3month old bottle feeding question

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by jessica_b, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. jessica_b

    jessica_b Guest

    Nov 26, 2009
    Hello everyone :) I've just joined and am enjoying all these great threads, thanks! I'm Jess, and I'm in Tasmania, Australia :wave:

    My question is probably straightforward, but I'd like to ask since I'm a total goat newbie...

    I'm picking up two Australian Miniature does on Tuesday. They're 3 month old twins, and have been bottle fed. The breeder was going to wean them but I asked her to keep them on the bottle for me, as I feel they should feed for longer. They're having one feed a day at the moment. She's been feeding them with a cheap brand of powdered milk - the full cream human-use type, not a milk replacer, but I still think this is not a good milk for young goats. I'd like to switch them to fresh goats milk if I can get some, or fresh cows milk if I need to, but I don't want to upset their tummies...

    What rate would you recommend switching the milks? I thought to add some of the goats milk to the powdered mix increasing a little each day. Also, how many feeds a day do you think they should be having? And should I add a little yoghurt to their milk as a probiotic? I'd like to offer them some horse & foal sweet feed as well, is it okay at this age?

    Sorry for all these newbie questions, I'm sure I'll have more lol!

    Thanks for your help :)
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    welcome to The Goat Spot.

    Really at 3 months they are perfectly fine to wean and do not need milk anymore.

    I wouldnt go through the stress of changing their milk since they dont even need it.

  3. jessica_b

    jessica_b Guest

    Nov 26, 2009
    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for replying :)

    I am still keen to feed them until they're 4 months old, for several reasons, but if it will be a stress to their system to change milks perhaps I should continue to feed the same milk they're used to...

    I appreciate your advice,
  4. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    I have to agree with Stacey...weaning at 3 months is ideal......
    When weaned ...they will be off milk and have less risk on scouring ..due to ...to much stress or if feeding to much or feed another type of milk...their systems are more delicate when bottle feeding... as opposite to regular feed.... :wink: :greengrin:
  5. lesserweevil

    lesserweevil New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    If you are going to continue feeding them (although i wean at 3 months) I think it would be best to keep them on the same milk they are used to even if it is not "ideal", as you don't want to upset their stomachs at this stage - especially with a move.

    Do make sure they have plenty of solid foods like grain & hay as that is what they should be eating mostly at this stage. I definitely would not increase the amount of milk you give them.

  6. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    Can I ask why you think they should be continued to be fed on a bottle? 3 months is ideal to wean and get them onto the feeds they really need like good quality hay, grain (I don't know if you could feed horse/foal, I feed a goat feed) and of course free choice water, minerals, and baking soda. But maybe you have researched something I don't know and I'd love to know!? :idea:
  7. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I agree with the others on this issue--weaning by 3 months is ideal and encourages better rumen development.

    However, if you do decide to continue bottle feeding I would keep them on what they've been having. For kids, moving to a new home is stressful enough without a change in diet. It may not be the best replacer but, if they've grown and survived on it this long, then it is not bad either. One feed a day should be plenty for them. Try to encourage them to eat more hay and/or pasture and browse.

    I too am curious as to the reasoning behind prolonged bottle feeding. I am not trying to be critical--how you raise these kids is your choice and there are many methods that work. I am just wondering why you feel it is good or neccessary.
  8. jessica_b

    jessica_b Guest

    Nov 26, 2009
    Hmm, okay... My reasoning was:

    a) it's stressful moving house for them, so I wanted to keep most things the same.

    b) I thought it would help the little does to get used to me and bond with me.

    c) Since changing their food can upset their guts it seemed wise to maintain their current diet for at least a week or two, the pasture and browse we have here is different to the breeder's place.

    d) it would allow me to add a bit of yoghurt or probiotics to their milk.

    e) I did somewhere pick up the idea that weaning is normally at 4 months, but I can't find that anywhere now so I must have totally overloaded on goat info and got confused :wink:

    I guess if I do keep feeding them I'll need to deal with weaning, but I'll have to deal with that anyway if they come to me and suddenyl have no milk...

    Thanks for all your advice everyone, I think that if I keep feeding it will only be for a week, and I'll use the same milk, so it will mainly be for their comfort and to help them get used to me than for any other reason.

    pennylullabelle I read about feeding them mare&foal feed on the Fias Co farm website, it was full of lots of useful information :) My local feed stores only have goat feed in pellet form, and I was keen for them to have something with a mix of real grains as well, and between 12 and 16% protein and around 6-8% fat. I have read that horse feeds tend to have better quality ingredients. The man at the feed store looked at me with disgust and said "goats will eat anything, what does it matter?" but it matters to me. I can afford to be "silly" since they're my pets and I only have the two.

    How much feed should they start out on? I think they've mostly had hay and grass until now. Will it upset their rumens to start a new feed like that? Should I feed them hay first then offer a bit of feed afterwards, so their guts are mainly full of roughage?

    Thanks :)
  9. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    You are right to want to keep them as stress free as possible, and the move along with total weaning is a stress. You can continue the bottle 1x a day and back off to every other day til they have none. The grain should be no less than 10% but no more than 16%, to start with, try giving each a small amount in your hand and even better would be to get a pound or two from the breeder so you can mix it with your grain.
  10. jessica_b

    jessica_b Guest

    Nov 26, 2009
    Thanks heaps Liz :)

    I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a handle on things, and I appreciate everyone's input :thumb:
  11. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Just wanted to add though, that once their rumen is sufficiently working....and they are working well enough even at 8 weeks, the need for milk is diminished and they don't digest milk the way they would as young babies.
  12. poppypatch

    poppypatch New Member

    May 30, 2009
    Montesano WA
    If we dam raise our buck kids actually come off milk at only two months and they are usually more than ready by then.

    Would feed mostly hay in the beginning to get their rumen developing. Be really careful with grain. Don't feed too much too quickly or you could end up having bloat or enterotoxemia problems. If they haven't had grain before I would only allow them a handful in the beginning and work up slowly.

    Good idea not to change the type of milk they are used to if you continue to feed milk. Also be careful feeding goat's milk if it is coming from another farm as it could increase your chance to pass disease to your herd from another. If you have the concerns like we have here with CAE I would just be really careful where the goat milk is coming from.
    You can give them just a little warm water in their bottle or part milk and part water and then decrease the amount until they are off the bottle. Most goats are just as happy with a little water as they are with milk.
  13. jessica_b

    jessica_b Guest

    Nov 26, 2009
    Thanks Poppypatch, and everyone :)

    I've got some good quality hay from my mum's place so that will be the main part of their diet. It's just about the end of Spring here (temperate area of Australia), so we've got a tonne of grass going to seed in the paddock but from what I've read too much fresh pick can also upset their bellies, so how should I go about letting them graze? I am thinking I'll keep them in the small yard that's around their house with plenty of hay, and let them out for short feeds on the pasture and browse a couple of times a day at first, maybe 5 minutes at a time? Or is that too slow/fast? Sorry I keep asking questions... :oops:
  14. poppypatch

    poppypatch New Member

    May 30, 2009
    Montesano WA
    Letting them out to graze for short periods of time in the beginning is a good plan. You can just watch when you let them out how much grass they are eating and go from there. They may be fine left out. Goats who have not been on pasture ever before sometimes are slow to start eating it anyway. They usually have to learn to graze. When we moved from California(dry climate no grass) to Washington(lots of grass) our goats wouldn't even touch the grass in the beginning like they didn't know they could eat it. They preferred the dry hay as it was what they were used to.
    Anyway you already had the idea... watch them in the beginning that they don't eat too much too quick.
  15. CrossCreekTX

    CrossCreekTX New Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Central East Texas
    When I've had goats that didn't want the grass, I would cut some and hand feed it. It especially works if another goat is trying to get it away from the picky one. After the goat has eaten it several times from your hands, she will usually start to eat it on her own.