I am going to start bottle feeding my 4 - 2 week old kids. But before I do I have a few questions. We have bottle fed 2 kids in the past, but they came to us already started on the bottle.
We have about 6 goats we absolutely have to get rid of, I am tired of chasing them around all over the place, and they are not very tame. They will come and take feed out of our hands, but that is about it. They will find any way they can to get loose, and getting them back is a pain. I have the 3 mama's and their babies confined just to keep them from running and the babies going with them. We decided to go ahead and try to let the mama's feed their babies, and still try and human raise the kids... but what is happening is because the mama's are skittish, the kids are getting harder and harder to try and tame. So the mama's are going!! Since we have so many tame goats now, there is no way I am going to tolerate skittish goats or chasing them all over the place several times on a daily basis. I am worn out..LOL. So my 3 questions are:
1) I know babies are taken away from their mama's at birth all the time and separated, bottle fed or whatever, I just want to make sure at 2 weeks old, this is not going to stress the babies out too much.
2) Should I be feeding them two or three times a day at 2 weeks old. I forgot when it should be cut down to 2 days.
3) We know someone who we can get goats milk from, as all they raise are dairy goats and they have plenty. We fed our others 2% milk and I am assuming feeding these guys goats milk would be better or would be fine, I just want to make sure. It would be a lot cheaper for us to get them the goats milk than to go through 2 gallons of 2% or whole milk a day. (I go through that amount with my kids... (the human kind..LOL) Which by next year we will be able to get our own goats milk.
I'm kind of a newbie, but just thought I'd give my two cents. I would definately start the bottle feeding before you get rid of the moms. That way, if you absolutely can't get them to take a bottle, at least you have a backup in the next barn. I would probably also seperate them from their moms when you start the bottle feeding, thinking that if they get hungry enough, it will be more reason to take the bottle, and also reduce the chance of nipple confusion. Yes, they will be stressed by being taken away, so you'll need to watch for diarrhea-in case the coccidia start getting rampent. Then, it's onto a sulfa drug....but I think you are familiar with that as I think I've read a post where you've been in that boat.
We fed a kid for awhile, actually bought goats milk at the store and the began diluting it down with whole milk. there is a butter milk/evaporated milk/whole milk concontion that was said not to cause diarrhea.
Can't blame you for wanting rid of those! I've put a few of the wild ones down the path myself!
I didn't understand whether or not you were allowing the babies to be dam raised or if you were already bottle feeding and just letting the babies stay with their dams the rest of the time. If you are already bottle feeding, it won't be a problem taking the moms away. The babies will probably yell for a couple of days but they'll learn to look to you for everything as long as you hold the food! If they've been nursing it will take some effort to get them to feed from a bottle. That will take time and patience and more than a little luck.
I feed my babies free choice from a bucket feeder but I think people who bottle feed are down to twice a day by two weeks of age and the babies are getting about a quart a feeding. It's best to wait for someone who bottle feeds regularly to give you some info on that before you etch what I've said in stone!!
Given the choice, always feed goat's milk to the babies. That's what it's meant for!! In an emergency the cow's milk will do the job but if you can get the goat's milk and get it cheaper than cow's milk, then you're ahead all around!!
I have both bottle fed and dam raised. I also use that red and yellow nipple I believe it is called a pritchard flutter valve nipple. It works great for little breeds like the pygmies and nigerians. I would recommend starting the babies at three times a day as they are used to getting a sip any time they want. I do not have a set schedule as to when I change to two feedings. I start my newborns on four times a day and see how they are doing. You will be able to tell yourself how you think they are doing and if they are eating grain and hay. I usually let the babies eat as much as they want at each feeding up to no more than one quart a day. I hope this will give you some idea. I am flexible with my goats and kind of go with the flow.We are raising a one week old nubian right now. She was apparently a bit premature, no teeth, soft hooves, undable to stand, etc. She could such though and now is jumping all over the place doing well.
I would get rid of the moms right away. Them hollering for their babies is going to make this transition even harder. Some will take the bottle the very first time you offer it, others you may quite literally have to starve. It is not uncommon for mama nursed kids to go 24 hours before they are hungry enough to take the bottle. I place them in my lap, front legs over one leg, rear legs over the back, using my left hand place it over their nose and mouth and force their mouth open. Place the bottle nipple into their mouth clamping their mouth down on the nipple. Some kids will start sucking others you will have to squeeze the plastic soda bottle you have the milk in, or mash on their nose/mouth in a sucking motion. They will not starve. I would also not let them have any grain or hay, until they are on the bottle. It really is a battle of wills sometimes. This is why we always take the babies away instantly, in some instances they never even see mom.
I seem to remember reading that for bottle feeding kids that of course, the best is goats milk, second best is cows milk and formula is third choice. I only go with goats milk either by dam raising or milking the goat and bottling the kids so I don't have any personal experience with this. Anyhow, have any of you raised a goat on cows milk, if so how did the babies do?
Of course if you can get goats milk that is the best. If you don't have a goat to milk though Cows milk is fine. We feed with 2% cows milk and everything is fine!! No problems. Some people will start off with whole cows milk and then switch to 2% after about a week or so.
We have bottle fed one of ours using whole cows milk from the store and she is just fine and we weaned her about 2 months ago. She is a little smaller than her sister who got her mothers milk but otherwise, you would never know.
Just my opinion, but I would never feed 2% milk to my worst enemy, much less my precious goats. They take all the good fat out and leave a caulky water.
- I might have to disagree with you on that one...(smile)..But really I think it is just a matter of preference as far as the goats go. Anyone I talk to that bottle feeds, most bottle feed with 2%. As far as my family, I would not feed them whole cows milk for anything. Way too much fat. My hubby had a bout with very high triglycerides..over 700 actually. Had to cut that fat right out. Milk was the first thing to get cut. Per the Dr. said no way on the whole cows milk!
I am looking for a bottle holder for newborn goats so that once they get used to bottle drinking I can put the baby bottle in a holder and attach to a sydell pen system. This will free me up to do other work while feeding the babies.
I know this may sound a bit bizarre, but it's cheap, washable and an inexpensive method. When I had a bunch of bottle lambs, (note - I was too cheap to get/make a lambar bucket) I got sick of holding bottles, so what I did was take a bunch of clean old socks, cut a hole in the bottom so the nipple could stick through, and I'd go to each pen and load a warm bottle into a sock - tie the sock to the panels, and they'd go to town on it. Seemed to be natural - same height as mom was - and they could bump and play all they wanted without me to get annoyed meanwhile! When you're done feeding, you can throw em' in the wash when they get grungy, or even throw em' out!
But, if you're looking for maybe a more profesional approach, then multicolored socks ;-) Nasco has calf bottles - 2qt plastic widemouth bottles and you can buy the metal over the fence bracket to go with it for a few bucks. Instead of the calf nipple - be sure to get the smaller lamb/goat nipple. I like these bottles better because they are easier to clean compared to soda bottles with a small neck, and you can put more milk in there versus the little soda ones. If you don't like dealing with the new rubber nipples that are hard to attach when brand new - they also have screw on ones. I'm cheap and just fight with the rubber ones :-)