Sometimes you may need to raise goat kids through bottle feeding system (if you have lost your doe or if somehow the doe is not able to nurse her babies). But do you know, when to wean bottle fed goat kids? You need to know the correct age for weaning bottle fed goat kids, if you are raising the kids through bottle feeding system. It is not nearly as much of a commitment as bottle-feeding a human kid. Because human kids might need bottle feeding for a year or more. But it’s different in caprine variety. They need not more than three months of bottle-feeding or nursing care. However, here we are describing about the correct age of weaning bottle-fed goat kids.
If you have lost your doe or if you can’t allow the doe to take care of the kids, then ensure that the kids get colostrum as soon as possible. Colostrum is a nutrient rich first milk and that provides protective antibodies and kick-starts the digestive system. Although your does are the best source of colostrum. So it will be better if your goat kids receive colostrum from their mom. Don’t feed the kids their mom’s first milk (colostrum) if your doe is affected by diseases, such as caprine arthritic encephalitis.
So having safe colostrum ready on hand is a good idea. Ask the vet in your area and purchase commercial colostrum replacers according to his/her advice. Bovine colostrum is also safe for goats. So you can also use bovine colostrum. After a few days, use commercial goat milk replacer and stop feeding colostrum.
In case of raising dairy goats, you must have to breed the does timely for producing kids to produce milk. But the problem with dairy goats is that, those kids are not often nursed by their moms. And the moms can’t take care of their babies by feeding their milk. Because you are raising dairy goats commercially and milk is your main product. In this case you can pan or bottle-feed the babies. Because the nursing reflex is instinctual, bottle feeding is much easier than pan-feeding. And through bottle feeding, you will get a better idea of how much milk each baby is consuming. Your kids need bottle feeding at least four times a day, for the first three weeks. Decrease the feeding time gradually. Feed them three times a day from the third week and offer the kids some solid foods from then.
Introduce your kids to some solid foods by the time they are 3 weeks of old, even while you are still bottle-feeding them. Rumen is the first section of the four part stomach of goats. Food is partially digested in the rumen (with solids regurgitated to form the cud). And feeding goat youngsters solid foods stimulates development of the rumen. Goats break down the partially digested nutrients, when they chew their cud. Try to give the kids free-choice feed which contain about 14 to 16 percent protein. Introducing solids to the kids also have many more benefits. It makes the stomach fully functional before final weaning.
You can completely wean your goat kids within their three months of age. Although weaning much depends on the growth and health condition of kids. Some kids become ready to eat solid foods completely before three months, and some kids need longer for taking solids. And some kids don’t eat enough solid foods right after weaning. You have to introduce solid foods to this type of kids regularly. Always monitor the kid’s food intake and observe their weight and overall health condition. Also read raising orphan goats and abandoned newborn goat care.