How To Wean A Baby Goat From The Bottle
In this article learn how to wean a baby goat from the bottle. The weaning process begins around 12 weeks of age. For the first year of a goat’s life, we recommend offering free choice 50/50 alfalfa/grass mix, pellet feed Purina Grower Goat from the feed store, and minerals. As a result, the free choice of these things prevents a goat from overeating. By offering free-choice feed, it’s the best way to train goats to self-regulate and avoid issues with bloat. It also aids in the process of growing strong healthy goats. After 1 year, cut grains from wethered males’ diets as chances they can develop urinary calculi (UC) if given incorrectly.
Finally, be sure to check with a local vet to determine the best mineral to get for your specific location. Mineral deficiencies are a common cause of sickness and illness in goats. Mineral needs in goats vary greatly by geographic location. Be sure your mineral mix is appropriate for your herd’s location needs. Also, be extra aware when bringing in goats from other regions.
Your baby goats at around 2 weeks of age begin free choice 50/50 (alfalfa/grass) mix hay, pellet feed, and mineral. Their rumen isn’t yet fully developed but they will begin feeding instinctively when they’re ready. Free choice means the goat has unlimited access to hay, grain, and mineral. They won’t overeat because they will self-regulate how much they consume. This eliminates bloat, which is a common cause of death in baby goats. Free choice is offered to goats up to a year old to ensure the best growth of your goat. This video shows you how to make a Creep Feeder for your babies that distribute mineral, baking soda, and grain free-choice.
For more information on how the goat digestive system works, check out this article on the Goat Digestive System.
Feeding Timeline and Schedule Per Week
The feeding timeline and schedule are important to follow. Never overfeed, it can kill them. Always have fresh water available. Start offering the free choice of 50/50 alfalfa/grass mix hay, pellet feed, and mineral at 2 weeks. Remember to stay on schedule with their CDT vaccinations.
- 1: Bottle feed 6-10 fluid ounces of milk 4 times a day (At this age many kids will actually consume more like 10 oz a day, just feed till full and don’t encourage to overfeed).
- 2-4: Bottle feed 16-20 fluid ounces of milk 3 times a day
- 4-12: Bottle feed 16-20 fluid ounces of milk 2 times a day
The Wean Process of a Baby Goat
The baby goat wean process is 12 to 16 weeks old. Make grain, alfalfa, and water available free choice all the time. In the beginning, they will play with it, then eat it, going good with eating and drinking bottles. You will know their rumen is working when their feces go from little yellowy grain of rice to black normal feces. The cold turkey process is whiny. We chose to decrease feeding over 8 days. Starting from approximately 20 oz, move goats to 16 oz. for 2 days, 12 oz. for 2 days, 8 oz. for 2 days, 4 oz. for 2 days. At this point, kids will be fine to forage freely on grain and alfalfa. You may also add grass hay or take them outside of the yard, as I do, and let them forage on streamside plants and pine needles (which they love!!).
- Feed 16 oz for 2 days
- Then 12 oz for 2 days
- Feed 8 oz for 2 days
- Finally 4 oz for 2 days
If you liked this article and found it helpful, check out the how-to raise a baby goat course for more resources and tips to grow healthy, happy goats. Learn the necessary skills to care for a baby goat in its first year. Be sure to check out packgoats.com. Our mission is to become a leading resource on all things for owning your goats. In addition, help you feel confident about the information and be successful in raising your goats.