feeding Nigerian dwarf goats

There are as many ways to care for goats as there are goats and goat keepers.  This is just how we do things here.  We are providing this information for reference only.  If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.  Our kids are pulled from their mothers and bottle fed from birth.  This is a personal preference that we have chosen for a variety of reasons.  This is how we feed them.  Obviously a Dam raised kid will have slightly different requirements.

 

Equipment Needed:  

8 oz or larger Soda or Water bottles (We prefer the glass 8oz coke bottles)

Lamb nipples (Pritchard Nipples work too, but we prefer the plain black lamb nipples)

Electric Hot Water Kettle (Not necessary, but makes life a lot simpler)

 

Before you begin:

Whenever possible use colostrum and/or milk from the Dam of the kid you are feeding.  Colostrum should be heat treated before feeding to kids in order to prevent the spread of CAE or other diseases passed through milk.  Heat colostrum in a double boiler to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain that temperature for 1 hour.  Regular milk should be pasteurized at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes before feeding to kids.  Once time is up, place milk in a clean glass bowl in a sink full of ice water to cool.  Store in freezer or serve once temperature has been reduced to 103 degrees Fahrenheit +/-.  If freezing colostrum I prefer to do it in ice cube trays.  Once the tray is frozen solid pop out cubes and place in a ziplock freezer bag with any excess air pressed out.  For regular milk I use human breast milk freezer bags and store in 6 ounce increments.  Always be sure to label Dam name and date milk was collected.  I try to keep enough milk in my freezer for one kid from birth through 12 weeks at all times.  Discard any milk that reaches one year of age.  For the first week until they accept the bottle readily feed one ounce or less at a time.  Once they've back washed in the bottle the remaining milk needs to be discarded.

 

First 24hrs:  

  • Feed heat treated colostrum only, as much as they'll take, as often as they will take it.  Make sure to get colostrum in the kid as soon as possible after birth, at least within the first few hours.  Generally, they'll want to be fed every 2-4 hours.  

*It can take up to 4 days for them to accept a bottle so be patient with them.  Hold the kid on your lap with head cupped in one hand, head tilted up.  Use fingertip from the same hand to nudge open the kids mouth and place the nipple in the mouth using your other hand.  It helps to keep a hand towel draped between your hand and the kid, with enough left over to drape over their head once the nipple is in their mouth.  This helps provide the darkness that they get when they are under the Dam's udder.  

 

Day Two:  (7am - 1pm - 7pm - 1am is our schedule but do whatever times work best for you)

  • Feed 4 ounces of colostrum mixed with whole goat milk every 6 hours.  

 Day Three:  (7am - 1pm - 7pm - 1am)

  • Feed 4 ounces of whole goat milk every 6 hours

 Days Four through Seven:  (7am - 1pm - 7pm)

  • Feed 6 ounces of whole goat milk every 6 hours during daylight hours.  Kids should be sleeping through the night by this point, so nighttime feedings are no longer required.  

 From 1-2 Weeks:  (7am - 1pm - 7pm)

  • Feed 6 ounces of whole goat milk every 6 hours during daylight hours.  
  • Begin leaving clean, fresh water available in a shallow dish.  Be sure water dish is as high as you can place it with them still able to drink from the bottom.  You want them to drink it, not play in it or poop in it.  Make sure it's secure and wont be tipped either.
  • Begin making hay available, but expect them to waste it, not eat it.  

 From 3-4 Weeks:  (7am - 1pm - 7pm)

  • Feed 8 ounces of whole goat milk every 6 hours during daylight hours.  
  • Leave clean, fresh water available in a shallow dish.
  • Make hay available free choice at all times
  • Feed 1/8 Cup pelleted goat feed in the evenings.  We use SHOW GOAT PELLETS with Deccox® from Bartlett Milling Co. for our kids and non-lactating goats.  Any grain remaining by morning should be discarded.  
  • Begin leaving loose minerals available free choice.  We use Manna Pro Goat Mineral Supplement.

 From 4-6 Weeks:  (7am - 1pm - 7pm)

  • Feed 12 ounces of whole goat milk twice a day, 6 hours apart.  
  • Continue feeding 1/8 cup per day of pelleted grain in the evenings as well as free choice hay and minerals.

 From 6-8 Weeks:  (7am - 1pm - 7pm)

  • Begin feeding 1/8 cup pelleted feed in the morning.  
  • Feed 12 ounces of whole goat milk at mid-day.  Gradually reduce the quantity of mid-day feeding until weaned.
  • Continue feeding 1/8 cup of per day of pelleted grain in the evenings as well as free choice hay and minerals.

 8 Weeks to 1 Year:  (7am - 7pm)

  • Gradually increase grain amount from 1/4 Cup per day to 1 Cup per day.  
  • Provide hay, minerals, and fresh clean water free choice at all times

1 Year Old and Up (Bucks, Wethers, and Dry Unbred Does:  (7am - 7pm)

  • 1 Cup grain per day (unmedicated)
  • 1 pound of Chaffhaye per 50lbs of goat
  • Provide minerals, and fresh clean water free choice at all times

 **Our bucks are fed once a day in the evenings.  Our does are fed twice a day per our milking schedule in order to keep them trained to the stand regardless of their breeding or lactating condition**

 

Pregnant Does:   (7am - 7pm)

  • 1.5 Cup grain per day (unmedicated)
  • 1.1 pound of Chaffhaye per 50lbs of goat
  • Provide minerals, and fresh clean water free choice at all times

 Lactating Does:  (7am - 7pm)

  • 1.5 Cup grain per day (unmedicated)
  • 1.2 pound of Chaffhaye per 50lbs of goat
  • Provide minerals, and fresh clean water free choice at all times

Pregnant and Lactating:  (7am - 7pm)

  • 2 Cup grain per day (unmedicated)
  • 1.4 pound of Chaffhaye per 50lbs of goat
  • Provide minerals, and fresh clean water free choice at all times