keep it all together? Thank you so much

    Reply
    • You don’t need to take the nipple apart to wash it. I just put soapy water in the bottle, put the nipple back on and shake it and squeeze it and force the soapy water through the nipple, then take it off the bottle and rinse it. You do need to use a bottle brush on the bottle or it will start to grow mold.

      Reply
  17. Hi. I just picked up a 4 day old buckling from a neighbor who had them for sale. I currently have 3 does and a wether. The buckling was on the mother for the first 4 days and is not taking to the bottle very well. He may have had 1 ounce between the two feedings tonite. I am feeding him raw goat milk from the supermarket that I warm in hot water. Any tips? I will weigh him tomorrow. Thank you.

    Reply
    • I really hate it when people do this. It takes a LOT of patience and persistence to get milk into a kid that’s used to nursing from mom, and it can be challenging for someone experienced — never mind how much tougher it is for someone who has never done it before. It can take several days or even a week to get a kid to the point where they will grab the nipple and just start sucking. It’s all about persistence and patience. Using a Pritchard teat definitely makes it easier to get the milk into them since you can squeeze the bottle. Just keep trying. Many kids who are used to mom will scream and kick like they think you’re trying to poison them, so if he isn’t doing that, you’re at least a little ahead of the game. Good luck!

      Reply
      • I had a similar thing. I bought a week old baby where she had been drinking from the mum and I had to bottle train her. Having never done it before was a huge thing. She kicked and screamed and carried on for about 2 days. But finally yesterday she started to drink really well! Just keep at it!!

        Reply
  18. Hi
    I had three Nigerian kids born two weeks ago weighing 3lbs, 3.5lbs, and 1.5lbs. The 1.5lb doeling isn’t able to compete with the other two and isn’t getting enough to eat. She isn’t gaining weight. I offered her a bottle of fresh goats milk today and she gladly gobbled it down. My question is do I feed her the same ratio I would feed an exclusively fed kid? I know she is getting some milk from her mom and I don’t want to over feed her. Should I be separating her? She’s playing and cuddling with her simblings and Mom is very sweet and attentive.
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Yes, you can give her the amount that you’d give her if she were exclusively bottle-fed. At this point, she has to make up for lost time. And odds are good that once she realizes she can get “free” milk from the bottle, she won’t nurse much at all. We have one like that right now. Some kids just do not have the personality to fight for those two teats, and they don’t mind waiting for the bottle.

      Reply
  19. I have a 2 month old doe that I just brought home yesterday. She was mostly on mom but the breeder says she does take a bottle if I want. Originally I didn’t not plan on bottle feeding her when she got here. I was just going to have her on hay. However now I’m thinking I might continue bottlefeeding her. I do not have a doe in milk right now so goat milk is not an option. If I’m using kid milk replacer only is it still worth it to bottle feed? If so how much and how often? Thanks!

    Reply
    • You can use either milk replacer or whole cow milk from the store. It has more protein and calcium than anything else you can feed her, which is important when they’re growing so fast in the early months. Giving her a bottle twice a day would be good. If this is a Nigerian, and she is less than 20 pounds at 2 months, I’d definitely give her a bottle. You could start her out at 8 ounces per bottle to get her used to it, and you could go up to 12 or 16 ounces per bottle, if you want, and if it doesn’t give her diarrhea. If she gets diarrhea, it just means that she had too much milk at one time, which is why you want to start out slow. If she’s really small — like 15 pounds — I’d probably do 3x a day (12 ounces) so that you could ultimately get 36 ounces into her.

      Reply
  20. Thank you! She is a Nigerian and I’d say between 15 and 20 lbs right now so I’ll follow those recommendations. Thanks for your quick reply!

    Reply
  21. Hi!

    First of all, thank you for running this blog 🙂 it has been so helpful!

    I did want to get some advice- I have nigerian quads born yesterday morning. We pulled the smallest one because the doe is known for low production and was also walking away from him every time he tried to nurse. He is in the house with us these last 2 days and still screams every attempt to bottlefeed (its getting slightly better) he does spend time during the day outside in the barn with mom and sisters. He does still try to nurse off mom and sometimes if she is distracted enough she will let him. My concern with putting him outside full time is him not getting established on the bottle, and him not getting enough nutrition; also concern for the other 3 as the doe is a low producer and I highly doubt she can support 4 babies- I’m not even sure she can do 3 but we are keeping an eye on them.

    How long does it usually take for a baby goat to become established with the bottle? Once he is taking it more easily and hopefully showing less interest in mom, we plan to put him in the barn full time.

    (He is on whole cow’s milk. Weighs 37oz as of this evening, up from birth weight of 33oz. Takes less than one half ounce per feeding- sometimes much less- so is being fed every couple of hours.)

    Reply
    • If he is with mom and nursing at all, it usually takes much longer to get them established with bottle-feeding. What you describe is no surprise if he is nursing. Some kids just prefer nursing, even if they are starving to death. In fact, we lost a kid in the early years like this before we knew better. In this situation I keep them in the house or otherwise away from mom until they are well established on the bottle. Since he’s been nursing, it could take several days for him to get good at taking the bottle. Sometimes it just happens like someone flipped a switch. You stick the bottle in their mouth, and they’re screaming, and then SWITCH, they start sucking like a pro. But you just don’t know when it will happen with any specific kid — that could be the next time you try, or it could be in five days.

      It sounds like you are doing a good of getting enough milk into him. And I agree that the more he nurses, the less milk for the other three, so getting him 100% bottlefed is a good idea.

      Reply
  22. Hi!

    We brought home 2 doelings at 6 weeks old this weekend. They were pulled from their mom and are refusing to drink from a bottle. I’ve been persistent with trying to bottle feed them but they continue to refuse. I’ve gotten some milk into them but very little compared to what they should be drinking. I have tried several nipples with no luck. I’ve read through the comments above but I’d like to know your thoughts. One of the girls is timid and is becoming more nervous after each attempt to feed. They have lost weight and just seem kind of bummed out. I feel sad for them being pulled so early listening to their cry for “maaaaam”. If they would drink, they would feel better. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated by me and my kids. They are Nigerian Dwarfs btw.

    Reply
    • It makes me so sad to hear this. The breeder who sold you the goats is either very uninformed or simply negligent. No one should ever take kids this age from their mom because this when they are gaining weight so fast and really need her milk. The only experience I have with kids that age is when a doe died when her kids were 5 weeks old. It took about a week to get them on the bottle. You really need to be using a Pritchard teat so that you can squeeze the bottle and at least get the milk into them, even if it is drop by drop.

      You said these are doelings, so I am assuming that means you want to breed them at some point. If they do not get enough nutrients at this age, they will grow very slowly and won’t be big enough to breed until they are closer to two years old — if at all. They should be at last 40 pounds before being bred. The stress of this will also probably cause a parasite problem, which could permanently scar their intestines, meaning they will never grow to their full potential. You could start feeding them medicated feed to prevent coccidiosis, but they could still have a problem with worms, which will require a dewormer.
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/preventing-coccidiosis/

      Reply
  23. I am feeding pigmy babies and I am starting to mix my own formula. there are so many ways to mix a formula with various ingredients. I am going to try this one and need to see if I am leaving anything important out.

    1 gallon whole milk
    1/2 gallon half and half
    1 quart buttermilk
    2 tbs. corn syrup
    Thank You

    Reply
    • You really don’t need to do that. They do fine on whole milk. If you really want to add a little half and half to increase the butterfat for pygmies, you can, but that’s it. Most buttermilk in the store is not really buttermilk. It’s a concoction of chemicals made to taste like buttermilk, so please don’t add that — or corn syrup. They absolutely do NOT need corn syrup. That’s from a 1960s human baby formula because human milk is actually very high in lactose, so they were trying to duplicate human milk. Since you are talking about all of these store-bought ingredients, I’m assuming you don’t have fresh goat milk, but if you did, and you were making your own fermented buttermilk or yogurt that was really fermented, some people add that, but the so-called buttermilk in the store has no live cultures in it, so there is absolutely no benefit at all, and it could actually be problematic because of the chemicals in it.

      Reply
  24. Hi I just got a 2 week old doeling yesterday and I cant get her to take the bottle, i dont want to stress her out to much but she won’t take any at all. How long till i should really worry. The last one took it the second day. I just dont want her going to long without getting anything

    Reply
  25. I have a 3 month old Nigerian dwarf who I just bought and apparently hasn’t been weaned. I wanted to know if it would be okay to feed her 2% reduced fat milk or should I feed her 1% low fat milk. All of this is from WalMart! I don’t know what to do!!

    Reply
    • It is really sad that someone sold you a goat with no guidance. Reputable breeders provide information when they sell goats. Nigerian milk averages 6.5% butterfat, so even whole milk from the store is not really rich enough, but it will do for a kid that age. If she weighs at least 24 pounds, you wouldn’t have to continue bottle-feeding, but you could. We continue for four to six months, depending on the size of the kid. When you say she was not weaned, I assume you mean she was bottle-fed. If she had been dam-raised, it is highly unlikely you will get her to take a bottle at this point. How much does she weigh, and was she being bottle-fed at her previous home?

      Reply
      • Actually this is really sad. My poor baby Elspeth (that’s her name) died last night. She got into our alpacas corral and they pushed some of the panels on top of her. We found her dead at 9:17 pm on September 30, 2018.

        Reply
        • I’m so sorry! I know how quickly you can fall in love with them! If she was a lone goat, she was looking for a friend, and goats are very good at slipping through any little crack. I never sell a single goat for that reason. I’ve heard a lot of similar, sad stories. If you decide to get another goat, be sure to buy from a reputable breeder — and buy at least two. Stay away from Craigslist and sale barns, as that’s where people sell their problems.

          Reply
  26. We had one baby last night, and another this morning that are off by themselves, with no mother around. How do you know when they’ve been abandoned and when you should take it away and start bottle-feeding it? They seem energetic. I’m pretty sure they are from two separate moms. All the moms that I see with babies have twins. Could these has been a third that got rejected?

    Reply
    • I’d take them up to every doe and see how the does respond. Will they let it nurse? Or do they butt it away or try to bite it? If no one will let it nurse, then you need to start bottle-feeding ASAP, and you need to get colostrum from the does that had babies within the last two days days and feed that to the kids for the first 24 hours. Then you can switch to milk.

      Reply
      • This is a heard we recently inherited, and they are not tame enough for us to approach them quite yet, much less try and milk any of them. Should I assume these two are abandoned if a mother has not been around either of them for a while? I have powdered colostrum and milk replacer I can fix for them.

        Reply
        • Sorry I just saw this. If I spend half an hour to an hour out there, and I don’t see a mama with kids, I’d certainly be concerned that they were abandoned. Hopefully this worked out for you.

          Reply
  27. Hi, workmates found a wild baby goat on the roadside with no apparent herd. Can I try to reunite with the mother if I can find her after 24 hours of being with humans and being bottle fed?

    Reply
    • There are no wild goats in the US, so I’m not sure what you found. If it’s a mountain goat, they actually aren’t goats, and are more closely related to antelope, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find its mother as they range across thousands of acres. If it looks like a breed of domestic goat, then it’s possible that it escaped from a pen or was dumped by a human. If there is a farm nearby, I’d check with them.

      In any case, a dam and kid will recognize each other. It usually takes a really strong scent or odor to cause a mother to be unable to smell her baby. For example, if you bathed the kid with scented shampoo and then dried it off with a towel that was heavily scented with fabric softener, she might not be able to smell the kid for all of the artificial fragrance.

      Reply
  28. Accidentally came across your blog, question & answers. So much information and I have found this very helpful. Will definitely bookmark and return.

    Reply
  29. Hi! I just came across your blog and thought I’d ask a couple questions if that’s okay! We bought a Nigerian Dwarf from a friend of a friend and they said she’s a week old, not exactly sure on weight but I think like 3lbs? I’m not sure if she was bottle fed but I don’t think so. I read in your comments it can take a few days to get used to the bottle. The breeder suggested using a regular baby bottle and cutting the nipple in an X to get more flow so I did. They told me to feed her about 4 times a day and about 2-3oz a feed, but she’s only taking about an ounce each feed, every few hours (I’ve had her 24 hours and she’s taken 7oz in only an ounce at a time) is that super bad or are we heading in the right track? I had to watch a YouTube video to figure out how to feed her because she wasn’t taking the bottle. She bucks and whines a little when we feed but eventually she drinks and then around an oz she pulls away and won’t take more, should I be making her take more? Obviously I’d rather feed her 4x a day than 7-8 lol I’m exhausted! How can I get her on the right schedule? Also, I’m using milk replacer if it helps.

    Reply
    • Sounds like you are headed in the right direction. You really need to weigh her and then follow the guidelines in the articles as far as amount goes. As she gets used to the bottle, she’ll take more each time, so you won’t have to feed as often to get enough milk into her.

      I am concerned that this might be your only goat, and that is going to open up a whole new world of problems for you. She will be VERY unhappy when she’s outside alone, and you can’t keep her in your house forever. Here is my Beginner’s Guide to Goats where you can find lots more info as you get started —
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/a-beginners-guide-to-goats/

      Reply
  30. Hey – I have a kid who is nearly two weeks old now, His nanny started out taking him but I don’t thin she has much milk, he kept nursing alot and now she kicks him away most of the time. She still looks out for him other than that. I tried for about 6 days to get him to bottle feed and gave up as he never took to it. I started holding the doe for him to nurse but he acts and looks like he is not getting enough. I tried testing her to see if she was giving any milk and got nothing . He nibble hay a bit but I tried to feed him some various grains and he is not interested. Should I try bottle feeding again or is there a way to get him nutrients in some other way?

    Reply
    • If the doe had no milk, the kid would have died two weeks ago. If you have no experience milking, it’s not surprising that you wouldn’t be successful at getting milk from her. What you are describing could be normal. It really depends on how extreme it is. Once kids are a couple of weeks old, most does do not stand around for five minutes like they did when the kids were newborns. It’s not uncommon for them to walk away after 20 or 30 seconds of nursing. But the kids nurse every 15 to 30 minutes all day long.

      What do you mean when you say that the kid acts and looks like he is not getting enough? Have you been weighing him? Has he gained weight? Is he crying all of the time and trying to nurse off other goats?

      Reply
  31. I’ve been bottle raising two kids that was born Dec 9, 2018. They stay in a kennel in my room for now. Because the m ok m wouldn’t h ok old still for them to nurse and then walked on them. The issue I’m having is that if pit back with the mom before weaning that she may kill them for the sake of her one kid that she didn’t reject.

    Reply
    • The doe’s goal was not to kill them. She didn’t want them to nurse for some reason. At this point, the kids won’t try to nurse again because they’re bottle babies, so the doe won’t be as aggressive with them. If you have them in an open area where the kids can run away, they should be fine. Just don’t put them in a small area where she could smash them against a wall initially. Once they get their pecking order worked out, they’ll be fine.

      Reply
  32. I have two Nigerian three week old kids. First time owner. One of my babies looks bloated and has a and cold. We picked up antibiotics from the vet but I do not see an improvement. Any advice would be great.

    Reply
    • Goats do not get colds like human do. What symptoms are you seeing? Are the kid gaining weight? How much? Are they getting anything other than milk? What kind of milk are you feeding? Are they outside or in the house? What antibiotic did the vet give you and when?

      Reply
    • I don’t usually say that anything is impossible, but I would say that it is extremely unlikely that you could overfeed a newborn kid with a bottle. They usually take a few days to learn to take the bottle well. I have had a few kids get too much milk when nursing from a doe that was an especially excellent producer. They just get diarrhea, which looks like someone squirted mustard all over their back end, but they seem totally fine otherwise. After kids get really good at taking the bottle, there are a few piggies who act like they are always starving, which is why you need to know how much they really need. Over-feeding is obvious though because of the diarrhea in an otherwise happy kid. If you’re under-feeding, you just wind up with a kid that doesn’t grow properly and has a poor immune system.

      Reply
  33. I have two kids ..one born 12/26 one born 12/27 so 8 and 9 days old ..
    So confused one chart says one thing one chart says something else .. and people are telling me other things .. first time with Nigerians ..
    we are feeding 9:30 ..1:30 ..5:30 ..9:30 …. 5 oz ..each feeding …each kid .so that is 20 oz each kid per day ..is that too much.. too little ..
    They are taking it not stopping and are finally having a BM ..they were pulled from mom a few days ago and we bought them from a breeder ,
    HELP !!! How do I know you answer me so I have to go on this site each day to check to see if you have answer or do you email ..if so my email is gras32@aol.com..thank you

    Reply
    • Your timing is fine, but I’ve never had Nigerians that would consume that much milk at one feeding at that age. What do they weigh? I’m wondering if they’re purebred because I wouldn’t expect them to be more than about 6 pounds at that age, which would be 96 ounces, so 10% would be 9.6 ounces of milk. You should not give more than 20% of weight, so you are definitely at the max for that size, if that’s what they weigh. If they are crossed with something else, they could be quite a big larger, so that amount of milk would not be so unusual.

      I respond to questions on here so that others can learn from the Q&A. There should be a box you can check to get notified of comments when you leave a comment.

      Reply
  34. **I need advice!!!! We are new to all of this. We’ve been raising Nigerian Dwarfs for a year and a half now and this is our first kidding season!! **
    Two of our mama’s delivered their babies this past Saturday. Lucy had three and Dottie had two but lost one. Lucy only took to one of her babies and left the other two. We had a vet- (family friend) over to help us with everything. She advised that we keep the two weaker ones (brother and sister from Lucy) inside. As instructed we have kept them under a heat lamp. We tube fed the first two days and the third we started bottle feeding. When they were first born they were tiny and we weren’t even sure they would make it through the night. They have been fighters! The idea has been to give Dottie’s milk to the boy -(Rocky) so Dottie would take to him and she would smell her scent on him so she would let him feed. For the little girl- (Faith) we have been giving her Lucy’s milk so Lucy would take her in. Our vet advised that they needed to be in the house for a week and then we should introduce the babies to their mamas and see what Happens. If mama rejects the babies then we keep them inside for the next month and bottle feed. Here are my questions:
    1) are we going about this the right way? The little girl is tiny and is no where near close to going outside to be with the rest of the heard. She is weaker. Everyday she progresses and is doing so good
    2) The boy is much stronger. The vet advised that today we should let him around “his mama” and see what happens. If she takes to him, then leave him inside for a month so he can regulate his own body temp but let him out a couple times a day to feed from mom. What do y’all think?
    3) My husband has been milking the mamas and I have been feeding them. I am pregnant and can’t get out there to milk them and with his job, it is very difficult. The mamas are also not letting him milk them as much. Our supply is running low. Should we just keep them inside for the next month and supplement feed them? It almost seems like that would be easier
    4) Are we supposed to keep them inside that long?
    5) Faith- the little girl. We have noticed her two from hooves are turn med inward a little. She gets around just fine. I have done research and there are so many opinions. What do y’all think?

    Reply
    • It doesn’t sound like this vet has ever raised goats. You don’t just keep them inside for a week and expect mama to take them. It doesn’t matter whose milk they’re consuming. That’s not what she’s smelling. I’ve supplemented dozens of babies with other mama’s milk, and I’ve never had a doe reject a kid that she was bonded to. It depends somewhat on the doe and if she’s mourning the loss of her kids. If some does have kids die at birth, they’ll accept any kids that try to nurse off of them for several days after birth while their hormones are still raging.

      In my experience, if a kid isn’t doing well enough to go outside at a week of age, they are not going to make it. We’ve had a couple that had issues that caused us to keep them inside for longer than that, and they always died between 1-2 months. Small does not equal weak, especially a few days after birth. If they are getting enough milk and digesting it properly (meaning their digestive system is working well), they get strong and fast and annoying really quickly, and you probably don’t want them in the house more than a week because they are bouncing all over everything and chewing on things.

      As for regulating body temp … kids can do that just fine within a day or two of birth if they are normal and weigh at least a couple of pounds. If they can’t, then again, something is is not right. We are in Illinois where winter temps are always below freezing and sometimes even single digits and below zero, and our kids do just fine after the first day or two. And for the first day or two, we just have a heat lamp on them, and they are fine.

      I do whatever I can to make sure my kids get as much mama’s milk as possible because they will be healthier because goat milk has antibodies in it, which kids really need because they are born with very immature immune systems, and goats don’t get the placental transfer of antibodies as efficiently as most mammals. I can’t tell you how to arrange your life to make that happen, but if you can’t do it, then you’ll obviously have to feed milk replacer or cow milk.

      Reply
    • I should also add that if your does had such small, weak kids that they probably have some nutritional deficiencies that need to be corrected. There could be hidden birth defects that could cause ongoing challenges and possibly be fatal. Having more than one doe with this type of outcome definitely points to a problem, and nutritional issues would be my first guess — copper and/or selenium. If the kids are really weak, they could probably benefit from a shot of BoSe, which is by prescription only. I’m guessing your friend is a dog and cat vet because BoSe would be one of the first suggestions from a goat vet if you had weak kids. If the BoSe doesn’t show improvement, then it could be a vitamin E deficiency.

      Reply
  35. My doe had twins at 4:30 this morning… good size very energetic… it’s now 7:30 They still haven’t nursed their trying but can’t seem to find her teets… should I be worried do I intervene… help this is my first time

    Reply
    • If you don’t help, they could die by this afternoon. They should have at least 5% of their body weight in colostrum within 6 hours of birth, so the clock is ticking. Stick your finger in their mouth. If it’s warm and they suck on your finger, then they are fine to nurse. You can stick them under her and brush their lips against her teat. Sometimes that’s all it takes for them to grab it and start suckling. You can pry their mouth open, stick the teat in, close the mouth on the teat and hold it closed until the kids start suckling. If you can’t get them to nurse, you need to milk the colostrum from the doe and feed it to them however you can — eye dropper, syringe (NO needle), or bottle. If their mouth is ice cold when you stick your finger in there, then they have hypothermia, and they can’t suck or digest colostrum, so you have to get them warmed up. Bring them in the house and put them on a heating pad. Check their mouth every 15 minutes until it feels warm, then work on the things I mentioned about getting the colostrum into them.

      Reply
  36. We had a Nigerian Dwarf give birth last week to quads. She accepted all, all nursed within the first hour or two of being born. Now 8 days in Momma is kicking the babies off when they try to nurse. Is this normal?

    One doeling isn’t gaining weight as well as the others so we’ve begun to try bottle feeding her. We’ve been successful in getting her to take the bottle, just never very much at one time. I’d rather not separate her from her momma or siblings, is it possible to bottle feed and not remove them from their momma?

    Reply
    • Not every doe has the personality to nurse four. When I have had a doe do so, she is pretty much always standing and letting kids nurse every time I see her. Asking if it’s normal is not really the right question. It happens in some cases, and you need to deal with it. Some kids will happily take a bottle while still with mom, but not all. There is no way to know whether or not it will work with any particular kid unless they make it super obvious. If they scream like you’re trying to poison them, then you need to take them away from mom. If she is not vigorously consuming what she needs, then you probably know the answer.

      Reply
  37. I have a Nigerian dwarf baby who is 5 days old. He was 1 of triplets. His brother and sister are normal size but he is extremely tiny. He was nursing on his mother but she doesn’t want anything to do with him now so we decided to bottle feed. I am milking another mama goat so he is getting raw milk. 1 day ago he started straining and stopped eating. I though he might be constipated so I called the vet. His bottom is so small they recommended I bring him in for an enema instead of doing it myself. Up until this point he had been pooping fine. When the vet administered the enema there was so much poop inside him. Some was soft and some was hard. The vet said that should solve the problem and sent us home. On our way home he pooped some more. It had alot of what looked like a mucous in it and some blood. He was anxious to eat when we got home but as the day went on he became less interested in eating and more lethargic. Today he has eaten very little and doesn’t have much energy. His belly is very bloated and he hasn’t pooped since yesterday afternoon. I keep trying to get some milk in him because the vet said to keep him hydrated. When I called the vet back she said it could be a congenital abnormality and we may need to euthanize him. I really hate to put him down if there is any chance for him. If you have any advice I would greatly appreciate it.

    Reply
    • I would agree that there is probably something wrong with him. I’ve had about 650 kids and never had one get constipated. This is not a normal thing, so it’s likely that something is not quite right in his digestive tract. It’s not that unusual to have something wrong with the digestive tract. I’ve had a lamb born without an anus, and I have had a kid born with a rectum that was not connected to the intestines. I’ve also had one born with the intestines on the outside of the body. And I had a kid born that was weak at birth, so I was bottle-feeding it, and it never gained more than a few ounces and died close to a week of age. So that’s less than 1% of kids, but the digestive tract seems to be the easiest place for development to go wrong.

      Reply
  38. We have a 2 week old Nigerian pygmy baby who was rejected at birth so we’ve been bottle feeding since. We have him in the house since it’s too cold outside and feed him 4-5 times a day, increasing milk mixture with growth. First, He didn’t get any colustrum. Last week I added drench to the milk once a day At 2 weeks now, what else should I be giving him? Does he need to be dewormed? If so, with what and how much? Second, He is 5-6 lbs now and growing but doesn’t seem satisfied with enough milk. We’re now at 4 oz each feeding. I’m concerned about giving him too much milk because of Floppy Goat Syndrome. I mix up whole milk, evaporated milk, and buttermilk. How much can he safely have? Also, I’ve read a website that said to introduce alfalfa at a week and another site said to introduce grain at a week. Are both sites correct? And for today, is oatmeal (not cooked) okay for him?
    Thanks so much for your blog.

    Reply
    • If you do the math … 6 pounds is 96 ounces, so he should be getting 10-20 ounces per day total. If you divide that by 4 bottles, that’s a max of 5 ounces per bottle, so you could be giving him a little more.

      “Drench” just means an oral medication. What are you giving him? There is not any oral medication that you should be giving a baby goat daily.

      I am concerned about the mix that you are feeding him. He needs either a GOAT milk replacer or whole cows milk. The cost of the two is similar. Most buttermilk from the store is garbage. It’s a concoction of chemicals. It’s not the real deal, and evaporated milk is evaporated, which means it’s concentrated and doesn’t have enough water in it. Please don’t feed him this.

      If he got no colostrum, you could find that his immune system won’t be the best once you put him outside in the world with other goats and pathogens. At this point he has not been exposed to anything. In the future, if a doe rejects a kid, you should milk her and give her colostrum to the kid(s).

      If a baby goat is with mom, they will start nibbling at her feed when they are a few days old. It’s fine to introduce him to hay and grain, but don’t expect him to eat much. It is actually quite a challenge to get a kid to eat anything unless he is with other goats. They mimic what they see the other goats doing. Some kids living in a house may not start eating anything until they are a month or older, which is really not good for their rumen development.

      No goat should ever be dewormed unless they have a wormload that is negatively affecting their health and causing anemia or diarrhea or weight loss, etc. Since he has had zero exposure to anything, he should be fine. Here is info about dewormer resistance and why you should not use dewormers unless absolutely necessary: https://thriftyhomesteader.com/dewormer-resistance-in-goats/

      Here is more info about floppy kid, since you are concerned about that:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/floppy-kid-syndrome/

      Reply
  39. We had two Nubian bucks the dairy’s here dump the boys right after they are born. One is about 5 mths now and doing great the other passed right after weening we still don’t know why. I didn’t want remaining alive one to be alone so I got 3 more Lamancha goats from the same dairy. They have all been sick pretty much the whole time I went through two rounds of antibiotics because of pneumonia. Then they all got scours so we gave electrolytes two got better one still has diarrhea. Then this morning one of the two that got better just wouldn’t move and was super weak couldn’t take his lunch bottle even though he was fine for breakfast bottle . Then he stopped breathing and passed on. Now I’m worried about the other two. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing wrong. They are three weeks old they get 3-10 oz bottles a day grain is made available along with oats and alfalfa from a bale. I change their water everyday and their bedding twice a week. Of two remaining babies one still had horrible diarrhea and is skinny the other is plump but has days where he won’t take bottle and doesn’t want to move then he gets better and worst again. any advice is appreciated I’ve read so many articles and I just don’t know what to do.

    Reply
    • A goat with diarrhea needs more than just electrolytes. Something is causing the diarrhea and needs to be treated. At 3 weeks or later, the most common cause is coccidiosis. If they are getting diarrhea earlier than 3 weeks, then it could be something bacterial. You need to take a fecal to the vet to find out what it is and give them the correct medicine.

      LaMancha bucklings need more than 30 ounces a day. That’s what I’d be feeding my Nigerians, which weigh half as much. Weigh them and do the math in the article to figure out exactly how much you need to be feeding them as they grow.

      Reply
  40. We had two Nubian bucks the dairy’s here dump the boys right after they are born. One is about 5 mths now and doing great the other passed right after weening we still don’t know why. I didn’t want remaining alive one to be alone so I got 3 more Lamancha goats from the same dairy. They have all been sick pretty much the whole time I went through two rounds of antibiotics because of pneumonia. Then they all got scours so we gave electrolytes two got better one still has diarrhea. Then this morning one of the two that got better just wouldn’t move and was super weak couldn’t take his lunch bottle even though he was fine for breakfast bottle . Then he stopped breathing and passed on. Now I’m worried about the other two. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing wrong. They are three weeks old they get 3-10 oz bottles a day grain is made available along with oats and alfalfa from a bale. I change their water everyday and their bedding twice a week. Of two remaining babies one still had horrible diarrhea and is skinny the other is plump but has days where he won’t take bottle and doesn’t want to move then he gets better and worst again. any advice is appreciated I’ve read so many articles and I just don’t know what to do.

    Reply
  41. I have a 3 week old bottle baby who is doing great, but she has a little bit of a monkey jaw. Her bottom teeth sometimes show and I’m concerned about her being able to graze properly. At what age should she be able to bite off grass and leaves? She tries but they seem to slip through the gap between the teeth and plate.

    Second question, how big should she be before putting her out with the other goats? There aren’t any others her age. When temperatures get below about 45 degrees, she starts shivering. I’m concerned we’ve spoiled her to the cold by keeping her in doors. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to put her with the rest of the goats and have her be okay. Any advice is welcome!

    Reply
    • If she is in the house and not around other goats, that may be why it seems she is having trouble eating. They learn by watching other goats, and house goats often don’t even try to start eating until they are a month old. Dam-raised kids are nibbling at the feed with their mom when they are just a few days old. A “little bit” of a monkey bite is not going to cause a problem for her.

      Honestly she should have been out with the other goats from the beginning. It is never easy to move them out of the house after a few days of age. My youngest daughter used to think we had to have a house goat every year, and it was always heart-breaking to put them outside. Be prepared for her to be very upset because you are the only mama she’s ever known. But she will get over it. You may also find that she is the world’s best escape artist because she is going to try to get back to you. As long as she has no health problems and is not underweight, she will be fine outside even when it’s freezing.

      Reply
  42. Hi,
    I have a kid born 1/15/19. We have bottle raised her and her sister since birth after they were rejected. They both have been taking bottle well. They graze a little on hay and fresh grass and eat a little bit of goat feed.

    One of the sisters has now refused a bottle for 24 hours. She does not have any other symptoms. We have her nutridrench last night but she still refused her bottle this morning.

    Do you have any advice on what could be going wrong with her?

    Reply
    • I would keep trying. I never say anything is impossible when it comes to goat behavior, but it is very, very unlikely that she would just suddenly decide to quit one day. She is old enough that she’d survive if she didn’t get more milk, but it’s not ideal for her to quit.

      You didn’t explain what’s happening, but I’m wondering if there is something wrong with the bottle. For example, if it’s a Pritchard teat and the little ball bearing fell out the milk would just come gushing out, which she may not like, or it may take her a day or so to get used to the faster flow. Or on the flip side, is the nipple clogged? or is it coming out too slowly for some reason, which is frustrating her?

      There is no need to give her NutriDrench in this situation. It’s really high in sugar and causes their blood sugar to go way up.

      Reply
  43. I have a baby goat that was born about a month ago. Her mamma and 3 other goats had babies at the same time and they got mixed up so the mamma’s rejected all of them I got her to help well she’s been doing well but refuses to eat any kind of feed. Is there anything I can do? What kind of feed should she eat? She doesn’t think she is a goat either because she stays in the house I know I shouldn’t of but she was our only one and it was cold and I felt bad… But if you could give any advise on feed I would greatly appreciate it.

    Reply
    • She should eat goat feed and hay just like other kids her age. They normally start eating within a few days when they’re with mom because they’re imitating her. It can be a challenge to get them to eat if they in the house. You really need to put her with other goats. That’s the easiest way to get her to start eating. At this point it will never be easy to put her outside.

      Reply
  44. I have a 23 day Nigerian Dwarf. He almost froze twice with his mother. The breeder pulled him and I took him. He been with me 2weeks now. He started out eating alot the first week. A little more then 10 % now he’s just at 10%. Im a little worried he’s only gained 5oz. 3.7lbs to 4.12lbs. I’m transitioning him to whole cows milk. Is there anything extra I can give him? He only poos once a day!

    Reply
    • Something is definitely not right. He should be gaining about 4 ounce every DAY. Gaining 5 ounces in two weeks is very bad news. Sounds like his digestive system is not working correctly. Usually they don’t live this long with such a small weight gain. If he almost died from hypothermia twice, that’s also a sign that something isn’t right. I’m really sorry. 🙁

      Reply
  45. When should you start bottle feeding a triplet? They are 2 days old now and not sure when I need to start. One is smaller than the other 2.

    Reply
    • It depends. If the doe is a first freshener, I would have already started because they rarely produce enough milk for triplets. If she is a second freshener, I’d be weighing the kids every day to be sure they are all gaining about the same. Even the small one should be gaining as much as the other two, which is about 4 ounces a day if they are Nigerians (which I’m assuming they are since it’s triplets). If it’s a third or fourth freshener, and you know she’s a really good producer, she should be able to feed triplets, but I’d be weighing them for two weeks to be sure. More information about how many kids a doe can feed is available here:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/how-many-kids-can-doe-feed/

      Reply
  46. Hello I have approximately 8 day old kid that is doing well on his bottle and always had fresh water available to him but does not drink it. My question is, is it ok to give him a few ounces of water in between his milk feedings?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • They learn drinking from a bucket and eating solids food by copying other goats, so it’s not unusual for them to start eating and drinking later when they are bottle-fed. However, there is no need to give him water in a bottle. Milk is actually 85% or more water, depending upon the breed, so he won’t get dehydrated. Also, some people have reported a kid getting bloody diarrhea after getting water in a bottle. This is just one reason that bottle babies need to be around goats. The older they are when introduced to other goats, the harder time they have emotionally separating from you because they think you’re mom.

      Reply
  47. We will be getting 2 nigerian kids 1and 2 weeks old. They have been nursing from their moms (different litters).
    We want to start bottle feeding them. If they wont take the bottle how long should we wait before taking them back to the mom? Would that be an option?
    Will the moms still let them nurse if they’ve had whole milk from a bottle?

    Reply
    • This is not a good idea. The kids should NOT be taken away from their mom unless they are already taking a bottle easily. They could wind up starving if they don’t get the hang of it, and you never know at what point the mom will no longer accept them back. It has nothing to do with them having milk from a bottle. It has to do with them being away from her and her no longer recognizing them.

      If you want bottle kids, you really should get kids that have had a bottle from day 1. It is not usually easy to get baby goats to switch to a bottle from mom. If they are not getting enough milk from their mother, sometimes they accept the bottle easily because it’s so easy to get milk, but even then some kids act like you’re trying to poison them.

      Reply
      • Hi — Thanks so much for your wonderful blog — very very helpful! I’ve got a 10 week old Alpine mix (I think) rescue and I’ve been bottle feeding him store-bought goat milk since he was two weeks old. (Actually, he started out on baby formula and whole milk that was suggested by a goat breeder at a TS, but gave him terrible diarrhea until the traveling vet switched him to goat milk and gave him his CDT — couple sleepless weeks even after the change!) Anyway, he’s growing very fast and he’s 25 lb now and foraging happily all day as well as eating alfalfa and goat pellets. The thing is, he really loves his bottle still and we really love giving it to him. I’m getting so much advice to just wean him, but I’m just not that kind of mom — I’m a pushover… I like your advice to keep him on milk for a few more months, but I’m wondering if I can switch him to whole cow’s milk from goat milk or if that’s going to mess with his system. He’s down to about 10 oz in the morning and 10 oz at bedtime. Thanks so much!

        Reply
        • I would definitely continue giving him the bottle. I have Nigerians who weigh 25 pounds at 10 weeks, and they are less than half the size of a Saanen when full grown, so that early bout of diarrhea definitely took its toll on him and slowed down his growth. You should be able to switch him to whole cow milk. I usually start by mixing 50/50 for a couple of days when changing milks.

          If by “baby formula,” you mean human baby formula, that would have caused a problem. Goats usually do fine on whole cow milk or goat milk replacer, which are both priced about the same.

          Reply
  48. One of our girls had to have her kid pulled today. His head got wedged and the vet ended up rupturing her uterus pulling him but was able to repair it. She is under observation for the next 24 hours so I have baby. He weighs right under 3 pounds and has been fed 4 ounces or moms colostrum since birth at 2pm. (It’s 9pm now) my first question is, when will he poop and pee? I haven’t seen him pee yet and I wasn’t sure if they were like other animals and you had to stimulate them. My second question is, how hard do you think it will be for me to get mom to take him back once we’ll enough? I’m worried that since she was out of it, she won’t recognize him as her baby.

    Reply
    • They pee and poop all on their own. You don’t need to do anything. It’s totally possible that he peed when you weren’t looking. Once he has enough colostrum in him, he will start pooping, so he should be pooping soon. If he is in the barn, you probably won’t see it because it’s a small amount and gets lost in the bedding quickly. He’s probably pooped already, assuming all of his parts are in the right places and full functioning. About one out of every few hundred kids winds up with an incomplete digestive tract, and they die within 24 hours.

      As for mom accepting him … that is anybody’s guess. I had a doe wind up in a similar situation, and she let the kids start nursing at a week of age. Other goats might reject a kid that was taken away overnight. If she is a first freshener, odds are worse than if she’s an experienced mom. If the birth is traumatic for a first time mom, they may reject the kids completely even if they are never separated. If she does reject him, she should be very cooperative about being milked because a full udder is very uncomfortable, so she’ll be happy to let you milk her.

      Reply
      • Thank you, mom passed away, just got the call from the vet. So it’s bottle for this baby. I’m going to try and find him a home with other bottle babies.

        Reply
        • I’m so sorry. If you have other kids, you could put him in there with them. I once had a mom die when her kids were a couple days old, and I put them in a stall with a doe that was raising triplets, and it worked out really well. Raising a kid alone though is a challenge because they don’t know they’re a goat and takes weeks to start eating and drinking. Good luck!

          Reply
  49. I have a 1 wk old Nigerian dwarf who will not take to a bottle. If I put the nipple in his mouth he will freeze and lock up letting the milk roll out of his mouth. The only way I’ve been able to get anything in him is with an eye dropper. We got him from a petting zoo that says he has been bottle fed. Hes had a total of maybe 3 oz since 0600 and its 2pm now. He is acting okay, and peeing and pooping, but I’m really concerned about him. I’ve tried covering him up, different nipples, faster flows, but nothing is working.

    Reply
    • A bottle-fed kid will grab the nipple, start sucking and swallowing. He would not have survived this long if he refused to suck or swallow. I’d call them and ask them if you can bring him back so they can show you how he takes a bottle because you have been unable to get enough milk into him. If they care, they will say yes and help you. I am also concerned if they sold you a single goat, if you have no other goats. They are herd animals and should never be alone.

      Reply
  50. Just a suggestion for ones who are having issues getting their babies to take the bottle. I adopted a ND Doeling bottle baby at 2 weeks old. Mom rejected her from the beginning so she stayed in the owners home because they also had issues keeping her body temp up as well. When I got her she would not take the bottle which was weird to me b/c they stated she was already on a bottle (pretty sure it wasn’t true). However, I learned that if you rub their backs down by their tail it may get them suckling (mom licks and cleans them there while they’re feeding). It mimics what mom is doing while they’re feeding and they feel more comfortable. Just wanted to throw that suggestion out there as it may help someone like it did me.

    Reply
  51. Can we offer water (warm) to our 14 day old kids? They seem not to be pooping as much.

    They’re on 5-6 oz every 5 hours. (with 8 hour sleep break)

    Reply
    • Yes, you should have a bucket of water available. They won’t drink much, but over time they will learn. Do NOT give them water in a bottle as it has been linked to peeing blood, so is NOT recommended. Giving them water won’t make them poop more, and it’s not something to worry about anyway. More liquid just makes them pee more. Here is information on constipation in goats — https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goat-constipation/

      You didn’t say how much the kids weigh, which will determine how much milk they should be getting. The amount you’re giving would be fine for small breeds like Nigerians but not enough for standard goats or meat breeds.

      Reply
  52. My Doe had quads, and they are all doing great, but the runt is only 1 lb. , second born, and she left him for dead. We brought him in, fed him colostrum that I milked out, from and eyedropper, and this is day 2. He’s stonger, hungry and can be with the others until feeding. Mama pushes him aside, and the others, three times his size, push him away for teats. I will be bottle feeding him. How much is enough? I don’t want to burst his little belly or damage his system. So far he won’t take the bottle, it is just too big to fit in his mouth. I used a syringe this morning but will continue to work on the Pritchard.

    Reply
    • He needs 10-20% of his body weight just like a normal kid. It’s a percentage, and it applies across all sizes. A pound is 16 ounces, so that’s 1.6 to 3.2 ounces in a 24 hours period. Since he is so small, you night want to split it up into six feedings instead of four. If you can get half an ounce into him six times a day, that would be great.

      Reply
  53. Hi I got a 4 day old female kid twin that was weak and couldn’t stand or walk at birth we got her to nurse from mom but couldn’t keep up. I was scared she was gonna die so I bought colostrum replacement and goats milk and milk replacement and brought her in side. She is doing great now but mom has rejected her and being mean. What should she be drinking and what should I do about mom. She is boer and Nigeria mix.

    Reply
    • Whether she is a Nigerian or a boer, she needs 10-20% of her body weight with 10% being the absolute minimum and 20% being the maximum. Use the mathematical formula in the photo above to figure out how much she should be eating each day. You can use a kitchen scale or a hanging scale to weigh her.

      If that was the only kid, you may want to milk the mom and use her milk to feed the kid. If you can’t milk her, and there are no other kids, then you can just let her dry up. Mother’s milk is definitely best, but if you can’t milk her, you can use whole cow milk from the store or goat milk replacer. Just do NOT use sheep milk replacer or an all-stock milk replacer because it doesn’t have the nutrients that goats need.

      Reply
  54. Growing up we raised dairy goats (Nubians, Saanens, Alpines and LaManchas) and we bottle fed all our babies. They all got mom’s milk to start with. Depending on how many kids we had during a kidding season they might eventually get switched to calf milk replacer (blueseal or agway). We were always breeding 6-10 does at a time so we usually had plenty of milk for the kids and to sell.

    Reply
  55. I have a Nubian/Boer mama that had triplets (b,b, g). I’m thinking they were premature because they didn’t have teeth and they were so tiny. We got the babies warmed up and used a syringe to get the colostrum in them. They couldn’t stand, and were very weak. Over the next couple of days, the girl and then one of the boys died. I finally transitioned the surviving kid from the syringe to a bottle. I’m milking the mama goat 2 times a day and getting about 2 qts of milk total. Should I milk her more often? Is that an okay amount of milk? I’m using the Pritchard nipples. I’ve been putting him outside with his mama a few times a day. She’s pretty attentive with cleaning him and keeping an eye on him even though I haven’t been able to get him to nurse. Since he is premature, how long will he need to stay inside? He weighs about 4.8 lbs. I’m using your 10% body weight formula as a guide For feeding. I’ve been getting up at least twice to feed him at night. Is that still necessary? I appreciate any advice. I have two more does that could deliver at anytime.

    Reply
    • Great job! We usually milk them 3 times a day in the beginning if kids are not nursing. You will get more milk. Since she’s a mix between a meat goat and a dairy goat, it’s hard to know what to expect. It kind of depends on which genetics are really coming through. Half a gallon should be enough for one kid, but I always like to get more if I can.

      If the weather in your area is not below freezing and it’s not too windy, it’s probably fine to have him outside.

      He should be able to go at least 6 hours overnight, if not 8.

      Reply
      • It was 68 and sunny here today, so he spent the day outside with his mama and the other goats. I can definitely milk her 3 times a day. I’ve still been working on getting him to latch on, but he’s not really interested. He sucks 4 or 5 times and then let’s go. He roots around on her milk sack and udders, but can’t seem to connect without help. He’s two weeks old, so I’m not sure if it’s going to happen. How long will goats milk keep in the fridge? I’ve been giving it in the order that I milked her, but I have over 12 quarts stored up. I’m straining the milk through cheese cloth into clean quart jars. Is there anything else I should be doing ? I’ve really enjoyed your site! It has been so informative:). Thank you!

        Reply
        • Wow! Sounds like he’s doing great! If he is two weeks old and has not nursed though, odds are not good that he’s going to figure it out at this point. If you’re willing to spend time with him getting him latched on and holding his head in place while he gets started, it might still work out. If he latches on and gives up after a few sucks, sounds like he might not realize that there’s milk in there.

          You can freeze the milk. When you thaw it, it will have tiny chunkies in it, but you make it smoother by shaking it or putting it in a blender. You could also make yogurt or cheese with it. Cheesemaking.com is a good source of cultures for people who are just getting started.

          If you’re using a cheesecloth for straining rather than disposable filters, you should boil it between uses so that bacteria don’t start to grow in there.

          Reply
          • I’ve been taking Louie, the kid, out to the barn with me in the morning and at night when I’m doing my chores. Olive tends to him while I milk her. Tonight he latched on by himself and nursed! I watched him try to nurse some this afternoon, but it was always like 10 seconds and then he’d stop. So, what do I do in this scenario? Continue feeding like I am now? Continue to milk Olive 2 or 3 times a day? Today, I just stuck with my usual feeding schedule, but he ate a little less . When I milked Olive this morning and tonight, I got about 3/4’s of a quart instead of a full quart. I’m taking him outside during the day to be with his herd and bringing him in at night. I’m going to miss him when he’s outside full time. He is very sweet and cuddly Also, I’m using a fresh square of cheesecloth each time I strain the milk. I just ordered your book about raising goats naturally and the one with all the goat birth stories! Very excited to read them both

          • If he is with her, he might be nursing more than you think, which would be why you got less milk. You should be getting more milk every day at this point in lactation. If he is not hungry, he might only nurse for 10 seconds. I’d suggest taking him out to her when it’s time for another bottle and see how he nurses. Leave him with her and watch for at least 10 minutes to see if he really latches on and nurses well. For a goat that only means a minute or two. They nurse very frequently all day, which is why they don’t nurse for very long.

            I just realized you wrote this three days ago. Sorry for the delay! I’ve been sick. Let me know how Louie and Mama are doing now!

  56. They’re doing really well! Louie spends his days outside with mama, and I bring him in at night. I’m not sure if I need to do that still, but it’s unusually cold this week. In the mid 20’s at night. (I live in Ga). I’ve been giving him a 3 oz bottle in the morning and at around 10:30 at night another 3oz bottle, and letting him nurse during the day. I’m still milking the mama really good at night and then just enough to relieve the pressure in the morning. What do you recommend? Should I keep milking? Do you think I should put baby, mama and other 2 does in the goat pen at night. I have a heat lamp in there and a little hut they can go into. I hope you feel better!!

    Reply
    • There’s no reason a healthy kid can’t stay outside when temperatures are in the 20s. Ours have even survived 20 below zero as long as they’re dry and out of the wind. So if you don’t bring him into the house, you definitely need to put them into the barn at night. As long as he is out of the wind, he does not need a heat lamp. (And a heat lamp won’t help if he is in the wind.)

      Milk is all about supply and demand, so if you quit milking or milk less, she’ll supply less. Do you need less milk for his bottles or anything else that you want to use goat milk for? If you have any plans to milk her and use the goat milk, then you definitely need to keep milking. Otherwise you could wind up with a fat kid and very low milk supply. A single kid will demand as much as he can, but it’s not really that much compared to what a doe would need to produce for twins or more.

      If you have a digital kitchen scale or a hanging scale, I’d suggest you start weighing him daily for several days to see what he’s gaining, and then you can play around with giving him less milk in a bottle and see if that slows down his weight gain. For example, if he’s gaining 8 ounces a day average over several days, and then you discontinue one bottle, and his weight gain drops to only 6 or 4 ounces a day, you know he needs that bottle. It sounds like he should do well with nursing, but there are no guarantees, so weighing him is the best option so that no one is guessing.

      Reply
      • My other 2 does each had twins this week! I missed the birth by seconds:(. They are doing beautifully. My premie is outside full time now and doing really well. His mom is not very pleased with me milking her all of a sudden. I hadn’t had to restrain her to milk her. She’d just stand there and let Me milk her. Well, it turned into her walking around the pen while I was trying to milk her and me crawling around on my knees. So, I slacked off milking and she got really engorged. I put a collar on her and restrained her and milked her really good. She’s looking normal again. Her kid only nurses off of one side. I guess I will continue to milk her… at least the side not getting nursed on. I’m about to read the section in your book about what to do with goats milk. I’ve never really thought about drinking it, but I love goat cheese!! Thank you for all your help.

        Reply
  57. It’s a very rare doe that will just stand there and let you milk her after the first few days. If you are going to milk regularly, a milk stand will make the job much easier, and you can let the doe have her grain while you’re milking her.

    You definitely want to milk the side the kid is not nursing on, or she will wind up very lopsided. Many years ago we wound up with a doe that was only producing on one side by the time the kid was a week old because we didn’t realize he was only nursing on one side.

    Reply
  58. I have a FF who just had twins. It’s taken 2 days for her to accept the little boy, but now she won’t accept the little girl. I am still tying her up multiple times a day so I can monitor their milk intake and make sure the little girl gets fed. They’re happy, healthy and doing their business as they normally would. My question is how long would you go on with tying up the mom to let the little ones feed? I work from home so I have a fair bit of time, but obviously not ideal. I can switch the girl to a bottle, but want her to still be around her mom and brother. Her mom isn’t terribly mean to her, occasionally buts her away and nips at her. It’s kind of sad!

    Reply
    • It’s totally up to you as far as how long you want to continue trying to get her mom to accept her. I agree you should leave them together even if you decide to start bottle-feeding. Once the little doe realizes you provide milk and her mother doesn’t, she’ll give up trying to nurse from her mom and just wait for you to come feed her.

      Reply
  59. We brought home two 5 week old bucklings on Sunday. They were being bottle fed goats milk (not nursing) prior to us getting them. We switched them to whole cow’s milk. We were given a feeding schedule and told to start them on twice a day bottles in the morning and evening of 10 ounces at each feed. One is doing great but the other started having diarrhea on Tuesday and is still having it. Otherwise he is doing great. I just started them both on probiotics yesterday and will give the one with diarrhea some electrolytes today. How long does the diarrhea normally last when switching their diet in your experience? I am worried he will become dehydrated. I read in your comments that they should be getting bottles 3 times a day at their age. If so how much? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I’ve never had a kid get diarrhea when changing milks, but I usually do it gradually by mixing the new milk first, gradually increase the proportion of new milk. In any case, you should not see diarrhea from a non-infectious cause for more than one or two poops. This could be coccidiosis, but you’d need to get a fecal from a vet to be sure. The seller might be willing to just give you the medication to treat it if this is an established breeder. It is over the counter, but you have to buy huge quantities.

      If you scroll up to the article, it includes all of the info about how much milk kids need and includes a graphic where I do the math with an example of how to calculate it. They need 10-20% of their body weight in milk. Most kids this age — even Nigerians and pygmies are consuming 32 ounces per day. Standard sized goats would obviously be getting a lot more.

      Something that can cause diarrhea is if you are not holding the bottle above their head like they were nursing on mom. When they consume milk, their head needs to be up so that the esophageal groove closes and the milk goes directly into their second stomach. If their head is down like a goat that is eating, the milk can go into their rumen, which can cause an upset.

      Here is more information about diarrhea in goats:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/diarrhea-in-goats/

      There is no benefit for the goat to giving a kid only two bottles per day. It’s just less work for humans. If they were nursing, they’d be doing so at least hourly. I would not attempt to give more than about 10 ounces per bottle. Too much milk at one time can cause diarrhea also, so splitting the milk into more bottles might help — IF the kid doesn’t have coccidiosis.

      Reply
  60. Hello
    We just adopted 2, 1 month old bottle baby Nigerian Dwarfs. We recently went to the vet because one of them began to have diarrhea. It was confirmed that they both had coccidia, and we are on day 3 of Albon treatment. One of them still has diarrhea and doesn’t take to the bottle as well as the other. After reading your feeding chart, it appears that we may have been overfeeding, which may be contributing to the diarrhea. She is 5.2 pounds. So she should be getting a daily total of 8-16 ounces of Does Milk replacement?? We have been making 16 ounce bottles, 4 times daily. She never gets close to finishing a bottle, which we thought was a problem. Also, along with their bottles, some yard grazing and hay, should we introduce grain?

    Reply
    • You are correct about the amount of milk she should be getting at that weight — 8 to 16 ounces per DAY split into four bottles. Since she is so small I’d definitely go for the 4 ounces per bottle but no more. And if she still has diarrhea at that, I’d cut back to 3 ounces per bottle. Grain is very hard to digest, so I would just focus on letting them graze or browse and eat hay, in addition to the bottles. A few days after the diarrhea is gone, you can offer a handful of grain a day, but that’s optional until they’re at least 10-12 pounds. Even then it’s not really needed if you’re not planning to ever breed them. It can just be used as a treat. Here is more on what goats eat —
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/what-do-goats-eat-it-depends/

      That kid is unusually small for one month. A normal, healthy ND is 5 pounds by one to two weeks of age, and by a month, they weigh 10-12 pounds. Is the other one also that small? If they are just meant to be pets, they should eventually be fine, but if you were planning to breed them, you could have some challenges in terms of them getting big enough to breed safely.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the response! We will not be breeding these babies, they are pets only. The other one is 8.5 lbs and just a spit fire! She is actually a little older (a week maybe) than the smaller one, as they have different mothers. We gave them 2cc of pepto bismol today in an effort to ease the diarrhea along with their 3rd dose of Albon. I will definitely wait on the grain ( as a treat) until we get over this hump. We just want that little one to prosper ( and plump up) like her “sister”.

        Reply
        • Well, still trying to get over this coccidia hump with the little one. We went back to the vet yesterday for a check up because she was still having diarrhea. Did bloodwork (everything was normal) and another fecal. After a 5 day Albon treatment her coccidia count was 2900, so now we were given a 14 day liquid corid treatment and 3 day vitamin b injections. We’re also doing probios. She is getting at least 4oz of milk replacer 4x a day and as much alfalfa and coastal as she wants. She’s taking the bottle well and eating the hay. We have researched so much and have been to vet twice in 2 weeks. Any other suggestions or advice?

          Reply
          • Corid kills coccidia by depleting their thiamine, so if you’re giving B vitamins while using Corid, you’re counter-acting the effect. In other words, it’s probably not going to work. If you were going to do B vitamins, you would do it after the coccidiosis is cured. You didn’t say what dosage of Corid you used, but a two week treatment is a preventative, which is at a lower dose. Treating coccidiosis with Corid is a larger dosage that is given for five days. If you’re giving the treatment dosage for two weeks, you’re going to wind up with a thiamine-deficient goat. I am not a fan of using Corid for two weeks because of the thiamine issue. I don’t know anyone who has ever wound up with thiamine deficiency giving the treatment dosage for five days.

            If coccidia treatments are not working, there is probably something else going on — especially since this kid is so tiny. If the vet is just doing a quick fecal flotation in the office, that’s not going to tell you if the kid has a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Kids don’t get coccidia until about 3 weeks — and that is if they are infected the day they are born. So they’re born into a pile of poop and get it in their mouth and they’re infected. It takes three weeks for the coccidia to go through their life cycle and cause coccidiosis. She should have been close to 10 pounds by that time. If she is 5 pounds, it means she has hardly grown since she was born. I expect my kids to be 5+ pounds at one week of age unless they’re 2 pounds or less at birth. (3 pounds is about average birth weight.) Coccidia are also very opportunistic, meaning that they thrive in bodies of goats that are already sick with something else. For example, the only adult I’ve ever had with coccidiosis was one who almost bled to death after giving birth. If this kid was born into conditions where she could get infected with coccidia that day, who knows what else she got infected with. The vet can send a fecal to a lab for further diagnostics.

          • The dosage is 1.2 ml of non diluted corid for the little one and 2.4 ml for the bigger one. The b complex high potentcy/ thiamine is for the first 3 days only.

          • Corid is sold in different strengths, but assuming your vet is using this liquid:
            https://valleyvet.cvpservice.com/product/view/basic/1111006
            that is not a dosage recommended by the manufacturer.
            In fact, if you do the math on the 5-day treatment (NOT 21 days) for DILUTED Corid, it says 1 ounce per 100 pounds, which would be 30 cc per 100 pounds, so a 5# kid would get 1.5 cc. The dilution is 3 ounces of Corid to 1 pint of water, so if you give 1.2 cc NON-diluted to the kid, you are over-dosing her exponentially — IF that is the Corid that the vet gave you, and IF it is NOT diluted. I’d suggest calling them and getting clarification on this. Overdosing with Corid that much can kill a goat. And please visit the manufacturer’s link and do the math yourself. When you look at the manufacturer directions, it looks like someone at your vet’s office just got all of the numbers mixed up. The B vitamin recommendation makes no sense and would not be helpful. The goat will have depleted thiamine AFTER treatment.

            Do you know how many goats this vet sees? I know it is very hard to find a goat vet in many parts of the country, and some people think they can just take their goat to their dog and cat vet. Most will tell you that they can’t see goats, but a few will, and they make mistakes like this.

    • Somewhere between 1 and 2 weeks, depending upon how dry you keep it. If kids are sucking on each other’s cords, then it could take longer. You don’t need to do anything. It will fall off when it’s ready.

      Reply
  61. Hi! At what age should I move my baby goat, Princess Charlotte Eugenia, to live outside? Right now, Charlotte is about 5 1/2 weeks and getting a bottle three times a day. She lives in an octagon shaped playpen inside right now and can just about jump out of it.

    Reply
    • As soon as possible. It’s going to be very difficult at this point because she thinks you’re her mom. No doubt there will be lots of screaming. But you really need to do it. At some point she will start to wreak havoc in your home and possibly get hurt chewing on an electrical cord or something equally dangerous. Hopefully you have other goats to keep her company outside. As herd animals, goats get very upset when alone.

      Reply
  62. Hello!

    Question ? I have a doe who had three babies they are almost 2 days old. Is it possible to bottle feed and have them feed off mom too? I just want to make sure they are getting enough. One is huge and the other two are smaller. Should it be one way or the other?

    Reply
    • Yes, you can try to supplement while they are still nursing on mom. It works sometimes, but most babies that nurse will have zero interest in a bottle. When we were new and ignorant, we actually had a quad kid starve to death because we weren’t smart enough to know that we needed to force it to take a bottle. I’d suggest weighing the kids daily to see how much they’re gaining. Since they are triplets, I’m going to assume they are Nigerians. We want to see our NDs gain an average of 4 ounces per day. That means that if they gain only 3 ounces one day, we want to see a 5 ounce gain the next day. Some kids will gain even more. Since we started weighing kids, that’s how we learned that some will literally starve while refusing a bottle. In those cases, we just take the kid away from mom and exclusively bottle-feed it because it obviously can’t go back and forth between mom and a bottle. Be sure to watch the video above to see how to start kids on a bottle.

      Reply
  63. I have a bottle baby born on 03/15/20, and she is very tiny, MAYBE 1.5-2 pounds, I honestly don’t know the breed, her mother was given to us by someone who couldn’t care for her. She will only drink like 2oz per bottle feeding. We try and feed her at least every 2-4 hours because she doesn’t drink much and we want her to be eating enough, but she really doesn’t seem hungry but every 4 hours. Shes using the bathroom normal, her feces are normal, she does have clubbed feet so she does have a hard time getting around and we have splinted her, and changed the splints daily, and do gentle stretches, i know that when there are multiples they don’t have as much room to move in the womb. My question is, with her being so small is that normal for her to drink that little? do we keep feeding her the 2oz every 2-4 hours, is that enough milk for her? **Mama had triplets and did not take to her, and with her being so weak she didn’t even try and get to mama. We’re very concerned about her and we’re trying to make sure she has a shot, I will say she is doing so much better than she was doing in just the few days we’ve been caring for her.

    Reply
    • The mathematical formula for figuring out how much milk she needs is in the above story, including an example where I do the math. You will need to continue to do the math as she grows. For right now, if she is 2 pounds …
      she needs 10-20% of her body weight in a day.
      2 pounds x 16 ounces = 32 ounces
      10% of 32 ounces is 3.2 ounces of milk per day minimum
      20% of 32 ounces in 6.4 ounces of milk per day maximum
      If she is taking 2 ounces every 4 hours, that adds up to 12 ounces in 24 hours. I’m assuming she’s probably bigger than you think. We use a digital kitchen scale with a box on it to weigh kids. If you don’t have a kitchen scale or fish scale or milk scale, then hold her and stand on a human scale and subtract your weight so you at least have an estimate. If you overfeed her, she’ll get diarrhea.

      Reply
  64. We are getting our first goats ! Two sweet males that are alpine mixed with Nubian! Really excited but also a little scared. I want to make sure I am doing everything to give them a happy and healthy life. They are about 3 weeks old and still feeding from mom. Is it too soon to take them from her ? Ok to start bottle feeding and keeping them outside in a shelter? Will they be lonely and too much of a transition? If I don’t have access to raw goat milk what would you use ? Thank you so much !!

    Reply
    • If they are nursing on mom, it can be extremely difficult to switch them to a bottle at this age. I have been contacted by people with kids on the verge of death who did this. No one should be selling kids under such circumstances. Do NOT take the kids from the farm unless you see them grab the bottle nipple and suck down the milk. Far too many buyers have been told that the kids would switch over — and they seldom do. Watch the above video and imagine doing that for a week with kids that weigh MUCH more.

      Dam raised kids should NOT be taken from mom until they are at least 2 months old. Just because they are eating a little grass or hay does NOT mean they don’t need milk. Nothing other than milk can provide them with the calcium and protein that they need at a time when they are gaining weight as fast as they do for the first two months of life.

      Reply
  65. Thank you for your information. I’ve had Nigerians for 10 years and when mom kidded today she had a baby we couldn’t get out so she had a c-section and is at the vet. I was left with the first born, alive, to care for until tomorrow. He sucks well but the bottle didn’t seem to go down and I was wondering just how much he needs. After the first attempt or two he did seem much more lively and tried to climb out of the plastic barrel and his mouth looked milky moist when he was sucking. He was about 3 1/2 lbs, so I now I know how much he should be satisfied with. Using milk replacer and dried colostrum powder, which only says “mix one teaspoon with milk”.” I mixed 1 tsp with 4 oz milk replacer. First feeding was approximately 7-8 hours after birth. Now giving him a few sucks every time he gets to crying a lot.

    Reply
    • That’s disappointing that the vet didn’t suggest milking mom to get colostrum for the baby — or that they didn’t suggest you leave the baby so it can nurse. Mom needs to be milked ASAP, even if she can’t stand or is having challenges. If possible, I’d get to the vet as early as possible tomorrow so you can get the kid nursing or get colostrum for it to take in a bottle. That was a really long time before the first bottle, so the kid is starting at quite a disadvantage. Hoping for all the best!

      Reply
  66. We have a 6 day old Nigerian Dwarf girl goat, maybe 5lbs. She was on her mom for the first 2-3 days. Having a very hard time getting her to take the bottle. Feels like maybe a ounce at best every couple hours. Very concerned, she doesn’t seem weak or out of energy but does sleep quite a bit. Just concerned about her well being. Using Milk replacer, could use whole milk if you think it would be better received. Scared of switching because of diarrhea. She currently is using the bathroom and making normal stools. Bet firm. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    Reply
    • If you watched the video above, you should understand that kids do not take a bottle easily in the beginning. It really varies from kid to kid whether they will start to suck well after a couple of bottles or after several days. You just have to keep trying. It’s normal for them to sleep a lot the first few days or week. Her poop should be solid. If it’s like mustard, that’s usually from too much milk.

      Milk replacer is fine as long as you dilute it correctly and use enough water. Just be sure she gets at least 10% of her body weight over the course of 24 hours. It doesn’t matter if it’s in 7 bottles or 4 or 5 — just whatever works to get the total amount of milk into her. If she’ll take more, that’s great. I feel better if they’re getting more like 15% of their body weight, and once she starts sucking, you will have to pay attention that she doesn’t get more than 20%.

      Reply
  67. We have 4 day old Nigerian dwarf does. First time owners. At four AM one woke and ate an ounce of milk replacement. She woke up at 6 and couldn’t life her head. She is lying on her side randomly kicking. Waiting on vet to return my call. Any ideas on what could be wrong?

    Reply
    • I’m sorry! With so little information it’s impossible to make an educated guess. I imagine the vet has called you back by now. Personally I don’t sell kids that young because there is always a very small chance that there is something that’s just not quite right about them.

      Reply
  68. Hi Deborah! First off, thank you for sharing all your insight and experience. I truly appreciate it! I have a question about the quantity of milk per day for a 5 day old mini nubian – mom is nubian and dad is nigerian dwarf. She was born with what I believe was weak kid syndrome – her body temp was 90.4 shortly after birth and she was very limp. I was present and took her inside to warm her up right away. Long story short is we took her to the vet and he gave her a shot of Braxxin, Vit B and we are giving daily probios for the last 4 days – she has pneumonia and joint ill. She would not suckle for the first 2 days so I had to tube feed her and I have given her mommas colostrum/milk ever since she was born. I did wait until her body temp was up over 100 before I gave her colostrum which was 3 hours after birth. Since the shot at the vet she is doing much better and taking a bottle. But I have been feeding her 1 ounce every 2 hours during the day until 9 pm then an ounce at 1am and starting her daily 2 hour feedings at 5am. So she is getting roughly 9 ounces in a 24 hour period. She weights just over 3 lbs currently. Is this too much milk or too little? She can’t seem to take more then an ounce at a time either. I just want to make sure she is getting what she needs. Thank you and God Bless!

    Reply
    • Sounds like she was premature. A mini Nubian should be around 6 pounds at birth. That would explain why she couldn’t stand, couldn’t suckle, and couldn’t control her body temperature.

      If you do the math, 3 pounds is 48 ounces, so she should be getting between 4.8 and 9.6 ounces of milk per day. I would expect a full-term Nigerian born at 3 pounds to be able to consume 2 ounces easily, but if she’s a premie, then she’s probably just getting tuckered out from sucking down an ounce. I would expect her to improve dramatically within a few days.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much! We were wondering if she may be premature. Her sister is twice her size and doing great with Momma. She came out healthy and strong. Is it possible to have twins – one full term and the other premature? Could the mom have gotten pregnant 2 different times? She was in with our buck for 3 weeks. We will cut back on the number of feedings to get her down to where she should be as far as how much milk she will get. Thank you again!!!! 🙂

        Reply
        • I never say anything is impossible, but that’s really unlikely. It is not that unusual to have one of multiples that is half the size of others. Usually you don’t see it until you have four or more kids, but we had it happen with triplets once many years ago. That was our very first bottle baby and the first one I ever had to tube feed. There could be something not quite right about one section of the placenta where that kid was attached. Or what you see with multiples sometimes is that if a doe’s nutrition isn’t good enough to support all of them, they can be like stair steps from normal sized and healthy all the way down to very small and sometimes even dead and mummified, if some start to die during pregnancy. Here is more info on goat minerals:
          https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goat-minerals/

          You don’t need to change anything about the feedings. If she can only consume one ounce at a feeding, you need to be feeding her as often as you are so that she gets enough in 24 hours. As she starts to take more per bottle, you will be able to space them farther apart. But if you force her to take too much at once, she could wind up with diarrhea.

          Reply
  69. Hi! Thanks for all this insight!
    We just bought a buck (not wether) and a doe (I think siblings) from a local farmer.
    They were nurses form their mother until this point and are currently 6-8 weeks.
    We didn’t get much information about weight, history, vaccinations or anything. I had done a little research but not enough to know how bad it is to take them from their mother at this point. The farmer sold them to me even though they were not previously bottle fed. He told me he would sell them to someone else if I didn’t take them and I fell for that.
    Anyway- we had them since Sunday afternoon and it’s now Tuesday morning. Yesterday, each kid only ate about 8 oz total from a bottle and one barely grazed.
    Today each had about 4 oz in the morning.
    Both goats were shaking a lot this morning. The one who barely grazed was shaking a lot more than the other. I don’t want to hurt them and am willing to return them without getting money back but the farmer says everything is fine and he will just resell them.
    What do I do? Are they sick? How much do they need to eat?
    I’m using milk replacer and have calf manna and hay out for them. They also have a bucket of fresh water and a large area to graze from.
    We are lost and very worried about these goats! They’ve been all we are thinking about the past 48 hours. Any guidance will be so appreciated!

    Reply
    • I’d suggest weighing them daily to see if they are gaining weight. They should be gaining quickly at that age. If they are Nigerians, which are one of the smaller breeds, they should be gaining 4 ounces a day. If they are a meat breed (the biggest goats), they should be gaining closer to half a pound a day. Keep trying to give them a bottle. Consuming that much at this point is actually excellent. They should continue to increase and take more each time until they are consuming enough for their size. I am very concerned that they are not eating much. That makes me think they are actually a lot younger than 6 to 8 weeks. If you let me know how much they weigh and what breed they are, I can give you a better idea of what’s normal for them. As for the shaking, they could just be cold.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for the fast reply! I really do appreciate your help. Would I picture help identify what breed goat they are? I’ve been trying to get and answer from our farmer but he hasn’t replied.
        They both weigh about 11 pounds give or take.
        Today the female ate a lot. 5 oz then 8 oz then about 16 oz!
        The male ate much less with about 2 oz then 4 oz then 4 oz again. Measurements are not exact as I’m using a seltzer bottle with a nipple on top.
        Was the 16 oz feed too much? The back of the milk replacement says 2 feedings for a total of 6-8 cups of milk solution a day.
        How would I know if they are underfed, overfed, or happy?
        Also, they have some hay and a bucket of water and calf manna. They haven’t touched any of it, although they have been grazing outside at times. Is there anything else they need inside their shed?
        Again, thank you and I hope you and your family are well!

        Reply
        • They are definitely pygmies or Nigerian dwarf based on the size, and they are undersized if they are 6-8 weeks old. They should be closer to 20 pounds by 8 weeks.

          You need to use the mathematical formulas in the article to figure out how much they need to eat.
          11 pounds is 176 ounces, so they need a minimum of 17.6 ounces per day, but if they want more, they can have up to twice that much or about 34 ounces. Even as they continue to gain weight, that’s about where they should max out (about a quart) per day. Split that amount into 3 equal bottles (about 11 ounces each).

          If the little doe gets diarrhea shortly after getting that 16 ounces, don’t worry, it won’t last. Just don’t give more than about 11 ounces. She’s making up for lost time right now, but still try to stick to about 11 ounces. If the 16 ounces doesn’t give her diarrhea, you could do two bottles a day of 16 ounces each. But I think they’re happier if they can get 3 bottles a day.

          Continue to have hay and water available for them 24/7 so they can nibble at it as much as they want. They should not have more than about a handful of calf manna per day. It is extremely high in protein. Here is more info on feeding them:
          https://thriftyhomesteader.com/what-do-goats-eat-it-depends/

          Reply
          • Thank you again for all this information! Today they refused to have more than 2/5 ounces at each feeding.
            They were eating a lot of grass even though it’s been rainy and the grass is wet. Is that a problem? For how many weeks should they be getting three bottles a day? After that how long do I do two bottles a day and then one? When is it ok to stop bottle feeding?
            Also, we have a male and female. The male is not casterated. Is that a problem because of their age?
            I tried giving them the manna but they haven’t eaten it.

          • Hopefully your babies are taking more milk now. They need milk until they weigh at least 20 pounds, which is usually at two months or later. Personally I bottle-feed until they are about 4 months old because I find they are healthier. I peak around 32 ounces per day. At 3 months I cut back to one 12-ounce bottle per day, which they get until they’re weaned. But you can give two bottles still. If you have time to give them two bottles of 12-ounces each, that’s great.

            Is it Manna Pro that you’re trying to feed them? If yes, that’s not a good choice. It is way too high in protein. It is just meant to be a supplement used to fatten up livestock. You can get a goat feed, such as Purina Goat Chow.

            The male should be castrated by two months. I’m sorry someone sold you an intact male as a pet. A reputable breed would have castrated him for you. You’ll need to find a vet to do that for you.

  70. I have a 5 1/2 week old female ND bottle baby. She takes 8oz three times a day and has access to hay, water, baking soda. and goat minerals. Do I need to be feeding her any kind of grower pellets? The feed store told me she will need Purina grower pellets but I don’t know much about them? When she needs them or how much? Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thank you so much! She sucks her bottles down in under a minute. I’ve been considering increasing the amount each time, but I’ve been so scared of bloat and coccidiosis Lol. I’ll increase her feeding to 10-11 oz. I’m sure she’ll be pretty happy! First time goat mom here, just a little nervous!

        Reply
        • Coccidiosis is caused by coccidia, so no worries on milk causing that problem. It doesn’t cause bloat either. If she gets diarrhea from too much milk, it is not a big deal at all. The diarrhea will be very short lived — only once or twice, then done. Just don’t give her that much again.

          There are separate articles on here on bloat and coccidiosis and diarrhea, in case you need that info at some point.

          Reply
  71. hello there. this may be a hefty one. unfortunately i am not sure of the breed of goat, but we have taken in two mistreated goats without the knowledge of any health issues. they were bred and have now had their babies. one of the does whom we later found out had mastitis, had triplets and two of them have passed away. we done everything in our power. we brought them inside the second day because we realized she had mastitis. one of the babies became extremely weak and basically paralyzed. i contacted my vet, and because of this virus, he is under quarantine. now with this second doe, who had two babies, she just had her babies two mornings ago now around 1am. early this morning one of girls died, cold mouth, tongue. we did everything possible to warm her up and it didn’t help. she went limp and passed away. there is one baby girl now, and im so afraid she is deteriorating. we have been feeding colostrum powder to her every 2-3 hours; or trying anyways. i fed her as much as i could this morning at 6, but shes becoming less and less interested in sucking. please, if you could get back to me that would be great. i have tried contacting and asking as many questions as possible, researching what the issues could be. but i haven’t quite gotten very far. as for now im just going to continue to try and get as much into her as i can, and keep her inside the house, warm. thank you so much, very appreciated.

    Reply
    • My first guess is that the does are malnourished. If they are deficient in minerals, such as copper and selenium, this can happen. If they were in a really bad situation where they could eat cigarette butts, the nicotine could also cause miscarriage or neonatal death.

      Reply
  72. I have two Nigeran Dwarf goats that are a little over 9 weeks old. We got our hands on some goat’s milk and started feeding them that, however, one of the goats has developed scours. We were feeding them whole milk with no issues. Should we switch back to cow? Stop feeding him milk for now? Help! Thank you.

    Reply
    • All changes should be made gradually, so if you gave them a bottle of cow milk then next time a bottle of goat milk, that could have done it. Typically you’d mix them before switching completely to the new milk.

      I’d probably switch back to the cow milk. If you prefer feeding the goat milk, make the change gradually over three bottles … 1/3 goat and 2/3 cow, then 2/3 goat and 1/3 cow, then 100% goat.

      Reply
  73. Hey so my doe got pregnant when she wasn’t supposed to! She was 7 months old at the time and had the baby yesterday after being in labor from before 11 am having contractions pretty frequently and we checked on her a 7:30 the next day and she had a little baby boy! She wanted nothing to do with it!! She hadn’t touched it he was still covered in the sack pretty wet in one end of the stall and she was eating on the other end and head butts him down when he gets close to her!! She seem to have milk in the udder but not in the teat!! Her udder is swollen but no milk!! She won’t let the kid do anything we tried holding her so the kid could drink but the kid almost couldn’t get anything!! We have it inside right now as a bottle baby after leaving it with her in the stall all day hoping something would change but nothing!!! Any help on what’s wrong and if I should keep it a bottle baby??

    Reply
    • The teat is sealed with a plug before kidding. You may have to squeeze fairly hard to get milk to squirt out the first time. She definitely has milk. If you are having trouble milking, then holding the kid while it nurses is the best option. You can give her a pan of grain and alfalfa pellets to eat while the kid nurses. It takes time to learn to milk. If her udder does wind up with edema, which is pretty rare, you can put hot compresses on it while you milk. Here is more information on learning to milk a goat, including a video:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/learning-to-milk-goa/

      Reply
  74. Hi! I hope you can help me.
    My Nubian/Alpine doe (fourth freshening) had four doelings under GREAT stress three weeks ago tomorrow. She was very large and we induced her 4 days before her due-date. She never fully dilated and the friend helping me went in and actually retrieved all four girls. Disaster. Mom rejected them immediately due to the extreme pain of the birth and it took her days to function. The doelings did get her colostrum in the first 24 hours, however. She is now on penicillin for uterine infection, of course. Final dose today. She may still have placenta in her, which adds to the complicated situation here on the farm.

    Babies are all bottle fed with what milk she CAN produce at this time (about 4 cups/day), another dam’s milk who only had one surviving doeling, and the milk from another doe that I’ve been milking for a year and a half. They get 8oz of milk four times a day. They are all between 12 and 14 lbs and were 6.75 – 8lbs at birth.

    I had the four-lings vaccinated for CD&T one week ago, the day before they turned two weeks old, (I believe it was too early but the vet did it at the time of disbudding with no reservations.) The next day they came down with bloody stools and I should have assumed it was stress, but started treating immediately for coccidiosis with Corid for five days, as I had two adults and another doeling a week older than the four-lings who had it. That probably messed them up. The girls are energetic, curious and eating dirt and now munching on hay…like “normal”. The mushy green, brown, and bloody stools haven’t abated however. I give them a small amount of ProBios and have given them electrolytes (MannaPro as well as a homemade one of molasses, ACV, sea salt) occasionally.

    What can I do to “undo” the decision to vaccinate too early? Is CD&T anti-toxin too late? I’m scared I introduced CD&T into already compromised systems.

    Is it bad to mix three does’ milk into their bodies? Should I be using milk-replacer as well? I have done some of that to help immunity. Any natural ways to build immunity in <1 month old kids? Will I ever see normal poop in these girls and if not, what should I do?!
    Please help!
    Thank you!
    Carole

    Reply
    • It really sounds like you need a vet who knows goats. You need a fecal to determine exactly what’s wrong. It could be a bacteria or virus or any number of things. Anyone would just be guessing without a fecal for a proper diagnosis. Kids don’t get coccidiosis before three weeks because the lifecycle of the cocccidia is three weeks, so they’d have to get infected the day they were born — basically fall into a pile of poop at birth — to even get it at three weeks. Here is more info on diarrhea:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/diarrhea-in-goats/

      Giving them antitoxin will not help. Giving them a CDT at only two weeks simply is not effective. Their immune system isn’t mature enough for it to infer immunity, so it was basically a waste to give it that early. If he was concerned about tetanus when disbudding, I have heard of people giving antitoxin at that time because it’s meant to be a short-term solution. However, that is not something that most people worry about. A disbudding iron is more than 1000 degrees. Nothing on this planet survives at 1000 degrees. The risk of tetanus comes in when the scab starts to loosen and fall off, but that’s a tiny risk — and that doesn’t happen for 2-3 weeks after disbudding.

      You did not mention the doe having toxemia, which is really the only reason to induce before the due date, so I’m wondering if there is more to the story. I don’t want anyone reading this to think that you should induce a doe just because she’s big. Inducing goats is a huge risk that should only be undertaken when you think the doe will die otherwise — such as in the case of toxemia. There is always the risk of premature kids also because plenty of humans have miscalculated due dates or forgotten to write down a second breeding when the first one didn’t take. There is no reason to worry about a doe that’s huge. We’ve had dozens of quads and six sets of quintuplets, and all of them have gone to term. If they are carrying multiples, you really want them to go to term in case they are smaller than average, which yours were.

      There is nothing wrong with mixing milk from different does. It will do far more to help immunity than giving them milk replacer, which is just cow milk with added vitamins and minerals. I recommend fresh goat milk whenever possible. Milk replacer and cow milk are distant seconds.

      Reply
  75. I just bought a 3 week old doeling and 4 week old buck. Since we got them the buck has had diarrhea. I had a fecal done a d it came back positive for coccidia. I am waiting since 4 days ago for the vet to fill the Albon script. I was surprised that the woman I bought them from had given them CD/T at less than a week old. I gave a booster yesterday. Do you think I should give them another booster in 4 more weeks since the 1 st one was so early? Both are drinking well, pinked up, eating a tiny amount of orchard/alfalfa hay, tsps of medicated grain and bouncing around very normal. I give the pro- bios in a.m. milk replacer. The diarrhea is not bad at this time. I have had them a week and a half. What else can I do? I plan on banding the buck at 3 months. Is that ok?

    Reply
    • You need to contact the vet again about the Albon. A kid that young really needs to be treated ASAP because they have a very immature immune system, and coccidiosis can cause permanent intestinal damage, which would mean that the kid will never absorb nutrients properly. I’m guessing this slipped through the cracks at the vet office.

      Giving CDT at one week of age is a waste of money, so it doesn’t count at all. Yes, you should give a booster 4 weeks after you gave the first shot. It sounds like she may not be very well informed.

      Castrating at 3 months is fine, although he may start acting bucky around your doeling before that, so 2 months is a pretty common time for people to castrate. Just because he’s acting bucky doesn’t mean he can get the doe pregnant — or that she is even in heat — but it makes people nervous.

      Reply
  76. Hello! I am currently bottlefeeding two male pygmy goats that are both seven days old. Neither of them can walk due to oxygen deprivation at birth and they were only started on the bottle at six days old. Oddly they have taken to it pretty well and are improving but I am very new to this and don’t know how much to give them. I have been feeding them every 3 to 4 hours, does that sound good? And if so, how much would you recommend each feeding?

    Reply
  77. Hello! I am currently bottlefeeding two male pygmy goats that are both seven days old. Neither of them can walk due to oxygen deprivation at birth and they were only started on the bottle at six days old. Oddly they have taken to it pretty well and are improving but I am very new to this and don’t know how much to give them. I have been feeding them every 3 to 4 hours, does that sound good? And if so, how much would you recommend each feeding?

    Reply
    • Sorry I just saw this. Hopefully you saw the answer to your question in the post above where I explain how the amount of milk should be based upon the kid’s weight, and I have an example of how to do the math in a graphic.

      Reply
  78. I have a 2 week old kid. He was nursing from mom when I bought him. I am now feeding him milk replacement. At first he would only eat an oz or two and that was forcing him. He has now started taking 2-4 oz at each feeding without being forced. He developed scours tonight after his last feeding. What do I do? I can buy fresh unpasteurized goats milk if need be. I am keeping him in the house due to having a husky. He loves to cuddle up to me while he is wrapped up in a blanket.

    Reply
    • He probably had too much milk in one bottle. Do the math in the article to see how much he should be drinking based upon his weight. You should also increase the amount he consumes gradually.

      Reply
      • We ended up taking him to the vet. He was running a high fever. He was given a shot of antibiotics and an anti inflammatory. He was given something for worms and meds for coccidia. He is feeling so much better. He is running and jumping. I also took him off of the milk replacement and he is now on raw goats milk. He is eating on average 7 ounces at each feeding. He weighed 6.5 lbs.
        Thank you for your insight.

        Reply
  79. If I were to get a 3 week old bottle fed kid, could I safely only feed him morning around 6 am, evening around 5, and night around 10pm?

    Reply
  80. hello my sister in law pygmy goat gave birth 3days ago to 3 pygmy kid but one of them wasn’t eating or moving that much we are feeding him from the mom milk but to day we noticed he have diarrhea so we put him inside to warm him up and started him on Electrolytes how long should we keep him on it and should we give him milk while on it?

    Reply
    • Diarrhea in a newborn looks like someone squirted mustard all over his back end, and it can be from too much milk. How much does he weigh, and how much milk are you giving him? Simply reducing the amount of milk will stop the diarrhea.

      He doesn’t need electrolytes — just the correct amount of milk.

      The other possibility is an infection. If he has a fever (more than 103), you should probably take him to the vet and/or get a fecal done to see what’s causing it.

      Reply
        • You really need to weigh him so that you will have a good idea of how much he weighs so that you don’t overfeed or underfeed him. If he only weighs 2 pounds, that’s 32 ounces, which would mean he needs only 3.2 to 6.4 ounces in 24 hours. It is VERY easy to overfeed a kid. If he weighs 3 pounds, that is 48 ounces, so he needs 4.8 to 9.6 ounces in 24 hours, so you can see that there is quite a difference in what he needs based upon whether he is 2 or 3 pounds. And this should be split up between 4-5 bottles, so maybe only 1 ounce per bottle. If he gets too much in one bottle, that can cause diarrhea too.

          Reply
  81. Hi, I just found this article and it’s got a lot of great info on bottle feeding an abandoned kid, which I have. Anyway, he’s been taking milk replacer in a bottle just fine since day 1(after the powdered colostrum) his twin and half siblings who are all still with their moms are eating hay and some goat feed pellets, but he’s not interested in eating those things. He’s 2 weeks old today and I’m fixing to start slowly putting him in the pasture with the other goats until I can leave him in there all the time. My question is this; in taking him to the pasture will he learn to eat by watching the other goats? Right now he’s just interested in running and playing and not really paying attention to what the other goats are doing. He’s a Nigerian Dwarf, full blooded. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Yes, goats learn from watching other goats. That’s why dam-raised kids start nibbling at food when they are only a few days old. They are imitating their mom. And bottle kids that are raised only with other same-aged bottle kids may not start eating for a month or longer.

      Reply
  82. I’m sorry I have another question. When should he get his first CD/T? And Valbazen drench? In all the years(approx. 10) of breeding Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarfs this is my first bottle baby. I’m very surprised it hasn’t happened before.

    Reply
    • There is no difference in these things for a bottle baby or dam-raised kid. As for dewormer, NO goat should ever be given a dewormer unless they have symptoms of a worm overload. Just as you would not give any goat or human an antibiotic unless it was sick, you should NOT give a dewormer unless a goat is sick. Misuse of antibiotics and dewormers has caused problems with those drugs no longer working. Here is more information about dewormer resistance and how old-fashioned practices, such as deworming on a schedule has caused the problem.
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/dewormer-resistance-in-goats/

      Reply
  83. I have a 9 day old Nigerian Dwarf who lost her momma. The mom delivered with assistance a breech stillborn, then the baby we have now. She was pretty small and having a hard time latching so we brought her inside and tried to get some colostrum in her. She eventually took it from a bottle and we put her back out with mom. She finally got the nursing down, but then mom delivered another stillborn 3 days later. Mom was getting sicker, so we would bottle feed then take her back out to mom. The vet came out and felt a partial tear in the uterus. The momma died the next day. Baby has been inside since, she cannot keep a good temp outside. We have another doe that gave birth a few days ago. We tried to put the baby out with her and she wasn’t having it. Afraid she was going to kill it I brought baby back inside. She knows how to take the bottle, but just doesn’t seem too interested the last couple days. I’m afraid she is going to starve. She’ll eat an ounce here and there, but not consistently. She has very runny poop which concerns me also. Most of our bottle babies have at least been able to stay with mom once they’re stable, but this one has no mommy. Today we had her outside while working in the barn, and she just shivered the whole time. I hear her little tummy gurgling. Today she weighs 3.92 lbs. at 9 days old. I’ve read the chart of how much she should be eating, but I’m not sure she’s getting enough. 🙁

    Reply
    • Since she was nursing on mom, it can be a challenge to get them to take a bottle well. Runny poop is not necessarily a bad thing, although you usually see it when kids are getting too much milk. You didn’t say what her birth weight was, but her weight at 9 days is not great. I like to see my ND kids gaining about 4 ounces a day. What does she weigh now? How is she doing?

      Reply
  84. I have twin 8 week old bottle babies. They have been eating great. We give them 3 bottles a day but decided to cut down to twice a day (2 days ago). Same amount of ounces but now in 2 bottles a day instead of 3. Now one of my babies has foul smelling brownish, yellow diarrhea. Should I change back to 3 times a day, as we were doing before. Will the diarrhea clear on its own?
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • If the diarrhea coincides with when you switched to two bottles, then I would definitely suspect that is the cause. Too much milk in one bottle can cause diarrhea. If you reduce the amount of milk to what they were having before, the diarrhea should clear up on its own. If it continues for more than 24 hours after switching back to the old feeding routine, then I’d suggest taking a fecal to the vet to see if there is a parasite or bacterial or other cause of the diarrhea.

      Reply
  85. We adopted or rather rescued a newborn baby mountain goat that still had the umbilical cord attached. My neighbor is a vet and had goat colostrum so thankfully it survived. Now it’s two weeks old but we’ve had it in the house with us it it is the cutest thing, we take it to use the bathroom outside and it totally does … but I’m worried about socializing it with other goats. We are building a house and have room on our property but I’ve read that goats can’t be alone. Should we try and get another goat or two to keep her company? How do you tell if the goats will accept each other?

    Reply
    • I’m really curious what you have because a mountain goat is not a goat. It’s actually part of the antelope family. So if you have really have a mountain goat, I have no idea how it should be cared for. And they are wild animals, so it’s probably not even legal for you to have it. Plus I don’t know how you’d get another one.

      If this is a domesticated goat, then yes, definitely get another kid or two that’s about the same age and size. It should also have the same horn status. So unless you get this one disbudded (so it can’t grow horns), you should get a friend that will also grow horns so that they will be equally matched. Goats are herd animals so they will accept each other into the herd. There may be a little head butting, but that’s normal. The younger they are when you get the other(s), the less head butting there will be.

      Reply
  86. We have a Pygmy that had triplets, the 3rd came out intact in the sac. I watched for several seconds to see if it was going to break through on its own and it didn’t, therefore I tore the sac and freed him. She did clean all 3 of them off but about 1hr after returning he was off my himself. Now we just had 2-3 inches of snow and ice and more still on the way. If got down to about 4 degrees last night. So we have them in a the barn in a tarped area with heat lamps. After checking on them a couple of times he was always by himself and she didn’t seem so have much to do with him. So we brought him in and warmed him. He took 2pz of colostrum like it was candy. Then he took about 1/2 oz 2 – 2 1/2 hrs later. Now it is 4 hrs later but 1am and I awake him a he sucked just a couple of seconds but I can’t get him to take anymore. He doesn’t appear to be hungry or want it. Is this normal? Should I force it to him? Is it ok for him to go longer at night?

    Reply
    • He should want more milk four hours after his last bottle, so I’d be concerned. I am wondering if there is something wrong with him, like maybe he is blind and/or has something else wrong with him. He should be able to go under the heat lamp on his own, and he should also cuddle up with his siblings. All baby goats do those things. The only newborns we ever had that didn’t do that were blind. If you put him on a couch or bed, see if he walks off. Of course, you need to be prepared to catch him. A goat that can see won’t just walk off the edge of a couch or bed. In fact, that’s how we figured out we had a blind goat. Oxygen deprivation at birth can cause blindness. If a kid’s head comes out and has the sac intact, you should break it. Once the umbilical cord is broken, the kid has no oxygen if it is still in the sac, and a kid can’t break it open. If the mom or a human doesn’t do it, it will suffocate.

      Reply
  87. I got two bottle baby’s today. The 8 day old has been bottle fed since birth but the 5 day old just started on the bottle today how long will it take to get him use to it I don’t want him getting sick he’s not eating much

    Reply
    • I’m so sad to hear that someone sold you a kid as a bottle baby even though it was not well established on the bottle. Kids have died in similar situations, so I cannot adequately stress the importance of getting milk into this kid. There is no telling when the switch will flip in this kid’s brain, and he will start taking the bottle. It could be a day or two, or it could be a week. In the meantime, you just have to do whatever is needed to get enough milk into him. This may mean trying more often for shorter periods of time. If you are not using a Pritchard teat, I highly recommend you get one (or two or three because you may mess up cutting the nipple). Because you can squeeze the bottle to get milk to drip out into the kid’s mouth, it is much easier to get a kid consuming milk when using one of these nipples and flexible bottles. If it takes 10 minutes to get an ounce into him, then take a break for an hour or two and try again. “Rinse and repeat” until he has consumed 10-20% of his weight in milk in 24 hours. The absolute minimum is 10%, but the goal is 20%.

      Reply
  88. Hi. My Nigerian dwarf mama just had her first set of twins. She was doing a good job cleaning them up but was taking too long (she delivered in 20 degree temps and outside the pen we had for her). One didn’t make it and the other was the smaller of the two so we brought it inside to warm it. We intended to immediately reintroduce, but the little one was too weak. It’s been 2 days and she is much better. Is there a chance mom would accept her after 2 days of being a bottle baby?

    Reply
    • You cannot count on a doe to get kids dry and warm at birth when it’s 20 degrees. You need to be out there with a towel and a blow dryer. If they get chilled, the first thing to go is the sucking instinct, and then they die from low blood sugar and/or dehydration and/or hypothermia. I highly recommend a baby monitor in your barn (just the cheap $15-20 ones) so that you can be there to dry the kids and make sure they are nursing.

      If the mama is a first freshener, she will probably not have any idea that it’s her baby, but you can try. If it’s an experienced mom, your chances are much better. I once had a doe take back her kids after she spent five days in the vet hospital due to kidding complications. Her kids had never nursed, but she happily accepted them when we introduced them. And the kids took to nursing as quickly as newborns.

      Reply
    • If a goat is eating, drinking, and walking around, it’s probably fine. The first sign that a goat is sick is usually that it’s laying in a corner and refusing to eat.

      Here is a blog post about winter kidding:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/kidding-in-winter/

      And here is a podcast that just went live yesterday about kidding in cold weather:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/kidding-in-cold-weather/

      You should not need to take the kids inside. We’ve had kids born in sub-zero temperatures. You do need to blow dry them and do the other stuff we talk about in the above article and podcast, but the only time they need to come inside if they have hypothermia, and the first symptom of that is … (what did I say about eating and drinking above?) the kid’s sucking instinct will disappear if it has hypothermia, so it won’t nurse or take a bottle.

      Reply
  89. Thank you so much for this informative site! I have read all of the comments above, and watched your videos.

    I have 3 orphan kids. (Nanny died after 24 hours-vet said infection-very sad to lose a favorite goat!!) They are now 3 1/2 days old. They all three take a bottle great! For the last day, we switched to whole milk, 5 feedings, 8 oz ea. They want more! Last night at the 10 pm feeding, we gave them 10 oz to get thru the night. 10 pm — 6 am Per your advice, they should only be getting 32 oz / day. They weigh ~10 pounds each. They definitely want more. Do you have a suggestion?
    Also, I’m concerned with their safety re. putting them back out with the herd.
    Thank you so much for your time on this site!
    Blessings,
    Maja

    Reply
    • These are Boer/Spanish goats. Two have bonded with each other, the third seems to be a loaner. She was extremely weak when born, and we had brought her inside to feed with a syringe/ bottle until she could stand up–about a day 1/2. She runs around fine now!

      Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear you lost your doe.

      It is not uncommon for kids to act like they’re starving when you give them a bottle. If you are concerned about them getting enough, I’d suggest weighing them so that you know they’re fine. If they do manage to convince you that they are starving, and you give them too much, they’ll get diarrhea, which will go away on its own if you simply give them less milk at their next feeding.

      When you put them with the other goats, it’s best if they are outside so they can run away. If they in an enclosed space, an adult could slam a kid against a wall, which could be dangerous.

      Reply
  90. Hi, is it true that a kids rumen will develop better if mom’s milk is limited to him? My American Alpine doe kidded with triplets 2 weeks ago. They weighed in at 7 lb each. At less than two weeks two of them weighed 11 lbs and one 13 lbs. I am separating at night and taking about half of her milk at a half gallon. The kids get the rest. What if they get too much and the rumen won’t develop well? Supposedly good rumen development = good milk production when they are moms themselves. None of the kids have diarrhea. they frisk about and are fat! I started keeping one of the fat ones back and letting the smaller kid have first choice. Just wondering… Oh, the kids are 50% Nigerian 50% Alpine

    Reply
    • Absolutely NOT true! In fact, it is the opposite of the truth. Milk should NEVER go into the rumen. If it does, it ferments like everything else in the rumen, and it can make them sick. When the kid tips their nose up to nurse that closes the esophageal groove so the milk goes into the second stomach, NOT the rumen. It actually sounds like they are not gaining enough. My Nigerian kids double their weight within two weeks. Larger breeds don’t double quite as fast, but I expect my NDs to gain 4 ounces per day, which is 3.5 pounds in two weeks, and that’s about all two of your kids have gained. Since they are half Alpine, they should be gaining a LOT more. If they don’t get enough milk, they are more likely to have problems with worms and coccidiosis because they have very immature immune systems. I do not recommend separating kids every night until the kids are 2 months old when a doe has triplets.

      Reply
  91. Hello, I just got a 7d old Nigerian dwarf buckling (one of triplets) yesterday. He has been on mama since birth. Once I got him home and settled I noticed he’s making these coughing noises, sneezing and definitely sounds congested. The individual I got him from said that “he was fine before I picked him up and no one else in the herd is sick”. She said she had him on a bottle a couple times, including yesterday, the day I brought him home just to make sure he would take it, which she claims he did.
    His temp was 103.6 at first, which I attributed to stress getting to a new home and situated. Later last night his temp was 103.1 and this morning 102.9
    I tried multiple times last night to get him to take the bottle to which he refused. He finally nursed one time for maybe 10 seconds this morning.
    How long is it safe for him to fight the bottle and not eat before I should tube feed or take him back to mama to nurse? I do not want this kid to die and I know they can fade fast. If temp is still high this afternoon I plan to give an injection of LA 200. I have another 7d old buckling with him that I’ve been bottle feeding (and is doing great) since day that i got from a different person because the doe died from milk fever so he isn’t alone.
    Any other recommendations are appreciated.

    Reply
    • Stories like this make me so sad. No one should pull a kid from mom after a week and sell it as a bottle baby. It is to be expected that dam-raised kids will act like you’re trying to poison them with a bottle. They have no idea what to do. Please watch the video. You just have to hold the bottle in the kid’s mouth while the milk drips in. It is MUCH easier if you have a Pritchard teat because you can squeeze the bottle and drip the milk into the kid’s mouth. It takes quite awhile to get enough milk into the kid, but if you don’t, they will wind up dehydrated, with low blood sugar, and then dead. Right now he is burning off internal fat to stay alive, so no one can predict how long he will live without milk because we don’t know how much internal fat he had.

      Reply
  92. I watched the video a couple times. I will continue to try every hour. He will at least nurse for a short period so is getting a little milk. From what I’ve read in this thread he is hopefully just being very stubborn with the bottle and stressed from environment change. I appreciate your feedback.
    The reason I got him was because he is the runt of the triplets and mom was focusing on the other two and not allowing him to get his adequate share of teat time. The individual prefers not to bottle feed which is why I ended up with him. What’s your feelings on the temp and congestion I’m hearing?

    Reply
    • I just realized my answer never showed up here yesterday. A normal goat temp is pretty much anything between 101.5 and 103, so I would not be worried about that temperature. And I would not worry about a random one a little bit above 103 as long as the goat seems otherwise fine. I can’t comment on what you’re hearing because I’m not hearing it, but as long as a goat is eating, drinking, walking around, and otherwise acting like a goat, I don’t worry too much.

      Reply
  93. We bought a 1 week old buckling who is now 3 weeks old. He was never bottle fed until we got him. He started out being a bit difficult but seemed to be catching on. Then his temperature dropped and was not interested at all. His temp has been back up for at least 2 days but still doesn’t want anything to do with the bottle to the point of thrashing about. I’m trying to force it and he’ll latch on but won’t suck. I’m lucky to get an ounce down. I would welcome any suggestions. Thank you

    Reply
    • What you are describing is not normal. If he had been consuming the correct amount of milk as described in this article, and he now acting like this, there is something wrong, and you need to see a vet for a proper diagnosis. We once had a kid like this, and it did not have a happy ending.

      Reply
  94. Just got three babies today. Two are 4 weeks olds and one is 1 week old. They are not wanting to feed on the bottle. They have been with their moms until I got the. I have tried twice going to wait for the hubby to get home to try again. What suggestions do you have.

    Reply
    • This is so sad. No one should take a kid from its mom and hand it to someone who has zero experience with teaching a kid to take a bottle. Watch the video. You basically have to pry the kid’s mouth open, stick the nipple in, shut the mouth, and then squeeze the bottle to drip the milk into the mouth. Wait for the kid to swallow, squeeze the bottle again, wait for the kid to swallow, etc. This is going to take a LOT of time! You have to have a lot of patience and be very persistent, and the kids need a lot of practice. I had a doe die when her kids were 1 month old, and it took 5-7 days to get the kids all transitioned onto the bottle. Chances are good that the two older ones will wind up with coccidiosis from the stress of this situation, so if they get diarrhea, get them to the vet ASAP. Stories like this sometimes end tragically because it is a big challenge for someone with no goat experience, and some kids wind up starving or dying from coccidiosis. If you don’t have a Pritchard teat and bottle, which is what I”m using in the video, you can buy them at Tractor Supply, and that will make it MUCH easier because you can squeeze the bottle and drip the milk into their mouth. Maybe ask your husband to pick that up on his way home?

      Reply
  95. What temperature does the milk need to be? My baby goat that we are bottle feeding does not seem to like the cold milk or the warm milk?

    Reply
  96. I have 2 Nigerian pygmys, both 2 weeks old.
    They have diarrhea and have been eating 6-8 oz sometimes they eat 9-10oz. 3-4 times a day.
    The first 4days of life they drank their mother’s milk bottle fed by me now they are on replacer and are still behaving normally but I’m concerned about their “dookie bottoms” please advise me . I think from reading as much as I can they may be over eating but I’d like some advice.
    Can they eat hay yet if they were given the option? They were inside for the first 3 days but now are outside together .

    Reply
    • OH, yes, that is way too much! If they can consume 8 ounces, 4 times a day, that would be fine. If they still have diarrhea, cut back to 6 ounces. If they are fine with 8 ounces, you could go up to 10 ounces, 3 times a day, but if they get diarrhea, you need to cut back to only 8 ounces. It is too much milk in one bottle that will cause diarrhea. It’s not unusual for kids to want more milk that they can safely consume — just as adults will eat so much grain that it can make them sick and even kill them.

      You should have hay available for them, although don’t expect them to eat much at all. Right now, they are just learning, so they might pick a piece and spit it out, but they’ll eventually figure out that they can eat it. They usually learn how to eat solid food by watching other goats, so this is one challenge of having bottle babies. If the kids were with mom, they’d have started nibbling at food within a few days of birth.

      Reply
  97. I have just bought a two month old billy. Owner said he was eating good. At new home of course he is scared and unsure of his surroundings. Should I supplement with goats milk for a few days until he is settled.

    Reply
    • You can certainly try, but if he has never had a bottle, odds are very good that he will scream bloody murder and act like you are trying to poison him. At best, he may chew on the nipple. There is a tiny chance that he would actually consume milk from a bottle. A few kids may drink milk from a bowl, but that’s also pretty rare.

      Do you have other goats for him to socialize with? That’s incredibly important for herd animals. They can get very depressed and stop eating without other caprine companionship. In fact, I refuse to sell a single goat to a home without other goats.

      Reply
  98. Wow! So much good information in these comments and replies!!!
    Sadly our doe died during labor and we have 1 surviving true bottle/house baby. 8 days old today.
    When do u suggest offering hay and bowl/bucket of water in addition to bottles of milk?
    Thank you VERY much!!!

    Reply
    • Probably the hardest thing about having a bottle baby is getting them to start eating food and drinking water. They actually learn this from their mom or other goats, so if you keep the kid with you, it’s not uncommon to have one that’s more than a month old and still not wanting anything other than the bottle. When they are with mom, they start nibbling at hay and grass just to imitate her when they are only a few days old. The kid really needs to be around other goats to figure this out in a timely manner. Unfortunately, being around adults can expose them to coccidia without the antibodies in mom’s milk that would normally protect them — unless the kid is getting raw milk from another goat in your herd. If it is getting milk replacer, then coccidiosis is a risk, and many people switch to medicated at 3 weeks of age. (Coccidia life cycle is 3 weeks, and medicated milk replacer interferes with the life cycle. All goats have coccidia, but an overgrowth can cause a problem in a kid.) Here is more info on preventing coccidiosis —
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/preventing-coccidiosis/

      Reply
  99. I have 2 baby goats. A 5 week old doeling and a 6 week old buckling and the buckling can drink water out of the trough but the 5 week old doeling has never touched the water trough. How can I get her to drink out the through?

    Reply
    • As long as they are getting a bottle, it’s not a big deal. And remember that you are not with them 24 hours a day, so she could be taking sips, and you would never know. Two kids that size are not going to drink enough to lower the level on a 2-gallon bucket, much less a water trough. If you do provide a bucket for them, you need to dump the water and refill with clean daily. Goats really do not like dirty water.

      Reply
  100. Our Nigerian had triplets and one is not thriving or growing. It is five weeks old and gets small amount of milk from mother. We bottlefed (using mom’s milk) two ounces once per day and he got diarrhea. We waited two days and tried to bottle feed again and he got diarrhea again. He is very small. Not sure how else to get him nutrition. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • I just created this video three days ago about this very topic. I get this question a lot this time of year.
      https://youtu.be/CIxMIMH-0PY
      If he is five weeks old, he may have coccidiosis at this point, which is the reason for the diarrhea — and he has coccidiosis because he is not getting enough milk so he is stressed, and his immune system just can’t deal with the coccidia. It’s just a coincidence that he got diarrhea after the bottle. He should be getting MUCH more than an extra two ounces per day. You need to weigh him and start keeping track of how much milk he is getting and what he is gaining. Nigerian kids should gain 4 ounces per day. If this is a first freshener, I’m not surprised she doesn’t have enough milk for three kids. And sometimes you just have bad genetics, and they don’t have great production.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much. We watched your video. We are concerned about this little guy. He only weighs 3 lbs. 12 ounces. We’re concerned about supplementing with cow’s milk because he already has diarrhea but we don’t have enough of Mom’s milk to give him what he needs. What would you recommend we do? Three feedings a day of 3 ounces?

        Reply
        • Wow! That’s the size of a newborn! His weight comes out to 60 ounces, so 10-20% would be 6 to 12 ounces per day. Typically with a kid that small, they need to be fed 4 times a day because their tummy isn’t big enough to hold enough at one feeding to only feed them 3 times. So, that would be 2-3 ounces per bottle. If he can take 3 ounces per bottle, that’s great.

          The #1 most common cause for diarrhea in kids from 3 weeks to 5 months of age is coccidiosis, which is a parasite (but NOT a worm), and it can be fatal if left untreated, so you either need to buy a medication at the farm store or call your vet.

          It’s totally fine to use cows milk or a GOAT milk replacer (not a “sheep and goat” or all-stock milk replacer). When used correctly, they really don’t cause diarrhea. We’ve used both with equal success through the years. It would be easier on the kid if you mixed it with whatever goat milk you have so that you aren’t completely changing the milk from one bottle to the next. Here is more info on coccidiosis: https://thriftyhomesteader.com/preventing-coccidiosis/

          Reply
  101. Hi. I have a 10 day old Boer goat kid. She was abandoned by her mother and we found her by a fence while driving around on the farm (we do not have goats). She is doing well on the bottle. I’ve noticed that she has started nibbling on stuff. And I can also feel teeth coming in when she is sucking on my fingers. Can I start giving her small bits of apple and banana? Or would you rather recommend grain/hay or alfalfa? Just thinking that she would enjoy nibbling on something tasty and nutritious rather that nibbling on my furniture. Thanks!

    Reply
    • She should have been born with teeth. When kids are raised by mom, they start nibbling at whatever mom eats when they are only a few days old. That means grass, hay, or goat feed. Grass and hay should make up the majority of a goat’s diet. Definitely not fruit. That is not a normal part of a goat’s diet. Here is more on what goats eat:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/what-do-goats-eat-it-depends/

      It sounds like you may have her in the house, which is not a good idea. She needs to be outside, and she really needs a goat friend. They learn by watching other goats. One of the hardest things to do when you have a goat in this situation is to get her to start eating. Sometimes, even if you have two bottle babies, they are not eating food when they are a month old because they don’t have a role model. Here is an article about having pet goats in the house —
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/should-you-keep-pet-goats-in-the-house/

      Reply
  102. I have 24-month-old Nigerian dwarf goats. I got them at two months of age and they were bottle babies. She said to give them eight ounces 3 times a day and I did that. Then I reduce them to two times a day. But that’s only 16 ounces and they are four months old. I see you recommend feeding them for 5 to 6 months. Should I continue the 16 ounces of milk a day they are eating a little bit of green and nibbling at the hay but that certainly will not replace the milk. What is your suggestion or should I increase this to 32 ounces a day.?

    Reply
    • That was a common recommendation when I got started with goats 20 years ago, but through years of experience and keeping track of kids weight gain, we have learned that more milk is better. Normally when I talk about reducing the number of bottles, I am also reducing the total amount of milk because I am still giving the same amount of milk per bottle. So when I go from 3 bottles a day at about 11 ounces each down to two bottles a day, they are still 11 ounce each. However, most of my kids hit 20 pounds by 8 to 10 weeks of age, so your kids are considerably smaller. It is totally up to you, but I would keep giving them about 32-36 ounce of milk a day until they are closer to 25 pounds, then gradually reduce the milk. Nothing can put weight on them like milk can because there is not any other food that has as much protein and calcium in it, which is what babies need for fast growth. There is nothing wrong with giving them milk for a longer period of time. There are no benefits to weaning, especially when kids weigh only 20 pounds.

      Reply
  103. Correction to previous message. I have two four month old Nigerian dwarf goat wethers. I’m feeding them 8 ounces of mixture of goats milk and formula twice a day. That’s only 16 ounces of milk a day. I’ve never reach 32 ounces a day as you have recommended. What do you recommend I do now. I believe they each weigh about 20 pounds I’ll have to check their weight more accurately.

    Reply
    • Normally when I talk about reducing the number of bottles, I am also reducing the total amount of milk because I am still giving the same amount of milk per bottle. So when I go from 3 bottles a day at about 11 ounces each down to two bottles a day, they are still 11 ounce each. However, most of my kids hit 20 pounds by 8 to 10 weeks of age, so your kids are considerably smaller. It is totally up to you, but I would keep giving them about 32-36 ounce of milk a day until they are closer to 25 pounds, then gradually reduce the milk. Nothing can put weight on them like milk can because there is not any other food that has as much protein and calcium in it, which is what babies need for fast growth. There is nothing wrong with giving them milk for a longer period of time. There are no benefits to weaning, especially when kids weigh only 20 pounds.

      Reply
  104. What is the best kind of hay to feed a four month old Nigerian dwarf goat? And how much should they be eating? They Consume two 8 ounce bottles of milk a day also. Should these goats also have a mineral lick?

    Reply
    • Growing kids can have alfalfa, but once wethers are done with their fast growing, they don’t need the calcium and protein in alfalfa, so they should be switched to grass hay around the time they hit 30 pounds. They can eat as much hay as they want, as well as pasture. In fact, they should have hay and/or pasture available most of the time. Here is more on what goats eat:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/what-do-goats-eat-it-depends/

      Goats should NOT have a mineral block for two reasons. (1) I have never seen a mineral block that has enough minerals in it. (2) Even if it did have enough minerals in it, a goat has a small, soft tongue, and they would not be able to lick enough off the block. Goats should goat-specific minerals (NOT “sheep and goat,” which would have no copper in it at all, so the goats would become copper deficient). And the minerals should be LOOSE minerals. If you just have the two wethers, you can use MannaPro goat minerals, which you can find online or at any Tractor Supply store. I do not recommend them for breeding animals because they don’t have enough copper or selenium in them for good fertility and birthing, but since wethers are not breeding, that’s not a problem for them. Here is more on goat minerals:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goat-minerals/

      Reply
  105. Hello! You know what? You’re absolutely right when you said that we should keep feeding baby goats with milk for up to 24 weeks. This reminds me of my uncle who’s been planning to expand his farm next year. I’ll ask him to consider this option so he’ll make the right purchase later.

    Reply
  106. I have two week-old bottle babies who just started having some sticky, pasty (not liquid, not formed) poop. They’re still running around like normal, but have only just taken to actually drinking from the bottle (had to be made to eat before). I’m feeding about 3oz every 3-4hrs including through the night. It’s only been the last two days I’ve gotten them to take more then 2oz, and only today that they’ve started having sticky loose poop. I don’t feel like I’m over-feeding them since they get about a total of 18-20oz (if anything I’m concerned they’re not getting enough) but it was only when I increased their bottle by an ounce that they started having trouble. Would you expect it to be the change in the amount or something else causing diarrhea?

    Reply
    • It depends on how big the kids are. You didn’t mention their weight, but if these are Nigerians, then you are definitely giving them too much milk, as a 3# kid would only about 10 ounces a day. If they are standard-sized goats, you need to look at their weight and be sure you are not giving them much more than about 20% of their body weight in milk.

      Reply
  107. I have a doe that had triplets a week ago. She is more & more refusing to let the kids nurse. This is her 2nd freshening but the farm I bought her from bottle raises all kids so she has never raised her own. Even on the milk stand she was the most sensitive. I am guessing she doesn’t like the way the kids nurse. She has really long teats & maybe they get back to the molars of the kids or something? Any rate I had starting to milk her & bottle feed the milk to her kids. I just wondered about the amounts listed in the full size goat description above. These are Lamanchas. If they go up to 1L 3 times a day that would be 6L for 2 kids. A lot of goats don’t make that much milk a day and seem to be avle to raise their kids fine. Even if this doe is a gallon a day milked I would expect her raise 2 babies. Maybe a triplet might need a supplement. Do you have any more thoughts on the 1L 3 times a day?

    Reply
    • Remember that they only need 20% of their body weight, and the 3L would be where you max out. It’s been awhile since I raised LMs, but it would be a while before they needed that much milk. There is no way one week old kids could consume 3L.

      I am also wondering if you are misinterpreting what you are seeing. For the first few days, moms do stand there for a crazy long time while the kids are learning to nurse. But then they start to walk away when the kids are nursing. This does not mean that they are rejecting them. If you hang out with them for a long time, you will see that they nurse VERY frequently through the day. But if she is grabbing them by the tail and tossing them across the barn, that’s rejection.

      Hopefully you weighed them at birth and have been continuing to weigh them. That would be the best indication as to whether they are getting enough milk. You need to weigh them anyway, if you are planning to bottle-feed so that you know how much milk they need.

      Just because she didn’t nurse her first kids does not mean that she won’t nurse these. We’ve had does that rejected their first kids turn into fabulous moms after that.

      Reply
  108. We have a 5 week old who was rejected by mom 2 weeks ago. We had her taking a bottle, no she is refusing. We can only get about 2 oz a time into her. She has access to hay and a pasture. We feed 2x a day grain. What can we do to get her to eat better? We don’t wanna lose her.

    Reply
    • Just keep trying. There is no substitute for persistence and patience on your part and practice for her. If she only takes 2 ounces, give her another bottle in 2-3 hours until her daily total adds up to what she needs. Eventually she will be excellent at it. About six years ago, we had a doe die when her triplets were a month old. For a week, they acted like I was trying to poison them, and they didn’t get much milk, which was of course very stressful. But they finally realized this was a great way to get yummy milk, and they turned into typical bottle babies.

      Reply
  109. I 100% agree with you that a kid is best left on it’s mum. I fail to understand why some people insist on taking the kid from it’s mum when there is no difficulty with the mum’s milk, condition, or attitude.

    Reply
  110. I’ve got a timing question, and am hoping it wasn’t addressed in the comments – I tried to review them to see if any of them answered my question, but couldn’t find it. 🙂

    When you say in your post that you “max out” at 32 ounces… for how long do you feed that max amount? Do you taper that at some point, either according to weight gain or access to hay/pasture? What does your “feed curve” look like? 🙂

    Reply
    • We continue three bottles per day at 11 ounces each until they are about 6 weeks old. Then we switch to two bottles a day at 16 ounces each, which they can usually tolerate at that point without getting diarrhea. I would not reduce that amount until they weigh at least 20 pounds, and remember they are Nigerian, so a larger breed would need to weigh more.

      After that, things get more practical than mathematical. If the kids are sold, they are usually weaned. If the kids are staying here, and we have the milk, we keep feeding them the two bottles a day until my husband goes back to school (teaching) in the fall, and then drop back to only the morning bottle.

      Baby goats start eating when they are only a few days old, so that does not figure into the equation at all. Nothing can provide as much protein and calcium as milk.

      Reply
  111. I have two bottle kids and they are a month old. I cannot find anywhere what they should be eating other than milk. I have offered alfalfa, but they are not into it. They are getting 4 bottles a day, about 8 oz. and I am about to move down to 3 bottles a day at about 10oz. What else can I offer them to eat? Should I be offering something else? I have tried looking this up so many times and I am not finding much of anything!

    Reply
    • If these are your only goats, that’s the problem. Kids learn to eat by watching their mother. When they are raised by mom, they are nibbling on hay, grass, and grain within a few days of birth. There isn’t anything you can do to make them eat. Just keep the alfalfa available for them. They pick up things in their mouths to explore the world and eventually figure out what’s good to eat and what’s not. They also need free choice minerals. I don’t normally recommend MannaPro for breeding animals, but you didn’t say if they were wethers or not. In any case, MannaPro has the smallest bag of minerals available, so you can get that for now. If you are breeding, you can get a better mineral in six months or at least a couple of months before you plan on breeding.

      Here is more on goat minerals:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/changes-in-purina-and-sweetlix-goat-minerals/

      And here is more on what goats eat, because it depends on what gender and whether they are breeding, pregnant, or milking:
      https://thriftyhomesteader.com/what-do-goats-eat-it-depends/

      Reply
      • Hi,
        I took in an orphan, 10-day old 3/4 myotonic, 1/4 Nubian bottle baby, weighs 6.5#. The people I got her from were feeding 12 ounces of milk replacer 4 times daily. Based on the info I’ve found on your site, that sounds like too much. However, she does not seem to be suffering any ill effects (diarrhea, etc.) from this volume & seems healthy and happy. Should I reduce her intake? I don’t want to inadvertently over feed. She has access to pasture and grain, as well, and is nibbling on both.
        At the same time, we also got 2 1-year old myotonic goats, 1 male and 1 female. Both appear to be anemic per FAMACHA charting & saw visible worms in one of their stools, so I dewormed them. I’m worried about keeping baby safe until she can be dewormed also, which I have found is at about 8 weeks of age. Again, both seem to be doing well, are not underweight, and no diarrhea.
        Thank you for such an informative site!

        Reply
        • That is the birth weight of a kid that’s a cross between those two breeds, so I’m thinking that the weight is wrong if the kid is drinking that much. If you are using a bathroom scale, that’s not usually accurate, so you need to use a digital kitchen scale, a human baby scale, or a hanging dairy scale or something that’s made to be precise with smaller weights. I just can’t imagine a kid at that weight consuming that amount of milk without getting diarrhea.

          Seeing visible worms in the poop would be tapeworms as they are the only ones that are visible to the naked eye. And tapeworms almost never make goats sick. They do NOT cause anemia at all. Anemia is caused only by barber pole worm or coccidia. You should NEVER deworm a goat just because. ALL goats have worms. You cannot get to 0 worms unless your goats live in a sterile room. Goats pick up worms from eating grass that has worm larvae on it. They do not get worms from other goats. She would get worms after the goats poop on the pasture, and the worm eggs in the poop hatch on the pasture and the larvae mature to the infective stage on the grass, and then she eats the grass. You should ONLY treat a goat that is actually sick from worms — like goats with anemia or diarrhea. You don’t need to worry about keeping the baby safe from the others any more than you need to worry about keeping them save from themselves. Pasture rotation is the key. If your goats are on pasture and pooping out worm eggs, then those eggs will hatch, and the goats will just reinfect themselves with more larvae. I have a course on parasites and will be doing a live training tomorrow night — https://thriftyhomesteader.teachable.com/p/parasites-in-goats/ There are already several hours of lectures and interviews in the course.

          Here is an article about dewormer resistance, which explains why you don’t want to use a dewormer as a preventative:
          https://thriftyhomesteader.com/dewormer-resistance-in-goats/
          The kid can be given a dewormer whenever it’s needed, but it takes time for a goat to get a load of parasites that is so heavy that it negatively affects their health, and you don’t normally see goats with worm problems until they are at least several weeks old. However, if you manage the goats correctly, most goats should never need a dewormer in their entire lives.

          Reply
  112. Thank you very much for the information. It was really helpful when deciding to take a kid away from its momma. We had a runt that was almost 1/2 the size of the others (1 of 5). She did okay with mamma for the first 12 hours but was showing deterioration and weight loss (when other siblings were all gaining weight). I ended up bringing her inside and bottle feeding her – first electrolytes and then milk from her momma. The issue was she was so small she couldn’t get a good latch onto her mom. She improved after 3 feedings (energy), and started pooping and peeing (good sign things moving). After 3 days, I was able to return her to mom; who accepted her and started licking and allowing her to nurse. Thank you again for your article. Out of all my web searching, yours was most helpful. I feel the decision to take her in and feed ourselves saved her life. She is now almost the birth weight of her siblings and growing daily.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you found our information helpful! Remember to continue to monitor their weight to be sure everyone continues to gain well.

      Reply
    • There are many reasons why a doe could reject a kid, and I wouldn’t necessarily say she’s a bad mother, so definitely give her more than one chance. If a first freshener has a traumatic birth experience with a lot of intervention, odds are good that she will reject the kids because of the trauma. We once had a doe reject a kid when she gave birth unexpectedly in the pasture and our livestock guardian dog decided to help by cleaning up one of them. The poor doe was so freaked out, I found her and the other kid on the other side of the pasture. If a kid is nursing incorrectly without the tongue covering the lower teeth, that will hurt the doe, and she will understandably not want the kid to nurse because it hurts. Luckily almost all kids figure this out quickly, so this is usually a short-lived problem.

      If a doe does this two or three times and you can’t figure out a reason, then you might just consider selling her to a farm that bottle raises all of their kids. They will appreciate the fact that she’s not interested in mothering.

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  113. I have a two 6 week old doelings. Their mother died unexpectedly. I check on the goats every couple days and I didn’t see the mother and babies the time before when I came down. I wasn’t worried about it though because she was a very good mother, she kept to herself a lot, often hiding in the brush. When we found the babies they may not have been fed for 2-3 days. One was very weak, she was walking around, but you could tell not well. The other one looked great and she was running around eating grass. I’ve been bottle feeding them for almost 2 weeks. I was able to save the little weak one and she’s doing awesome. The other one is doing great, but I can hardly get her to drink milk. I’m up to feeding them 16 oz 3 times a day and I can barely get her to eat 8-12oz a day. She would much rather eat grass especially clover, it’s her favorite. She looks healthy, but she just won’t drink the milk. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Reply
    • It’s not an either/or thing as in they consume either forage or milk. So it doesn’t mean that she prefers forage over milk if she’s having trouble taking the bottle. It’s just that she’s not used to it. Whenever you switch dam-raised kids to a bottle, there is always a transition. It’s awesome that you’ve made such progress! I had a doe die when her kids were a month old, and it took me a week to get them all taking the bottle well. It’s not clear how long ago you got started, but anything less than a week ago, and you’re doing great! Just keep trying, and she’ll get the hang of it.

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  114. More than once now I have had a doe allow a kid, who is not her own kid, to nurse. One time the doe’s kid didn’t survive and another time the die (first freshening) rejected her own kid but allowed other kids to nurse her. I asked my vet and she was stumped. All my does are related at least by 3rd generation. (The bucks I have used are not related.) Have you ever seen this?

    Reply
    • This typically happens within the first 24 hours of birth. When a doe has the raging hormones associated with birth, she’ll often let any kid nurse. This is one reason we use kidding stalls so that a doe and her kid can get bonded before they are put together with the herd. We usually leave them in the kidding stalls for at least 4-5 days. Kids will try to nurse off other does, but once a doe is a day or two past kidding, almost none will let another kid nurse from them. Rather than rejecting her own kid, I am wondering if your doe’s own kid simply had trouble learning to nurse, which can also happen. This is another great reason to have kidding stalls. And I also weigh all of the kids daily for the first two weeks.

      On the plus side — I once had two does in labor at exactly the same time. I put them in a large stall together. One had 5 and the other had 1, and it was a piece of cake to convince both mamas that they should let all the kids nurse from them. Since I was there at the birth, I knew which kids went with which moms for the pedigrees, and it was great that I didn’t need to bottle-feed any.

      Our sheep lamb in the pasture, and we have had all kinds of crazy situations if two ewes give birth around the same time. It’s not unusual to have no clue which lambs belong to which ewes. (Since our lambs are going to be meat, pedigree doesn’t matter.) It really has nothing to do with the ewe rejecting the lamb — it has to do with the lambs getting accustomed to nursing from another ewe. One year we had a ewe lamb with twins, and I saw another ewe in the pasture with her and thought nothing of it. The next morning, she was nursing one of those lambs, plus her two that had been born overnight, which was really frustrating because she couldn’t produce enough to feed three, so we wound up bottle-feeding one. We even tried putting the ewes in the barn, and we couldn’t get the original ewe to let her lamb nurse again because it had been too long since she gave birth, and the hormones just weren’t there any longer.

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