How to bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid is easier than you might think, and it ensures proper nutrition and forms more docile milk goats. With a little bit of practice, you’ll get the hang of it and be able to bottle-feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid like a seasoned pro.
The debate on whether or not to bottle feed goat kids or let them be dam-raised is a long one with many valid points on either side.
- Overfeeding – the risk of overfeeding when you bottle feed a Nigerian dwarf goat kid (or any goats really) is one of the largest when it comes to deciding if you should leave the kids with their mother or bottle raise them. Goats have very sensitive stomachs which means overfeeding can be very harmful.
- It’s a lot of work – while baby goats can go typically go for 8 hours (usually overnight) you will still need to be prepared for long nights.
- While bottle-feeding a goat kid looks cute and easy it can be very difficult especially if the kid has already been with its mother-to-nurse and never had a bottle.
- When you choose to bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf kid you have to be extremely aware of any changes in the behavior, or body and prepared to act quickly. Not knowing, or not being prepared can lead to the death of the bottle baby goat.
- Some people say that when you bottle feed a Nigerian dwarf goat kid makes them more friendly, and easier to manage. This can be accomplished also with the daily handling of the goat kids from the moment they are born.
However, sometimes it does become necessary to step in and bottle feed a Nigerian dwarf goat kid because a doe rejected her kid, the kid has been orphaned, or the kid is in danger from its mother or the rest of the herd. Or you brought home a bottle baby and suddenly need to know how to bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid.
The Case For Bottle Feeding Nigerian Dwarf Goat Kids
If you keep goats at some point you probably will find yourself having to bottle-feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid or two at some point.
- When you bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid it helps you to ensure that it is getting enough nutrients to be healthy.
- Handling your goats throughout the day does tend to make them more friendly and docile when they grow up. This especially makes it easier if you have milk goats because they are used to you handling them.
- If you plan on selling milk or using it while having Nigerian Dwarf kids bottle feeding can help to ensure that your kids are healthy and your family or business has what it needs.
Bottle Feeding Nigerian Dwarf Kids
So if the day comes and you find yourself in a position where you need to bottle-feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid it can be really hard to find the information. The internet has lots of options for bottle-feeding normal-size goats but when you need information specifically on bottle-feeding a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid it’s crickets.
We’ve been there, when we brought home our second goat she happened to be a bottle baby. After hours and hours of research, and talking to friends that had experience raising Nigerian Dwarf goats we finally had enough information to scrape together to feel confident taking care of her.
What To Feed Nigerian Dwarf Goat Kids
The first step in how to bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid is what to feed it. Now that may sound silly since obviously, they drink milk like any baby, but let’s go over exactly what you to bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid.
- Goat’s milk – if you can get your hands on raw goat’s milk or you have a doe in milk this is the best option for your bottle baby.
- Whole cow’s milk – if you don’t have a goat in milk, whole cow milk is the next best option. You can get it from your cow, a local farm, or the grocery store.
- Milk replacer – some people don’t recommend the use of milk replacer because it can cause scours (diarrhea), can be harder to find, and more expensive.
- Another option is to make your own goat formula, there are many takes on this from combining whole milk, evaporated milk, and buttermilk & this one that adds yogurt to the formula.
Depending on how old the goat kid is they may first need colostrum.
What You Need To Bottle Feed A Nigerian Dwarf Goat Kid
To bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid you are going to need:
- A bottle – I like to use a glass 8oz coke bottle because it doesn’t collapse when I am bottle feeding a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid. But a sturdy plastic bottle will work fine too.
- Nipple – I like to use the pull on lamb/kid nipples however you may need to t
ry a couple.
- Milk or Milk Replacer – If I’m not using fresh milk to bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid I like to use the Dumor Goat Milk Replacer. We raised our first bottle baby on this and she did really well.
How Often To Feed Nigerian Dwarf Kids
The day the Nigerian Dwarf goat kid is born it will need several small meals. We feed our bottle babies every four hours or when they get fussy. Don’t worry if the kid doesn’t eat much more than a couple of ounces for the first several meals. After that first day of feeding colostrum, you can move to a feeding schedule with a milk replacer or milk.
Nigerian Dwarf Bottle Feeding Schedule
Because Nigerian Dwarf goats are so much smaller than full-sized goats when it comes to the amounts and how often to bottle feed them it’s hard to find an exact answer.
A large part of bottle feeding Nigerian Dwarf goat kids is feeling, every kid is different. A well-fed kid is bright, alert, active, and ever-exploring the world. Kids who aren’t feeling well will be just the opposite, standing around, lethargic, crying out. Always go by what your kids tell you over a book or article does.
But how do you know what is enough, and what is too much when you bottle feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid? Other than going by feel, the next best thing is by weight.
Bottle Feeding Kids Days 1-7
Generally, a newborn will eat 1-2 ounces of warm milk, four-five times per day. I tend to go by how my kid feels. Their belly should feel fairly full after feeding but never tight.
If the goat kid did not have a chance to get colostrum from their mother you MUST get this into them. They will not survive without it. You can find some at your local farm supply usually or if possible milk the goat kids’ mother and give it to them in a bottle.
You’ll want to ensure the baby goat is warm their temperature should be between 101.5 to 103.5 degrees F or they can’t process the milk. The bottle should be about 104 degrees, (the temperature of the baby goat or a little warmer).
If the kid is weak and that’s the reason you have to bottle feed them you may want to bring them inside where it’s warm and you can check on them regularly (try to get them moved back out by day 2 or 3). If the bottle baby is doing ok, keep them with the herd as much as possible. Goats are herd animals which means they really need to be near each other. This also means that the momma may change her mind and take the kid back.
Your Nigerian Dwarf kid might not always finish all of its bottles, and that is OK. Typically you can tell a kid is full during any feeding when it starts chewing on the nipple instead of sucking.
Our bottle babies go on a feeding schedule:
Not everyone uses a schedule, but I’ve found it helpful so we do a routine of:
- 8 AM
- 12 AM
- 4 PM
- 8 PM
Monitor them closely during the first few days to make sure they are getting enough to eat. Weighing them is a good idea to ensure they are gaining weight. Nigerian Dwarfs tend to be so small it can be hard to be sure they are gaining weight without doing this. Begin offering free-choice minerals, water, and hay to your Nigerian Dwarf goat kids by day three.
Make sure that the water is in a shallow dish that a baby can easily get out of should they fall in.
Tips For Getting A Goat Kid On A Bottle
Having trouble bottle-feeding a Nigerian Dwarf kid? Try these tips!
- If you are struggling to get your baby goat to take a bottle try putting honey or molasses on the nipple to help get the kid to suck on it.
- If the goat kid will not accept the bottle try using a different nipple. There are a couple on the market, but if they won’t accept any of them try a human bottle.
- If your goat kid really won’t accept the bottle try using a small syringe and gently syringe the milk into the kid’s mouth. Be very careful and go slow as you can get it in the goat’s lungs. You may also need to tube-feed the baby goat.
- Keep trying, it may take a couple of days, but typically if they get hungry enough they will take the bottle.
Bottle Feeding Kids Days 8-14
Continue to bottle feed your Nigerian Dwarf kid four times a day on days 8-14. Increase to 4 ounces of milk or milk replacer by week two.
Bottle Feeding Kids Days 15-21
On day 15 you will increase your Nigerian Dwarf to 6-8 ounces per feeding 4 times per day and continue until the end of week 3.
Bottle Feeding Kids Days 22-28
If your Nigerian Dwarf goat kids are eating hay well and seeming to grow well, this is when you can reduce the number of feedings in a day:
We aim for 8 AM, 2 PM, 8 PM. If the weather is particularly rough or I have any other reason to be concerned, I will extend the 4 bottle routine another week just to make sure they are thriving.
Bottle Feeding Kids Days 29-35
Continue feeding your Nigerian Dwarf kids on the 3 times a day schedule of 8 AM, 2 PM, and 8 PM.
The goat kids should be eating with the herd; on pasture in summer and on hay in winter. At this age, they are energetic and into everything. If I’m feeling good about my Nigerian Dwarf bottle babies’ growth, we’ll go down to 2 bottles a day early in week 6, at 8 AM and 8 PM.
This is preferable, but it’s important to go by the individual kids, the weather, any health issues, and any other factors that can affect their growth. If they aren’t ready don’t rush them.
On week 7 take them down to one bottle with 6 to 8 ounces at 8 AM.
You can wean your Nigerian Dwarf goat kids at 8 weeks or when the kids are reliably eating hay and nibbling goat feed, start the weaning process by reducing the number of feedings and volume per feeding. You can do it abruptly all at once, but your kids will be angry. I suggest a multiday process.
It won’t hurt to continue bottle feeding your Nigerian Dwarf until their several months old if you have the milk and time but they really need to be having milk until 8 weeks. The best indicator that they’re ready to wean is eating solid foods well and growing well.
|Week||8 AM||12 PM||2 PM||4 PM||8 PM|
|Newborn – 2 Days||2 oz||2oz||2oz||2oz|
|3 Days – 1 Week||3-4 oz||3-4oz||3-4oz||3-4oz|
|2- 4 Weeks||6-8oz||6-8oz||6-8oz||6-8oz|
|Week 7 – Weaning||6-8oz|
How To Wean A Nigerian Dwarf Goat Kid
To wean your Nigerian Dwarf goat kids you can just stop giving them a bottle altogether. Or you can take a more gradual approach and give them a half bottle for a few days before removing a certain time of day from the schedule. This is the method I prefer to use.
As long as your Nigerian Dwarf kids are healthy, go with whatever way you prefer. Just be sure there is free choice solid food, minerals, and water available for them to make up for the loss of milk nutrients.
Did we answer all of your questions on how to bottle-feed a Nigerian Dwarf goat kid? If not drop them in the comments and we will try to answer them!