Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Bottle Feed Goat Kids: Precious Update

Hi Readers!

So last time I told you about Precious (you can refresh your memory about Precious' birth here). She is one of the newest additions to our friend's farm, and a new challenge! Why bottle feed? Keep Reading!

After all of the ups and downs on the day she was born, I reported the happy news that she was up and healthy, and back with her mom. However since then, her mom Lucy has rejected her.

This means she doesn't let Precious feed off of her at all. There are many reasons why this happens, including Lucy not producing enough milk for three kids.

So what do you do when a mom won't feed her kid? You bottle feed!

This post is a step by step on how to bottle feed goat kids.
It is as fun/cute as it looks...

Step 1)  Plan Ahead

Make sure you have the supplies necessary for kidding season in advance. This means everything from iodine to dip their navels, rubber gloves or even a comfortable chair for waiting. Check expiration dates on medication and make sure everything is easily accessible. Having what you need is worthless if you can't find it or it's expired! 
Photo Credit

A good investment for kidding season is a nutritional drench (photo, right). These drenches (called "nutri-drench") are made to give glucose, vitamins and minerals into the kid or mom quickly. Much like an athlete drinking a recovery drink rather than eating a full meal, it is easier on their stomachs and much more quickly digested.

Sometimes, a squirt of drench is all a weak kid needs to get up and eat. But in the case of  multiples or a rejected kid, supplementing with a bottle is necessary.

Step 2) Getting Ready to Bottle Feed

You will need a few things: 
  • "Pritchard Lamb/Kid Teat"----It is formulated to fit on most regular soda bottles, a time AND money saver.  We have found the mini (12 oz) soda bottles work perfectly.

  •  Colostrum Replacer----Colostrum is the first milk a newborn gets, and it is full of the vitamins and anti-bodies a kid needs to grow and thrive. There are many brands of colostrum replacer, but I have included Manna Pro's Kid Colostrum because they have great explanations of what it is and how it's made on their website. You should feed colostrum replacer on the first day, then switch to milk replacer. You can pick up colostrum replacer at Tractor Supply Co, or order it at your favorite online retailer. This does expire, so make sure to check it before you use it each season!

  •  Milk Replacer----This is used after the colostrum, until the kid is ready to be weaned. You mix the powder with water, and feed 4 times a day for the first 3 or 4 days. The feedings eventually scale down to twice a day. Can be found online or at your local feed supply store.
I hate breaks. I know that bottle is around here somewhere...
Step 3) Feed the kid!

If it is hungry, it will go after the bottle and try to suck it all down as soon as possible. To avoid it getting a stomach ache, try to give the bottle slowly, taking breaks. This mimics how a mom will feed short snacks frequently over the day. We take about two little (1-2 minute) breaks each feeding, with about 4 feedings a day.

If the kid isn't interested, try using the nutri-drench to stimulate it and massage its neck. If it still isn't interested, you may have to use a tube that delivers the milk directly to the kids stomach. Thankfully, we have never needed that equipment!

Step 4) Don't panic!

Seriously, in the aftermath of a difficult delivery of multiples, or in the wake of a doe's death, it is easy (and understandable!) to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Try to make a list of what needs to be done, and accomplish each task. Use the people in your family/community for help running errands or watching over the barn.

Step 5) Bask in the glow of becoming a surro-goat mom

You saved a life! Go YOU!

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