Do you plan or have to feed a baby goat a bottle? Just like the feeding program of everyone I know is different, so is the baby goat bottle feeding procedure and amounts. I can simply tell you about what I have done here. I do not actually like to feed bottle babies what so ever, but I have tried to leave brothers with sisters before, and it is the bucklings that start constantly trying to mount their sister, starting at 12 days and onward, that REALLY BOTHERS ME. So, I will pull bucklings and give them a bottle and attempt to sell them very shortly after birth, after they have had all their colostrum from their dam. If a doe has a single buckling I will leave him with her for about three weeks before pulling him and trying to sell him, so that all that hard work of delivery she just went through seems for a purpose in her life. I will feed these young bucklings a bottle for 3.5 months. There first couple days I will give them a bottle 4 times during the daytime, I do not get up in the middle of the night, and I feed about 8 ounces per feeding if they will take it all. By the third day I will start giving them a bottle three times a day, at about 7am, 2pm, and 9pm, feeding about 10 ounces a time at first, and move up to 16 ounces per feeding over a matter of a week. I will give them 16 ounces each of the three feedings for about a month. From one month to three months, I will start to offer a nibble of feed and feed them 12 ounces of milk per feeding. The last two weeks, from three months to three and a half months, I will give them two bottles a day at 10 ounces each. By the third month they will be getting a large handful of food and be at a full ration of 1lb by the fourth month. I never have and never will feed bottle babies the dry powder that you mix with water. I milk the dam and feed it back to them, if I can not do that I have a Jersey cow to use fresh milk from. If I had no cow, I would try to find someone whom does and would sell me the milk for the babies. If I could not find someone with a cow, then I would simply feed the milk with the red top at the store, the whole milk. I had to do this one time a couple years ago, it worked out fine. If you are raising smaller goats like Nigerian Dwarf of Pygmies, then I would literally cut the amounts above in half at least.
So those of us that have raised goats even a short period of time know how they can waste hay. If it touches the ground it is all she wrote, no way they are eating it now. So we had a couple different kind of hay feeders and are most happy with the ones my husband installed recently. They have 2″x 4″ slots in it and it is a large 16′ stock panel from a farm store. It was much more expensive than a regular cattle panel because its holes are so much smaller, it has a lot more metal on it and it is very heavy. But one of these panels was enough to make every hay feeder in all of our stalls. Six hay feeders that can hold a little over a half a bale each. We only have to put out a bale or two every other day in the winter with nine goats eating from this hay. Another nice thing about these hay feeders other than reducing waste is that they are adjacent to out aisle so that we can just put the hay into it over the wall easily. We can lock the goats into the stall and go through putting out hay without any goats jumping onto the hay or us as we go. They are pretty clean and the goats eat almost all of the hay with these feeders. Also shown are barn pictures to get an idea of what you may or may not like to do with your barn. All of our goat stalls have pallets that were cut in half as a place for the goats to jump onto and rest or play. They LOVE being off the ground. Also my walls of the interior of the barn are half walls, allowing us to see into all the stalls easily and them to see out easily. There is a middle gate in the middle of the aisle that will be closed for one side for juniors and the other side for senior milkers when it is time for weaning. The milkers side has the larger open stall close to the milk room. Also shown is the cow milking stall and stanchion. The cow area is very low tech but is very functional and cheap. I do not keep the cows in their milking stall, they muck it up too fast. The cows stay in a pasture adjacent to this stall with a shelter from wind and rain built off of the front side of the barn. The goats are able to flee the barn if there was ever a fire, they have a small paddock off of each side. Logs cut from large trees provide a place for us to go sit in the paddocks with the goats and soak up the sunlight and fresh air. We have a couple logs in the barn to for rainy days.
Alpine Dairy Goat Feeding Chart Feed all animals these amounts 2x a day
Get a feed bucket, about 2.5 gallon, put in
(Use a 3 to 4 cup scoop)
1 scoop alfalfa pellets
1 scoop whole oats
½ scoop BOSS-Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
1 scoop alfalfa pellets
Mix well, repeat, mix well again
Feed milkers – 6 cups of mix per feeding
Feed does and bucks from 2-3 months the mix in a trough together about ½ cup each of the mix
Feed does and bucks from 4-6 months- 1 cup each of the mix
Feed dry does and young does 6 months and up – 1 ½ cups of the mix
Feed bucks not in rut- 1 ½ cup of mix
Feed bucks in rut- 3 cups of mix- they are in rut Sept. to Feb.
Also feed a high quality goat mineral and Organic Thorvin Kelp regularly or free choice, Sea 90 or Himalayan salt and forage or hay free choice.
Keep in mind everyone feeds something different and different lbs per day as well. I am just showing what I do as a guide for someone new without any idea of where to start. If I had a really heavy milker that could not hold weight well, I would up the food.
Since I came up with this ration and the measurements myself, be aware it was not made up by a scientist. I did however study the calcium to phosphorus ratios of foodstuffs and decided which foods to feed based on what is available here as well. I have the calcium ratio at 1.2 to 1 phosphorus. Also this rations is about 14 percent protein. I have read in my books and goat health articles that 12 percent is the desired amount to be fed to dairy goats if they have free choice alfalfa hay and up to 14 percent if they do not have free choice alfalfa. Mine do not have free choice alfalfa hay, but also half of my ration is alfalfa. This does not go along with the modern idea the more protein the better, but it is healthier for the goats and causes less stress on their system, and mine do well on it. The alfalfa is grown northwest as well, but the whole oats are grown here. When I am upping the food amount during pregnancy in the last 6 weeks, instead of feeding the whole ration the last week I will slack off (feed half a milkers ration) about 4 days before kidding so that the udder does not become real so full so quickly. Flag, meaning hard congested udder that has little milk moving through it, is no fun. In about a three day period I will then up the food daily to be at a full milkers ration by day four. I was using barley and think it was an awesome addition to a goat feeding program however the price and difficulty to get it has made me not use it anymore.