**Please welcome Meghan to the blog! Meghan blogs at The Organic Goat Lady, she is here to teach us why, what, and how to bottle-feed a baby goat. This comes at a great time for our homestead since we just welcomed our first baby goat! We are all super excited, I am not sure if it’s more for the milk or for the cute creature!
I am very excited to share with you my passion for raising dairy goats and to show you how and why I bottle-feed my baby goats!
Now let me first state that not everyone bottle-feeds their baby goats. Some do leave them with the mother so that she can feed them herself. This is easier, but I choose not to do this. Let me explain why I separate baby and mama.
Why Should I Bottle-Feed?
The first reason that I bottle feed my baby goats is because my goats are dairy goats. This means that I will be milking them for my family. I milk the mama goat twice a day, give the baby what it needs in a bottle, and keep the rest for my family.
The second reason that I bottle-feed, is that I sell my babies to those that are either planning on milking goats themselves or showing goats.
My goats are registered dairy goats and come from good show lines. While I do not show myself, some of my customers do. Nobody that shows goats wants a goat that was dam raised (dam raised means that a goat was nursed by its mother).
Dam raised kids tend to be more skittish and not as trusting of people. Bottle fed babies on the other hand love people and look at the person that bottle fed them as their mother!
If you are going to show or milk a goat you definitely want it to be bottle-fed. It will make your life much easier if you have a people friendly, gentle goat!
What To Feed the Babies:
I personally only give my baby goats raw goats milk straight from their mother. I know that some people give their baby goats powdered goat milk, but I would never do this unless I had no other option. I have heard too many stories of the powdered stuff inducing diarrhea, causing failure to thrive etc. I feel like the healthiest and hardiest goats are raised on fresh raw goats milk.
Now, that being said, what do you do if for some reason you can not get fresh raw milk? In that case, I would first buy regular store bought goat milk to feed the babies before using powder. If that was unavailable, I would use store bought cows milk.
Fortunately, I have never been in a situation where I could not get fresh milk for my babies. When you have as many goats as I do in milk, you always have plenty of milk for the baby goats as well as your family!
Something else that is very important when it comes to choosing your baby goat’s milk is colostrum. It is crucial that your baby goat drinks colostrum within the first hour after birth. This is important for the health of your baby and will give it the best start to life possible!
How To Bottle-Feed:
Ok, now that we know why and what to feed the baby, let’s talk about how to feed the baby.
What You Will Need:
First, what type of bottle should you use?
This might sound weird, but I actually use a soda bottle to feed my babies with.
My family doesn’t drink Soda so we buy the bottles during kidding season and dump the soda out. Then after rinsing them very well, I fill them with fresh milk, add a nipple, and it’s ready to go!
I use these Pritchard Teat Nipples that screw right onto a soda bottle. Just cut the very tip off of your nipple to make sure that the milk can come out.
Step by Step:
1. To feed the newborn baby, sit him or her on your lap. As the baby grows it will eventually take the bottle standing up. But at the beginning, the baby is wobbly and just learning to eat, so it’s a lot easier to sit it on your lap.
2. Hold the neck of the bottle in between your thumb and forefinger with the nipple in your palm. Using the palm of the same hand to cup the baby’s chin.
3. Cup your other hand on the back of the baby’s head.
4. Using your fingers of the hand holding the bottle, push the nipple into the baby’s mouth from the side.
Once the baby tastes the milk it should start to suck. If he is not interested, wait a few minutes and try again. Don’t panic if it won’t drink very much at first. Just keep trying and eventually, he will get the hang of it!
I’ve had babies suck down half a bottle right after birth and others that didn’t act interested at all.
You can leave the baby’s bottle out at room temperature for quite a while. If you do end up refrigerating it, be sure to warm it in hot water before feeding it to the baby. You can test it on your wrist just like you would for your own baby.
If you would like to watch me bottle-feed a baby goat (or if you would just like to see some cute baby goats:), please watch my video How To Bottle-Feed Your Newborn Goat.
You can find additional newborn goat care tips and a free printable bottle-feeding schedule in my post How To Care For Your Newborn Goat post.
And that’s it! By following the above steps you have given your baby goat a very good start! Now you can cuddle and enjoy your newborn fuzzy bundle!
If you have any questions about this post or the steps given, please let me know!
Thanks for reading and happy kidding season!
Hi, my name is Meghan, also known as The Organic Goat Lady. I am an Aromatherapist, Health Coach, homeschooling mother of four and a homesteader. My goal is to raise a healthy family while being as self-sufficient as possible. And, as the title of today’s post implies, I also raise dairy goats!