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Goats/Newborn goat not eating and cow milk question


I have a 3 day old Kiko doeling who has never nursed. No matter how patiently we try to help her learn where it is, she just won't latch on. I decided to bottle feed her, but she won't latch on to a bottle either so I've been tube feeding her. Problem is that I'm not sure that I'm doing enough for her. I give her as much as I can get from mom (about 12oz/day at 3.8 does NOT like being milked...), but she's still running around bleating loudly. I did have to enema her at first because she couldn't pass the meconium. Oh and mom decided today that she won't accept her. She's not mean, she just won't let her anywhere near her udders, but the twin boy nurses just fine.

I guess I just want to make sure I'm not missing something. Am I just worrying too much? Will she eventually start eating on her own or will I most likely have to keep tube feeding her (I hate it!!!)?

And I am going to have to switch to cow milk soon. Do I give her what I can buy from the store, or would it be better to get whole raw milk from the certified dairy up the road?

HI Armywife05:

No, you aren't worrying too much,  as a matter of fact you are right to be concerned esp at this  early time in her life -

How is she acting  other  than being  tube fed? Is she playing? active or laying around ? What nipple are you using? Some babies are very picky about the nipple and the temp of the milk  (they seem to prefer warmer than cooler ) try warming it more.. change the nipple - change the opening in the nipple.. some like it to all but pour out.. some prefer it tighter so they have to suck harder  

ANY time you can get  whole fresh milk from a diary is better than store bought - of course milking mom is the best but if this is not going to happen, the cow dairy milk is better.

I have an article on bottle feeding  babies.. take a look at the nipples,
The hole in most nipples is too small and may need to be enlarged. The black lamb nipple had cross cuts already in it but may need to be enlarged. I just grab the tip and stretch it a tiny bit to enlarge the slits already there. The natural rubber nipples have small holes in them and they are a bit more difficult to enlarge- a heated needle works well. The Pritchard teat comes with NO HOLE in it.. the very tip must be cut off.. Careful not to cut too much or you will have a mess and ruin the nipple. The idea is to make baby have to suck but not so hard it gets tired trying to get any milk out. You don't want the baby to choke on a flow of milk that is too much.  I use beer bottles for the rubber nipples, just stretch it over the top of the bottle (It makes milk flow better if you poke a small hole right where the nipple comes away from the bottle at the base of the nipple for air flow and ease of milk flow so the nipple does not collapse) With the Pritchard teat you need a bottle  with threads since it screws on to the bottle. Some flavored water bottles have threads.

and how I hold it - (this sometimes also makes a difference when you touch the nose as the baby eats)  

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.

Just a Guideline, adjust to your baby's size and appetite- a well fed baby's stomach should feel full but not tight. Watch the baby poop- scouring means too much milk and not pooping can mean gut distress - keep enema supplies on hand and CD ANTI toxin (which is NOT the same as your CDT toxoid vaccine) which can literally save your baby's life if needed and it is typically not found at your local feed stores- excepting some Tractor Supply stores. You may have to order it thought Jeffers
(Now available in 50ml bottles instead of just the 250ml bottles)
Fill your baby bottle with a measured amount of milk , allow baby to nurse until the stomach feels full and not tight- then RE-measure what is left in the bottle- Subtract what he ate and this is a good starting point, as the baby grows they will need more milk less often- trying to feed newborn baby goats 2 or 3 times a day and filling the belly up with 8 ounces of milk right from the get go will make him sick- too much and not often enough so the baby will gorge itself with the milk when he finally gets it- TRY to mimmick mom-
Guideline for Bottle Baby Dairy Goat Feeding Schedule
Pygmy and Nigerian Goat Baby Amounts in [ ]:

* Day one- 2-4oz. [1-3] (per feeding) colostrum, every 2-3 hours.
* Day two- 3 oz. [2-3] (per feeding) colostrum if you have it or whole milk, 8-10 times a day
* Day three- 4 oz.[3] (per feeding) colostrum if you have it or whole milk, 8 times a day
* Day four- 6oz. [4-5] (per feeding) whole milk, 7-8 times a day.
* Week One - 6-8oz [4-5] (per feeding) whole milk, 7-8 times a day.
* For the next 2 weeks-6-8oz.[4-6] (per feeding) whole milk, 6 times a day.
* For the next 2 months-10-12 oz.[6-8] (per feeding)whole milk, 4-5 times a day.
* For the next 1 month or 6 weeks-10-12 oz. [6-8] (per feeding)whole milk, 3 times a day.
* 10-12 oz. [8-10] (per feeding) once a day for the next 2 months.

This is JUST a guideline- Adjust as needed - start with the recommended amount and feel the baby's tummy- Stop when it feels full but not tight- measure what is left in the bottle and feed what the baby ate- as the baby grows add to that amount according to size.

When dealing with larger babies and babies over 2 weeks of age you can go by baby weight. Figure 15% of the kid's weight in milk spread over a 24 hour period. A 10lb kid "could " get away with 4 feedings at 6 ounces each totaling 24 ounces which is about 15% of the body weight in milk- a 15lb kid would need a total of 36oz a day in 9 ounce feedings 4 times per day- this again is a guideline and needs to be increased gradually. Any time you bottle feed a young kid under 2 weeks old it is ideal if possible to offer smaller feedings more often but in the case of working parents this may not always be possible.

I just now noticed my website is having issues  and have contacted my servers to fix this -  but this is the gist of the article -

try  these things and remember - changing ANY feeding esp for bottle babies needs to be done gradually so  when you change her over start with 2/3 what she is eating now and 1/3 the new milk - next day half and half -  3rd day 1/3 old milk and 2/3 new milk - 4th day all new milk source -

Let me know how this works out for you  - ALSO Will she suck on your finger?  If so put your finger in her mouth let her suck then slip the nipple in next to it and remove finger - ALSO  have you checked for cleft palate?

If you have further questions please contact me again -  


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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.

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