Caring For Your Bottle Babies

Here at Crazy Chick Farms, our baby goats are sent home to live with their new families between 1-4 weeks of age.  We start our babies on the bottle from birth, so there will be no struggling with them to take the bottle from their new owners. 

Feeding:

We feed the babies WARM goat’s milk, and supplement with whole cow’s milk (from the grocery store). This makes it easy to transition to only cow’s milk when they go to their new homes.

For bottle feeding, we use what’s called a Pritchard Teat, which fits most 16oz soda bottles.  We use these bottles from Premier One and love them!

We feed the babies 4x a day for the first week, 3x a day until about 4 weeks old, and once they can eat 12-16 oz at a time, we cut them down to 2x a day.  By this time, they are nibbling on hay and grain.  We feed bottles until they’re anywhere from 8-12 weeks old, generally dropping to one bottle a day at around 8 weeks.

WE NEVER FEED MORE THAN 16 OUNCES PER FEEDING

Please make sure you are feeding them warm milk (100-105 degrees Fahrenheit).  Cold milk can chill the babies, especially the younger ones, and make them sick.

They should always have fresh clean water, loose goat mineral, and quality hay (alfalfa for doelings and grass hay for wethers) available to them in addition to their bottles.

Shelter:

When you take your babies home, you should have a clean, warm, dry shelter for them to live in. They will only weigh around 10 lbs (or less if on the younger side) when you get them.  Here at our farm, they live in our house for the first week, then get moved to a pen in the barn bedded deep with shavings and straw, and have a heat lamp they can get under to get warm. We use the Prima Heat Lamps which are safer than the traditional heat lamps.

The shelter will also need to protect them from predators.  Dogs, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and even hawks can and will take these kids as snacks.

Signs of Illness to Watch For:

  • Low or high body temperature.  You should have a digital thermometer for your goats.  Their temperature (taken rectally) should be 101-103 degrees Fahrenheit.  If it’s above or below that there may be something wrong, and you should reach out to your vet.  If their temp is below 100, they need to be warmed up as quickly as possible.
  • Diarrhea – poop should be soft yellow or brown pellets (yellow when younger, brown as they eat more hay and grain)            .  If it’s runny or watery there is something up and you should call your vet.
  • Lack of appetite, hunched back, shivering. They have a tummy ache and need assistance.  Call your vet.
  • It is very important to know where your nearest livestock vet is if you don’t already have a relationship with one.