Bottle Feeding (Nigerian Dwarfs)

Feeding Schedule for bottle babies (Nigerian Dwarf)

Baby must have colostrum for the first 2-3 days.  If you don't have the mother's milk, you can buy Whole Cows Milk (Red Cap) from any grocery store.   Please do NOT use milk replacer on goats.
First Week
1-2 ounces when hungry approximately every 2-3 hours.  You can increase the amount by an ounce at a time if needed and let them drink all they want.

Week 2
2-4 ounces every 3-4 hours.  (Example schedule: 6am-9am-12noon-3pm-6pm-9pm)
Gradually increase the amount and let them drink all they want.

Week 4
6-8 ounces. Reduce the amount of feedings to 4 times a day.  (Example schedule: 8am-12noon-4pm-8pm)

Week 6
6-8 ounces at least. Reduce feedings to 3 times a day.  (Example schedule 8am-2pm-8pm)

Week 8
Reduce to 2  feedings a day and reduce amount

Week 10
Reduce to 1 feeding a day

Wean at 12 weeks.

This is just what has worked for us.  Each baby goat is different and some take more or less milk.  You will need to access how your baby is doing by measuring and tracking its weight and decide if this works for you and increase or decrease as necessary.

Getting baby to take a bottle

It is best to start early on bottle training if you are hoping to have a bottle baby.  Sometimes we end up with a bottle baby because the mother is unable or refusing to nurse the baby.  In this case there are a few tricks I have learned to get the baby to eat.  Some babies take to the bottle very easily while others must be forced.  Here are some tips:

While sitting on the ground with baby in between your legs facing away from you, pinch open the mouth by gently squeezing the sides of the mouth.  Insert the bottle nipple and give the nipple a little squeeze so milk comes out.  If baby is refusing, you are gonna wish you had three hands because you will need to hold the head in place and keep squeezing until she gets the idea.  You can also try pulling it in and out a bit to see if that helps her understand what's in her mouth.  I have had to force the bottle for several days before baby caught on so be prepared to put a little work into it and be patient.  Once the baby catches on you will just need to put the nipple up to her mouth and she will happily take it.

If you want to train your dam raised baby to take the bottle, it's best to start by 2 weeks old.  Separate the babies at night once they are 2 weeks old so that you can milk the moms in the morning.  By morning, the baby goat will be very hungry and this is a great time to offer a bottle of milk.

Bottle babies are very sweet and look to you as the mom.  It can be a very special bond to bottle feed your baby goat.  Good luck!

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