Goat feeding questions

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Lillyk24, May 10, 2016.

  1. Lillyk24

    Lillyk24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2016
    Hello there, I have 2 baby goats that are about 2 months old. Not sure of the exact day they were born because I bought them from a lady (I should say goat mill). But that is a different story. When I got them they were so sick, but I felt in my heart I needed to rescue them. After lots of vet visits, shots, medicine and lots of love they are doing well. But now I worry about them not eating what they should. I know its too much, but I feed them 3 times a day about 16-20 oz a day. Morning Lunch and before bed. They do have sweet grain always available to them, but have not much interest in it. I also have hay and grass always available, but they do not care much for either. They do however eat my blackberry bushes ;( How can I get them off the bottle and eat the hay and grain? They do not drink water either, I have a few bowls out there, but no interest in that either. They were taken from their mom the first day they were born please dont criticize me, it was not my choice, I got them when they were about 5 days old and 9 days old. I don't believe they had any colostrum, I think she saved it for the baby girls. Sorry another story. Basically I need help/suggestions on how to transition them from a bottle to grains, hay, water. How much should I be feeding them and how do I know that they are not hungry if I start giving them less and less milk replacer? I am sorry for all the questions, but I know a lot of you have been in my situation and have gone through this. I appreciate the help and advice.

    Jen
     
  2. dpsoffgrid

    dpsoffgrid Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2016
    We raise quit a few goats, we have done bottle babies and they will keep drinking as long as you let them. If there not around other goats to watch, they don't know what (feed) is. We have had kids that are two days old eating forage and grain with the others. Learned behavior. Eating forage is natural. If you can take the screaming, start cutting them off the milk.
     
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  3. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    At 8 weeks they should be eating both hay and grain. Cut the bottles to twice a day and then to once. They may not be eating hay and grain simply because they aren't hungry. I wouldn't think being around other goats should matter. I raised my kids in pens with other kids their own age. They did not have older goats around that they could mimic but they learned to eat dry feed anyway. Vaccinate them for entero if you haven't already done so. CD/T takes care of both tetanus and entero.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I answered your other thread, they are still getting too much milk, at eight weeks it's time to start weaning, they won't eat anything else until you cut down the milk, you are delaying the development of the rumen and the ability for them to digest hay, they need to be hungry enough to start eating hay, otherwise they will just wait for milk.
     
  5. Lillyk24

    Lillyk24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you everyone for the responses. I am worried that they wont get enough food, I cut it down to 2 bottles a day and when I give it to them they scarf it down quicker than ever. Would they starve themselves if they don't eat? They are by themselves and no other goats to watch. Again thank you for helping...I love these guys and want nothing but the best for them...
     
  6. Lillyk24

    Lillyk24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank You!
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    They have to be hungry to eat hay, they will always choose milk first. A mom goat starts to not let them feed very often, then walks off within seconds. They do copy what their mom does, that's why I always stuff hay in their mouths whenever I can, eventually they will chew on it. Keep feeding the milk and they won't start eating what they need to. They will always want the bottle and act like they are starving, eventually it needs to be their decision to eat when they are hungry.

    It can be more harmful to feed too much milk. I keep bringing up rumens development, it's important for that system to start working at a young age in order for them to have a good digestive system as an adult. I've raised many kids on a bottle, none have starved, all have been fed half of what you are feeding all have done well, you don't want fat kids, that's unhealthy.
     
  8. Lillyk24

    Lillyk24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the advice, I will be taking it. I am down to 2 bottles a day, but they are still not eating or drinking any water. My girls and I will have to work harder and show them how to eat. Any suggestions on how to teach them to drink water from a bowl? I really thank you for your time to write back and talk with me...
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    When they get thirsty they will drink. They are still getting a lot of liquid, so it might be a bit. I personally start to replace some milk replacer with water during weaning. I will start to feed less replacer than follow up with some warm water. If they are getting 16 ounces of replacer, I offer another 4 in water, than the replacer goes down to 10 and water goes up to 6-8. Don't give too much water, but it's a good way to wean. In the end I'm giving them 8 ounces of water twice a day that they don't really want. Goats don't drink a lot unless it's hot out. Mine always just find it eventually but don't drink much while being bottle fed.

    Two years ago I bought two mom fed dairy boys at 8 weeks, they were and still are wild. They refused to eat any grain and only would eat hay and grass. Never had any milk after 8 weeks. I couldn't work with them because of health problems. They fed themselves and learned to drink. They did fine without any intervention. So don't worry too much.

    The main thing to remember with goats is to always make all dietary changes slowly, especially anything involving grains. You can kill them pretty quick by switching feeds or over feeding them. It's always better to under feed a goat. They have delicate digestive systems that are meant to consume large quantities of roughage, which means lots of saliva to keep the rumen less acidic. Bloat, acidosis, and over eaters are all deadly, so get them eating hay and grass. I also give mine tree trimmings from willow and fruit trees.

    Here's last year's troublemakers.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Lillyk24

    Lillyk24 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2016
    Good Morning,

    Thank you for this valuable information. I will cut back on the replacer and start some water in a bottle, and get some good hay and maybe different grains and food. They are on sweet food now a lot of people said to use that first. So basically if they are hungry they will eat hay and grains and drink water if its hot outside? I have been doing everything I can to keep my babies healthy. The younger one was very very sick and had a lot of dr apts and is doing great now. And a lot of grat advice from you and others on here, so thank you for that.

    I have to ask you, but dont answer if you dont feel comfortable. Where are you located? I see you are in WI, I am in Montello...And what kind of goats are those in the picture? They are so cute, I have one that looks just like them, but his is black, brown and white. Not sure what breeds I have though...when i got them they were in a sickly environment and not in the best health, but it was in my heart to save them.

    Thank you again for everything

    Have a great day

    Jen
     

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