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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess the first question is, do they want the bottle, or are they those awkward little basket cases who refuse to touch the nipple?

If they want the bottle, it’s easy. You just proffer the nipple to the, they grab it in their mouth, you hold the bottle up at probably a 45 degree angle, and they drink the milk. Do make sure you remove the bottle from their mouth when they’ve finished the milk because sucking the air is not good for them.

Now for the basket cases… which, let’s face it, are the majority of the kids at first.

The easiest way to cope with these is to either sit on a chair or a bucket and take the little animal in your lap. Rest it so that its head is against your chest and you can cup your left hand (if you’re right handed) around its head, so that it can’t move.

To make it open its mouth, put your thumb and your index finger in each side of its mouth (behind where the front teeth would be) and gently push its mouth open (or more firmly if it’s being an annoying brat). Then insert the nipple from an angle making sure that it goes ABOVE the tongue. In some kids, the tongue will promptly stick out the other side- so stick it back under the nipple until everything is centralised.

Make sure you hold the bottle practically in alignment with the kid’s face, because you don’t want to drown the poor little animal for its first lessons… Gently squeeze the bottle so that a little milk goes into its mouth, and stroke underneath its jaw and throat with a spare finger (yes, I know all your fingers are rather tied up at the moment, but you should be able to find at least one for this purpose).

If the baby persistently refuses to suck, you can usually get it to take some milk by sealing the sides of its mouth with your index finger and thumb while gently squeezing the bottle and stroking its throat (which prompts it to swallow). Usually it will get the idea fairly quickly – at least, you hope it will.

It may take several sessions with the bottle to make the baby finally get the hang of it – and even once it knows how to suckle on the bottle, you may still need to hold it to get the nipple in its mouth to start it off. Make sure you start out with lots of patience!

If you just CANT get it to suck, you can fill a small (5ml) syringe with milk and gently insert it to the back of the baby’s mouth (GENTLY because you could damage its throat if you push it too far back) and SLOWLY eject the milk from it while squeezing the baby’s throat. This is a slow method but I fed a baby goat like this for a whole week when it wouldn’t eat by itself, and it got enough milk that way to survive. Obviously you have to keep filling the syringe fairly often…

Once the baby is a little more boisterous, and if it still hasn’t quite got the knack of actually taking the bottle in its mouth, the easiest way to make it take it is to sit on a bucket, put your heels against the bucket and hold the baby between your legs – so it cant move sideways or backwards – and take its face that way – it will automatically want to back away when you try to open its mouth, which is why you block its exits. At this point it will typically try to slide down in a heap but you should be able to get the teat in its mouth without TOO much difficulty so that it recognises that it’s dinner time.

And really… that’s all there is to it.

Except: amounts! (for full size dairy kids)

Some books I have read say that after a couple of weeks you should increase the amount of milk (for a full-size dairy kid) up to four pints a day. However, I have always followed the same method, and it has always worked.

1 – 2 days old .............feed ¼ pint at: 6, 10 a.m., 2, 5, and 11pm.
2 days – 1 week old ....feed ½ pint at: 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
..................................Feed ¼ pint at: 10 a.m., 2, and 5p.m.
1 week – 2 months.......feed ½ pint at: 7.30a.m., 12, 5 and 10pm
2 months –2.5 months..feed ¾ pint at: 7.30 a.m. and 9p.m.
..................................Feed ½ pint at: 1 p.m.
Next week:..................feed ½ pint at 7.30 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Final week:..................feed ½ pint at 7.30 am (or 9p.m.)

Weaned at 3.5 months old
I have sometimes weaned at 3 months but I find they do better at 3.5 months

Note: From 2 weeks old I ALWAYS provide free choice hay and a good supply of grain. If they are only having 2 pints of milk a day, they MUST have grain)
Note: The times are flexible, obviously

170 Posts
Thanks! I'll have to try the syringe technique when I have a brat..... :D

1,013 Posts
The covering the eyes is a good tip and also something I have encountered is alot of newborns will bop under my chin looking for a teat and I wil then put the nipple under my chin and they will grab it. You can do the same if they are bopping under your arm. Baby goats just do not like being forced by holding their face or head so sometimes tricking them works better.
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