Feeding problems-long story

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by trailhound, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. trailhound

    trailhound New Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    North Carolina
    I finally got my Miss Maple a buddy a little over a week ago. Elmer is now a 5 week old Alpine wether. He was orphaned at 2 days old and had been bottle fed goats milk his whole life. I got him on a Monday and transitioned him from Monday to Friday from goats milk to goat milk replacer. I have been feeding him 20 oz two times a day from a human baby bottle with an 'x' cut in the middle. I let the goats out of their shed whenever I am around to supervise, so they get about an hour or so out per day. On Sunday, I put them out in my pasture with the horse for a few hours. Sunday night, Elmer was fine, Monday morning he was hugely bloated and wouldn't eat. My goat vet was unavailable and I had to leave town for my grandmother's funeral (what timing, huh!) so I took him to my small animal vet that is a good friend. I think the car ride jostled a lot of the gas out of him, and she did x-rays, gave him something to encourage his intestines to move, tubed him and gave him a bit of oil. He spent the night because we got back really late and recovered well all day. We picked him up Tuesday, I let him out to play and eat for an hour or so, he ate his dinner bottle with vigor. I went to check him before bed and he seemed a little bloated so I gave him about 1 tablespoon of oil. In the morning, he only ate about half of his bottle and I noticed as I was giving him another 5 ccs of oil that he had diarrhea. Hubby kept and eye on him all day and he was back to normal by the time I got home from work. He picked up a new nipple, goats milk and we didn't let him out to play and eat. We mixed half goats milk and half goats milk replacer and gave him some late afternoon, and some just now before bed.

    My questions are these- I am trying to figure out what is causing the bloat- the grass, the human bottle, or the goats milk replacer? Also, the new nipples seem generic and I had to cut the tip in the end of the nipple- how big should the hole be? This one has a hole on the base to let air out and he seems to be sucking down less air and not getting as choked up. And, could the oil I gave him caused the diarrhea?

    He is fine now, but I am trying to prevent this from happening over and over.

  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    first off 20ounces at once is WAY to much. He needs at the most 10 ounces at a time. You want to feed him smaller amounts more frequently. Since he is 5 weeks you can feed him 4 times a day at 10 ounces. He may act like he wants more but most of the time they just like sucking. You can add a water bottle in between feedings to make sure he is getting enough fluids and staying hydrated as well -- it also fills them up and gives them satisfaction of sucking, which is a comfort thing for them.

    The large amounts are causing him to bloat and you can kill him. Sorry to be so blunt but it is the truth of the matter.

    Also you need to slowly switch him from any type of milk to another so that is great that you got the goats milk to mix with the replacer.

    yes the replacer can cause him to bloat if not mixed properly and sometimes they just do that anyway unfortunatly.

    Give some baking soda - add a little water to it to make it pasty - and stuff it in his mouth. Do this until he passes gas or burps. Rock and jossle him as if he were a baby that was colicking.

    The hole should be big enough for the milk to flow easily when he sucks but not so big that it drips out on its own.

  3. Di

    Di Crazy Goat Lady

    Jan 29, 2008
    central PA
    I don't know how you are holding the bottle, but I was told he should be "reaching" up and out, like he's got to extend his neck to get the bottle. That way the milk doesn't get into the rumen. It's supposed to by-pass the rumen and go straight to the 2nd stomach. I bottle fed my Cashmere buck...but I used whole cow milk. I was warned about milk replacer. If money is an issue (and milk is about a $1 more a gallon now then it was), I'd use half replacer and half whole milk. Also, put a little Karo syrup in it...has to be Karo, about a teaspoon per bottle. I agree with Stacey on the amount...I fed 8-10 ounces, 4 times/day. You want them to be a little hungry still so they will start eating hay. Have a good quality hay available free choice.

    Will we be seeing pics of your kiddies soon? Good luck, it'll be more fun when you get past this first "learning curve"! lol
  4. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    at five weeks old twice a day feedings are more then ok, i prefere to feed three times for the the better growth rates. But at five weeks he is only a week away from being able to be totally weaned. I dont like to wean at six weeks but they can be. I know a lot of people who do. I prefere to wait until three months. His rumen is open and working, he should be eating more hay and grain now and browsing pretty well. Milk replacer has been known to cause severe cases of bloat. When you mix it you really should be putting more water and less formula then the directions say. if you can mix it with whole cow milk that will be easier for him to digest.
    Getting him on an animal nipple is best as well. It sounds like your new nipple is a prichard nipple, has a little ball in it that you can her clicking when you shake it. Red nipple with a yellow screw on cap? I like these for brand new babies, I usually give colostrum from this nipple. But as they get older they tend to get rough with them and i go through a lot more then i would like. They hold on with their teeth so it rips as they pull away. After they get the hang of the bottle i switch to the lamb bar nipple. these are a lot more durable and you can fit them on a pop bottle as well. the oil is probably from the oil and will stop soon. better to get things moving then to have things stuck. Are they getting hay free choice? They really should be out more then an hour a day. Goats are browsers and need to eat all day long. Its not good for them to have one or two big meals a day. I like to keep hay available at all times. And with babies they are bouncy and energetic. they need to run and bounce to keep them fit and healthy.
  5. enjoytheride

    enjoytheride New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Humboldt Co Ca
    Milk replacer can work fine but I found that you have to do small amounts frequently as it is harder for the babies to digest than goat milk so if too much goes in and the digestion can't keep up, the food sort of rots in the stomach and creates gas (Bloat.) I found replacer works fine if I am careful with the amounts. The diarrhea is probably due to the oil (probably,) which can cause digestion issues too so I would be careful with using too much of that too. Any food changes should be made as slow as possible to allow time for the gut to adapt.
    Boy are you lucky to have a vet friend- what a life saver.
  6. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    6 weeks is way to young to be weaning! I did that and regret it, nope I don't recomend it at all
  7. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    Congratulations on you new baby.

    Well, you have lots of info here and it is enough to really confuse you.

    I will also agree with the amount is a little to much. Do you know if this little one was given a CDT or if his mom was before he was born? I ask because you do not want him to get enterotoxemia (sp). Eating to much milk to fast and gorging himself is a prime was to get it in the little ones.

    I also bottle fed one just one baby ever so I am by NO MEANS a expert. But I used a human bottle also, because she would not use any other ones at all, she would just of starved over using the Pritchard nipples. (red nipple yellow screw top).

    Also, what you might want to do is leave out some baking soda for him so he can eat it whenever he feels he needs it. It is amazing how much they do eat.
    I used replacer and I NEVER had any trouble what so ever. SO I do believe it is the quality of the replacer, and how much they get at one time. I fed about 6-8 times a day because like I said I had never bottle fed before and I was just winging it. Now by the time she was 8 weeks I was not feeding that often, it was like 5 times a day.
    I also agree that 6 weeks is WAY to young to wean a baby, but again that is MY choice. I do wait until they are about 11-13 weeks. They do not nurse that much at all at that age but that was I feel better that they are older and ready to handle it on their own.

    I agree with DI about the placement of the bottle. It is VERY important to make sure that the bottle is placed so the baby will be in the same position as it would be when it is nursing off the mom.

    Good luck, and YES we want pictures.
  8. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    I agree that weaning at six weeks is not good and definatly dont reccomend it but i have heard and know some who do with fine results.