Bottle Feeding Baby Goats: What You Need to Know

bottle feeding baby goats

Bottle feeding baby goats is a highly debated topic. What is the best way to raise baby goats? Is it safer to bottle feed them or let their dam raise them? 

Honestly, there is no one right answer.

Whatever the reason, if you find yourself needing to transition your baby goat to a bottle baby, I’m sure you have a lot of questions. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know on bottle feeding baby goats with great success.

First Things First...

The first milk a baby goat must receive is colostrum. 

Colostrum is the first milk a mother goat produces. It is a thick and sticky substance that is high in fat, protein, nutrients and antibodies. Since new kids, (what you call baby goats) are born without strong immune systems, it is critical new borns receive colostrum within the first few hours. 


If for some reason, you cannot get the mothers colostrum, there is a replacer that will substitute. I recommend this, goat specific, colostrum replacer if you’re in a pinch and need it.

Unless the mother has been medically compromised, there’s nothing quite as good as the all natural stuff. Keep that in mind. It’s a good idea to try to save some and freeze it, for future kids and to avoid the need for the powder stuff.

What do You Feed a Baby Goat?

Once you are sure your newborn baby goat has received colostrum, you can then transfer it to whole cows milk. Yup, the kind with the red cap you buy at the grocery store!

I do not recommend using milk replacers due to the potential for human error. 

What do I mean? 

Well, you have to mix the powder to water in a specific ratio, and if you get it wrong or don’t mix it as well as you should, you can cause an intestinal blockage. This often kills baby goats rather quickly.

If you find yourself needing, or wanting to transfer your kids to the bottle, the sooner the better. This means, the faster you can get your newborn kid to accept the nipple the better change you have to successfully transition to the bottle.  

The longer they’re on mom’s teat, the harder it will be to get them to accept the artificial nipple. 

I highly recommend using these pritchard nipples, as they best resemble a natural teat. These can be screwed to any plastic soda bottle, so go get yourself a 6 pack.

There are a few different tips and tricks to help get a baby goat to take the nipple. Most commonly, helping them open their mouth by pinching the sides and then getting the nipple in their mouth lets them get the gist of it. Often, mother nature takes over once the nipple is in their mouths and they begin to suckle. 

However, some may fight the process at first. Don’t give up! Remember, practice makes perfect!

If the kid isn’t accepting or suckling when the nipple is in their mouth, they may need a little persuasion. Try using molasses or karo syrup on the end of the nipple to entice them. This usually does the trick.

A small baby goat sticks its bright pink tongue out.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Milk is the only way baby goats get their nutrients, so eventually they’ll need to feed!

How Much Milk to Feed a Baby Goat?

This is where things get complicated.

The amount of milk you provide your baby goat should be relevant to their weight. As they grow, they will require more nutrients, and thus more milk.

To make life so much easier, I have put together an easy print out for your to follow.

If you are already a subscriber, you should have already received access to your free printable delivered to you in your inbox (or you can access my free library anytime, just click the printable library link with the password that’s at the bottom of all of my emails).

To use this chart, you pick your bottle baby’s weight and then decide if you’re going to feed 15% or 20%. Whichever you choose, you stick with that column. Now, you also need to know their age. That will determine how many bottles a day you should provide.

So, if you have a 5lb kid that is 3 weeks old, and you decide to feed 15%, you will be feeding 12 oz of milk a day. You will give 12 oz of milk (based on weight and %) in 4 bottles (based on age) throughout the day. This ends up being 3 oz of milk each feeding. 

white baby goat kid with a milk mustache while nursing from a bottle

That is how you use the chart!

Something else to mention, baby goats sometimes get diarrhea (called “scours” in goats) when you up their milk consumption. If your goat is having loose stools due to increased milk, go back to the previous amount given and it should clear up. If not, it might be due to something else and a vet might need to be consulted.

Occasionally bottle babies get sensitive stomachs, and the increase in milk may just need to happen a little slower. 

How Long do You Bottle Feed a Baby Goat?

This is also question that comes with various answers depending on your source.

One way to determine when to stop bottle feeding is age, usually around 12 weeks or 3 months. Personally, I believe there are a few factors to consider. You should consider overall weight and condition, as well as the baby goats ability to feed off grain and hay for continued nutrients. All of these factors will help you decide when to best transition off of the bottle.

Typically, I wean off a bottle when my kids are at least 15 lbs and are around 4-5 months old. Keep in mind, not all baby goats are the same, so each kid should be evaluated individually.

After all, the purpose of bottle feeding baby goats is to help them grow big and strong, with a healthy immune system!

bottle feeding baby goats

If I’m being honest, most of our goats on this farm have been bottle babies. 

Edgar was a forced bottle baby due to his mothers death and Peanut due to him being so premature. My sweet Aggie was a bottle baby because she was one of 4, and her mother simply could not feed them all. 

Whatever your reason being for bottle feeding your baby goat, make sure you download and follow my feeding chart! 

It will be a huge help to make sure you’re providing the best care for your new family member!




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