Bottle Baby Questions? New to goats!

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by SeemsLegit, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. SeemsLegit

    SeemsLegit New Member

    Hello all! I'm new here, so go easy on me.(;

    Three or so days ago, we went to auction and purchased two one-week-old Nubian bucklings. I've never had goats before (despite always wanting them), but my stepdad has a ton of experience with them and so we're going off of what we've been told, what we've read, and what he advises. With that said, I'd love some outside opinions!

    We have Bert (the smaller beige baby, who has become seriously attached to me) and Ernie (the larger, darker one); they're both doing very well, considering the stress of the auction. The first day they were lethargic on the way home and we could only get 2oz into them, but we've worked up to 6-8oz four or so times a day depending. We're using milk replacer. Their spirits are high and they're the funniest, quirkiest guys.

    With that said, I'm confused concerning a few things. Firstly, the state of baby poop: Bert has harder poop, whereas Ernie's is very runny. Both are bright yellow. Is this normal? I was told it is nothing to worry about yet, as they're still very young, but opinions seem to be mixed. As well, the little guys seem to be constantly cold - they're beginning to grasp the idea of nestling into the hay and snuggling up to one another, but is this the best way to get them used to the cold? Should I be bringing them in when they shiver, or force them to regulate their own temperature? I'm just glad they were born late enough to miss majority of this Canadian winter.(;

    Thank you!

    And now some pictures, because I can't resist!







  2. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    The first thing I notice is that your guys are not the same size, so they probably should not be getting the same amount of milk. Weigh each of them, convert their weight to ounces by multiplying by 16, multiply that number by 11% and divide the resulting number by 4. Feed that amount every 6 hours. For example - it looks like the smaller kid might weigh around 6 to 7 lbs, so 7 X 16 = 112. 112 X 11% = 12.32. Round up to 13 and divide by 4 = 3.25 ounces of milk every 6 hours. A few times a week after they have finished their bottle, stand them up and stand over them facing the same direction. Place 2 fingers of each hand on their tummy in front of their hip bones - you want to feel full and firm, not hard, not squishy. If you feel hard or squishy, adjust milk down or up.

    Bright yellow poo is normal, but runny is usually an indication that the kid is getting too much milk. Hard poo can be an indication that the kid is not getting enough milk. Keep an eye on the one who is scouring to make sure he does not become dehydrated.

    As far as the shivering goes - I do everything in power to keep my kids as warm as possible short of bringing them in the house. I do not recommend forcing them to regulate their temperature, because that energy could be better used for growth. Do you have, or can you get a hold of a large cat carrier, a small dog kennel, or build a covered wood box big enough for 2 kids that will allow for some growth? If so, put a towel or a good amount of straw in it, a heavy towel or blanket over the top of it, and put it in their pen/enclosure/stall. You may have to put them in it to get the point across the first time, but it will keep them snug and toasty warm. I would not bring them in unless absolutely necessary because it will only cause problems when it comes time to re-acclimate them to their outside environment later.

    You've got a couple of awfully cute kids there! I wish you the very best with them!
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014

  3. Mikesell04

    Mikesell04 New Member

    Jan 26, 2014
    Oh wow they are tooooo Cute!! Do you know what they were fed before you got them? Just the switch of replacement milk can give them the runny yellow poo..
    I agree you should weigh them once a week and use the equation above to figure out just how much they need.. They will keep eating until they pop if you let them so you don't want to overfeeding them, it can make them sick..
    But good luck with these guys, they are gorgeous babies ;) love the ears

  4. SeemsLegit

    SeemsLegit New Member

    Thank you! We started them on that this morning. They're used to way bigger feedings so there was quite a bit of sucking on clothing/jumping on/insistent nudging that followed, but I figure once they're on routine they should be fine! And, yes! We actually found an old, larger rabbit hutch on the property, so I took that and covered the top and sides with wood panels in order to give them a closed place where they could safe, snuggle, and be warm. We're still bringing them in at night, into the part of the house that is not heated (the tack room bathroom), mostly to ensure their protection from coyotes until the fence is up and strong enough to fend them off without a doubt. I super appreciate your input as, like I said, we have little to no idea what we're doing.(8

    We don't know, unfortunately! I'm assuming milk from their mother, though we know she died (no idea when, but that is the reason they were in auction) so it's really up in the air. Thank you! I'll keep that in mind, for sure. Don't want to be over-feeding them.:) And thanks again, I love them too.(;

    We had a scare with them this morning, when a wandering dog showed up and was looking very interested. Needless to say, my mother and I went into mama-bear mode and chased that sucker off the property, lmao.
  5. canyontrailgoats

    canyontrailgoats New Member

    Jan 4, 2014
    western montana
    What gorgeous boys, I LOVE the colors! :) .
    In a couple weeks or less you should leave some nice green hay in their pen and maybe offer a few pieces of sweet feed for them to taste. At first they might just mouth the food or lay on it, but eventually they'll start eating it, and that helps their rumens develop.
    If they aren't dehorned and you want them hornless, you'll have to have it done within a week preferably, and no more than two weeks. A goat breeder or vet should be able to do it for you.
    And I'm guessing you'll castrate them too, but wait until they're about three months to prevent urinary calculi.
    Have fun with the little guys! :)
  6. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    I forgot to add that if you can get some alfalfa hay, keep some leaves in front of them. Poke their noses in the leaves to get them to eat. They are too small for pellets right now, but they should be able to handle grain. I don't know what you have available in the way of grain, but High Noon makes a feed called Monkey Munch that smells and tastes like bananas. Sunglo makes a feed called S'more Fill that is oats with little bits of marshmallow in it. I was having trouble getting my bottle kids going on grain until I got a bag of the S'more - they dove into it and are eating it very well! Put a very small handful in front of them, poke a bit in their mouth each time you bottle them, and keep the hay and grain fresh. I give anything my bottle babies haven't eaten to my does.
  7. Bertnut2

    Bertnut2 New Member

    Feb 9, 2014
    They are so adorable.

    Sent from my iPhone using Goat Forum
  8. SeemsLegit

    SeemsLegit New Member

    Thank you everyone!

    We ran into a bit of a pickle, concerning feeding. When we cut them down to 4oz per feeding, it was clear the little guys were still hungry and they went from runny poop to no poop whatsoever. So, we've had to adjust the formula a wee bit. We're settling on around 6oz per feeding for now (10oz before bed) and we'll see how that sits with them for the time being. Hopefully they settle and have normal poop, for once. If it gets runny again, we'll have to re-evaluate and figure out a better balance.

    I seriously appreciate all the comments, advice, and tips. It's nice to know there are people I can fall back on, need be! You're all lovely.:)
  9. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Get some alfalfa leaves and very small stems in front of them, too. It will help fill them up between feedings and get their rumens started. My dam raised kids are nibbling at hay by a day or two old. By the time they are a week they are eating a small amount of leaves and fine stems. Around two weeks old they are going after the hay for real, and by a month old they are jumping in the hay feeders come feeding time.
  10. kyndal_98

    kyndal_98 New Member

    Feb 8, 2014
    We refuse to use milk replacer. We have had countless problems with it giving them scours and such. Get online and look up the reviews on using milk replacer. They usually aren't good. We use this recipe:

    1 gallon of vitamin d milk
    1 can evaporated milk
    1 cup butter milk

    Mix together the buttermilk and evaporated milk. Take enough whole milk out of the gallon to put the mixture in. Shake it up in the jug. Done!

    This is a super easy was to get kids enough nutrients without worry of scours. Hope this helps!
  11. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    While you're looking up milk replacer reviews, look up reviews for whole milk. They aren't real good either. There is nothing wrong with milk replacer as long as it is GOOD quality. Buy the cheap crap, and yes you will have problems. I've used milk replacer for my bottle kids for 7 years and have never had a problem with scours - ever.
  12. My bottle babies all come from a grade A dairy where all the babies are fed milk replacer. They and I use does match. Out of my six I've never had any trouble and same with my breeder and they have hundreds to raise every year. But ,what has already been said bears repeating. Use a brand made for goats only and don't buy the cheaper formulas. Have fun with your babies!

    Sent from my iPad using Goat Forum
  13. anawhitfield

    anawhitfield Active Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    Buford, Georgia

    Attached Files:

  14. kyndal_98

    kyndal_98 New Member

    Feb 8, 2014
    To clear things up, we didn't use the cheap stuff. We just find the whole milk mix works better for us. You guys have what works for you and we use what works for us. I was just making a suggestion.
  15. kyndal_98

    kyndal_98 New Member

    Feb 8, 2014
    And by the way, I'd like to see some of those good articles on using milk replacer. I sure can't find any.
  16. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Keep it friendly, keep it fun.
  17. SeemsLegit

    SeemsLegit New Member

    Thank you, everyone! I appreciate the differing opinions, but after spending the amount we did there's no way we're switching - and, the little ones are doing wonderfully on the milk replacer! They're getting 6oz per feeding (except before bed, where they get 8oz), and their poop has returned to normal and their spirits are high.

    Another question, though! How did you all teach your goats to walk on a lead? I've made a collar and have just been leading them around a few minutes a day and it's going well, but there's still some reluctance and struggle for sure. Ideas? Thanks!
  18. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    I never referenced any articles on milk replacer, my response was solely based on experience.

  19. Hi again
    I'm glad your babies are doing good. Like I said ,I had good results,too,with the replacer.
    I used raisins as a bribe when my babies were a little older when I was teaching them to lead. But my experience is that they will get it with some practice and pets when they do good. A scratch on their favorite spot goes a long ways!

    Sent from my iPad using Goat Forum
  20. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    What cute kids! It sounds like you are doing all the right things! As with everything goat, when you want
    to change something, do it gradually! Feed, hay, milk, etc. Best of luck with your boys! Enjoy them, they
    are a lot of fun. (and great time wasters, hard to get anything done when watching babies play!)