Bottle feeding baby goats. Easy as pie.
Step One. Acquire baby goats.
Step Two: March out there boldly with your battle .. I mean.. bottle feeding implements.
Step Three: Insert bottle into baby goat mouth ....and let them do all the work.
Maybe I'm doing something wrong but this works for us.
The other day I read yet another account of a 'heart broken' baby goat owner who was obviously scammed by a seller - their new baby goat was not bottle trained. They were complaining that they couldn't get the baby to drink from the bottle. They actually wanted their money back and called the seller a liar. Beggin' your pardon, friend, but maybe the problem isn't that baby goat, maybe it's you.
This post provides a detailed explanation of the how's and why's of bottle feeding baby goats and it includes a fun video.
The main keys for success seem to be:
Be the udder. Get low. Hunker Down.
1. Be the udder. Your baby goat is instinctively looking for legs and an udder. Not some big, weird, two legged person waving some kind of scary plastic thing in her face. Do not pick her up. Instead, get low. Hunker down. Act like an udder.
2. If you don't have goat milk you can use regular old, full fat, cow milk from the store.
3. We prefer to feed "little and often" - little creatures do best when they have a lot of small meals instead of two big meals. This keeps their blood sugar stable, keeps their body temperatures warm (if its cold weather), and frankly - we believe - is kind of soothing.
4. There are all kinds of charts and graphs about how much you should feed. Mostly we feed them until they are full and a little milk drunk. But you don't want to over feed or they could get sick.
5. I think folks get hung up on technique. Or maybe they just give up to easily. Make sure the milk comes out of the bottle easily - especially at first. You want them to suck the milk down, but the milk should come easily or the babies will give up. Don't be afraid to make the hole in the nipple bigger so the milk flows easily.
There is a lot of goofin' around but they are just happy.
There have been actual fist fights over what kind of nipples goat people use for their bottles. Of course we cant abide by that kind of nonsense so we just used puppy bottles. You heard me - puppy bottles just like these PetAg Complete Nursing Kit 4oz:
Your other option, if you have an uncooperative momma goat, is to find someone else to feed your babies. Both Debbie and Dahli, our full sized La Mancha goats, are kind of good sports and will allow other babies to nurse off them.
That's Dahli - not their momma. She will do anything for snacks.
When I say "good sports" I mean that I'm bigger than they are and they just have to stand there while I hold them. And let's face it - both of those gals will do anything for snacks. So I just call them up to the milk stand, pour on the goat food, and while they are stuffing their faces I just sneak the little ones under them and let the babies nurse.
Some people would argue that there are a lot of reasons to only bottle feed baby goats. We don't believe these reasons ("the babies won't be snugly enough!") and our goats do not have the communicable diseases that are passed from momma to babies. So we are very happy to have our goats do all the work.
Happy, well fed baby goats should be skip poppin' like this!
But even I have to admit.... the baby goats are pretty darn cute when they are getting their sips. Of all the farm chores feeding baby goats is one of the best jobs.
Happy Saturday everyone! Are you bottle feeding baby goats yet?
ps. If you are new to goats and need a reference, I really love Storey's Guide to Goats. It's a great all around book with good common sense information. You can find more farm tools and references from my Amazon store here. Don't see what you need? Just use the Amazon search box on the right to purchase what you were going to buy anyway. Anything you purchase from these links will help support this blog and won't cost you a penny more. Thanks!