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Goats/New kid taking bottle


We just got 2 infant kids. One 2 days old, the other 3 days old.  Was on mom till we picked them up this morning.  They just are not interested in a bottle.  How long do we keep trying before we panic.  We maybe have got half an ounce down them each today! We are not giving up, but sure do  not want to wait if there is something we can be doing!  We have regular baby bottles, warming the goat formula!  Any advice is appreciated!

HI Delise..
Now is the time to be concerned..  The previous owner should have given you a couple gallons of  the mom's milk to send you off with these kids..  reasons why a baby will not take a bottle can vary..  milk not warm enough.. milk replacer used instread of milk (A BIG nono),  nipple not  to the kid's liking..
They are stressed from leaving their mom..  so this is one big  issue.. as well..
patience is needed with them .. and making sure they get nutrition..  try to stick your finger in some molasses and into the mouth to get them to suckle..  this also will add some  sugar to  the baby for instant energy - no molasses? try karo syrup..

I have a great article on bottle feeding baby goats-  the beginning of it as follows:
Feeding Bottle Baby Goats

The most important thing I can stress when feeding bottle baby goats is to try and do what a natural goat mom would do- The first few days goat moms allow the babies to eat many times per day but if you watch them they only eat a small amount each time, as they get older, mom will only stand to allow them to nurse for a certain amount of time and then walk away- so babies learn to eat more at each feeding - giving bottle babies 2 or 3 huge bottles a day in the first weeks is not only harmful for the baby's digestive system but really not fair to the baby.
After they receive colostrum (Mother's first milk) For the first 24 hours of life, bottle fed kids should be fed fresh (or frozen) goat's milk if at all possible. If you cannot get fresh goat's milk, you can use whole (not 2%) cows milk from the store. I do not recommend using fresh cow's milk UNLESS you know for a fact the farm is certified because the transfer of Johne's or CAE to a baby goat from the cow's milk is possible. In a PINCH You CAN use Canned milk ONLY if you read the ingredients- do NOT used what is called FILLED Evaporated milk- Many canned milks are part soy, Never use this. Use only whole canned milk if you need to.(Diluted in half with water) Carnation canned cow's milk is whole milk without soy and is safe to use.
Milk Replacers Kill Baby Goats!!- Milk Replacers KILL Baby Goats!!! MILK REPLACERS KILL BABY GOATS!!!!!
I know this is ridiculous to put this way BUT Please people.. Trust me.. while there may be an unusual case of milk replacers NOT killing baby goats BUT they do more than they do not Unless the breeder is able to get the scouring baby turned around before they die! I cannot stress this hard enough.
Real whole milk, even raw milk from a cow, is much better for them than milk replacer , which can cause diarrhea and floppy kid syndrome. Very often, problems with bottle fed kids stem from the use of milk replacer. I cannot tell you how many emails and phone calls I get a week (sometimes so many in just a DAY) from gals who are losing kids due to kid milk replacers- Even the "best" replacers. "Even" the ones that say "kid replacer" Just don't use them. They are expensive and really not your best choice.

Getting Baby Goat to Accept the Bottle
Here is where patience comes in handy. "Some" baby goats will not want a bottle and to get them to accept it can be extremely frustrating. Don't get mad at him because he is more confused than you are at this point. YOU know you are trying to feed him, he knows this is Not right. Patience please. Hold the bottle in such a way that the baby feels as if it is secure (See photos below). Sometimes you have to actually open his mouth and insert the nipple. Eventually he will realize this is milk and he is hungry and this will fill his tummy. Make sure the milk is warm enough- many babies prefer milk warmer than tepid- not as warm as a cup of coffee but not tepid and Never Cold! Cold milk can cause a tummy ache. What ever you do .. do NOT allow the baby to Not nurse because it becomes difficult and make them wait until next feeding because by then they will be hungry enough to eat. You will end up with a weak baby goat who will still balk at the bottle and when he does eat this time will gulp too fast and become sick. Nip it in the bud right at first and help him realize this is a good thing.. Patience! Loving words and encouragement.
The "natural" way a baby eats is head tilted up. Baby Goats have what is called the rumino-reticular groove that is in the esophagus. This valve closes off the rumen and allows the milk to flow directly into the abomasum. The baby goat's 4 chambered stomach is not yet functional - he is basically a mono-gastric animal at a young age.

Read the entire article as it is also illustrated with photos of differtent nipples, how to hold the bottle etc..  PLUS a starter schedule for feeding..



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Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.


23 years experience of raising goats and herd management. Active hands on experience with goat herd and research with various Caprine University Research and Extension Centers nationwide. 15 years dedicated to helping other goat breeders/owners with goat anatomy, goat disease and goat health care issues via phone, published goat care articles and internet interaction. The information I have to offer is not only from personal experience and years of research updated often as new information is made available to me, but supported by many Veterinary Research colleges and all medications and information I have to offer on how the medications work and what dosages "I" use, is information I have acquired by discussing directly with the company's veterinarians and staff research experts.

12 year active member of International Veterinary Information Service

United Caprine News, Homesteaders Magazine, Columnist for Goat Magazine, Owner and Author of GoatPedia™

Graduate Programs in Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University

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