Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bottle feeding baby goats: Jack and Sookie

On March 6th 2012 I bought 2 baby goats that were both just a couple days old for $25 a piece.  Since I am on a really tight budget I had to figure a way to get goats without paying $300 for a grown doe. They are Alpine goats as I plan on producing milk so that I can make my own dairy products.  Although I think Jack (the brown one) may have a touch of Nubian in him because his ears flop down just a touch and he looks like the flying nun.  They came from a dairy herd which in the horse trailer that I picked my babies out of there were Nubians, Alpines and LaMancha's.  I also believe Jack may have been a day or so older than Sookie because he was much steadier on his feet and bigger than she was.

The man that I bought them from told me I should buy goat milk replacer from the feed store and at the same time warned me that baby goats just die and he had never been able to keep one alive.  They were still wobbly on their feet.  We had to teach them what the baby bottle was.  We used a regular baby bottle like for human babies and then I split the nipple with a knife about 1/4th of an inch so that the milk would flow easier.  Because he had told me that they die easy I did research online and found many sites that said that the milk replacer kills baby goats.  So I used regular Vitamin D store bought whole milk, I figured that if baby cows could drink it then why not baby goats.  They started out drinking about 8 ounces every 4 hours.  The first few days I got up around the clock and fed my babies. In about two weeks they were up to drinking 18 ounces of milk each about 5 times a day.  In the beginning 2 weeks I kept them in the house in my laundry room so I could keep an eye on them worried that they would just keel over like the man had told me.  At 2 weeks I built them a small pen outside the back door and put them out there during the day.  They began nibbling on the grass and eating the dirt....  At about 3 weeks I built them a small house so they could stay in the pen at night also.
At about a month old I introduced grain to them.  At first it was my homemade Granola and boy did they love that!  By a 5 weeks old they were drinking the 18 ounces of milk 4 times a day and Jack wanted more.  They were eating grass and grain. They had stripped the grass in the pen down to nothing so I put collars on them and tied ropes to the collars and let them be out in the field to graze.  Cememnt blocks tied to the other end of the rope.  I began decreasing them down on the number of feedings first to 4 times then to 3 times then to twice a day then only at night when I put them back into their pen. Then down to only 1 bottle at night and then the next step was down to no bottles at night.  Now they only get their grain when they go back to their pen.  I can unhook them from the ropes and they will run to their pen because they know a treat is waiting for them.  I gave them their CD + T vaccination at 6 weeks old.  They did not like the needles.  They also got a dose of wormer.
They are now 2 months old and completely weaned.

This is Jack
And this is Sookie (she would not stand still for the camera)

They are both healthy and growing as fast as the weeds.  I hope to have a fence soon so that I can quit taking them to the ropes every morning.

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