Is my bottle baby getting enough milk?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 16, 2013
This weekend I bought two Nubian bottle babies. They are taking 20 oz twice a day. Is this enough milk or should I increase their amount? I want them to be healthy and reach their maximum growth even if I have to bottle feed more for longer. As long as they are healthy! How long do I need to keep up the two bottles a day before decreasing to one bottle?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 16, 2013
They are a month old and I'm not feeding milk replacer...the breeder and the vet recommended against it because it has been known to kill kids. I am feeding vitamin d milk.


9 Years
Jan 17, 2011
I follow this:


Any kid under 2 mos of age still needs milk.*
*If the kids is younger, but already weaned, and is eating kid starter feed and hay well, you do not need to put them back on milk if they don’t want to take a bottle. Just be sure to feed adequate amounts so they grow to their full potential. Sudden dietary changes can make a goat very sick, very fast….remember to make any changes / additions gradually.

Kids should be trained to a bottle before being sold, but sometimes the mom dies suddenly or other things prevent that. Training a dam-raised kid to bottle can be a challenge. Try sitting above the kid so it is ‘under’ you and reaching up for the nipple, like it would if it were still on mom.

Bottle feeding:

Feed them 3x a day, with at least 6 hours between feedings.
Whole milk is best (vitamin D from the grocery) unless you have a supply of fresh goat milk.
Some milk replacers work fine, but generally ‘multi species’ replacers will cause scours and you don’t want to risk that with young kids. If the kid is already on replacer and doing fine, use the same replacer throughout the feeding process. If the kid begins to scour, consider switching to whole milk. If replacer is the culprit, the whole milk should straighten them out in a day or so.

Warm the milk as you would for a human baby. A warm water bath or short zap in the microwave will suffice…Shake well if you use the microwave, it can cause hot spots.

If you bought them / are buying them from a breeder, ask them for a written-out schedule, how much milk they’re drinking, and what style nipple they are using.
· Nipples can be purchased at farm supply stores like TSC, Rural King, etc.
· Human baby bottles can be used for mini kids.
· Standard kids prefer a bigger nipple, especially as they grow.

A 1 week old kid won’t take as much milk as a 2 mo. old kid, obviously…you gradually increase the amount given until they peak at around 20oz for standard kids, 12 oz. for mini kids, 3 times per day.

Newborns Newborns NEED colostrums for the 1st 24 hours. If you don’t have any, farm stores carry colostrums REPLACER. It needs to say REPLACER, not supplement. Standards take 4-8 oz every 6 hours for at least 3 feedings. 4 is even better.

Suggested feeding schedule for standards (use a little more than half for minis and adjust accordingly. Not every standard kid will eat this much, and some minis may want more). Make adjustments slowly.

Days 2-7

Bottles at 8am - 2pm – 9pm – 6-8 oz.

Days 7-14 –

Introduce them to hay. They will probably only play with it at first, but put a little in front of them. Change it daily if it’s soiled / stepped on.

Bottles at 8am - 2pm – 9pm – 10-12 oz.

Days 14-60 –

Introduce them to pelleted feed – a good 16% goat ration.
Offer only a handful at first, and change it out daily. They won’t eat ‘old’ feed.
You can research what is a good feed in your area, not all feeds are available in all places and there are many additives you may (or may not) want to consider, such as ammonium chloride to help prevent Urinary Calculi or Deccox / Rumensin to help prevent Coccidiosis.

A good, loose mineral should be offered as well. Be sure it has adequate copper levels and is formulated for goats. Refresh the mineral often, goats will ignore ‘old’ mineral.

Bottles at 8am - 2pm – 9pm – 16-20 oz.

2 mos. -

Assuming they are doing well at eating their grain / hay, cut them back to 2 bottles a day and adjust the amount of feed you put out. They will quickly figure out that that empty feeling in their tummy is helped by eating the pellets. 1/8-1/4 cup of feed offered 2x a day.

8am – 2pm – 20 oz.

2.5 mos. –

One bottle, 1x a day, and adjust feed amounts accordingly to roughly 1/4-1/2 cup 2x a day. Meat breeds will need more than dairy, minis less than standards, etc.

3 mos. –

No more bottles – You’re a big kid now!

· Never feed a ‘cold’ kid. If their mouth feels cold and they are lethargic, warm them before feeding. A cold kid can’t digest well and could get very sick if the milk goes ‘sour’ in the stomach.

· If a trained-to-the-bottle kid refuses 1 bottle, but is otherwise acting fine….it’s probably ok. It may have gotten too full at the last feeding or filled up on hay or pellets. If it refuses two feedings, there may be a problem. Baby goats LOVE to eat.

· If the kid feels “sloshy”, weak / floppy, and seems ‘off’…put ½ tsp of baking soda in just enough water to dissolve it and give it to the kid w/ a syringe. Wait 2-4 hours (or until they’re no longer sloshy) before attempting to feed it again.

· If the kid feels / acts constipated, give an enema using a luer slip syringe and warm soapy water. Try 6cc (for standards, 3cc for minis) and repeat until they poop. Be careful, it can be messy.

· Normal newborn poop is tarry and black. After a couple times, it should turn mustard colored and firm up. Continued runny poop or scours can indicate a problem.

· If a kid hasn’t had any dietary changes and begins to scour, keeping them hydrated is essential. Replace their milk with gatoraide, pedialyte or a gelling electrolyte (available from farm stores). Do not try to stop the scours with pepto or kaolin unless / until you know the cause. Scouring is the body’s way of getting rid of ‘bad stuff’ and you need to ‘cure’ the problem behind the scours.

· If you are new to goats it is always best to enlist the help of a knowledgeable vet or goat mentor with diagnosing illnesses.

· There is usually not much time to wait to get help with a sick kid. If they get sick on a Friday night and the vet is closed…chances are waiting until Monday will be too late.

· A kid under 3 wks that scours could have a bacterial infection, like salmonella or e coli. It will take antibiotics to cure them.

· A kid over 3 wks that scours could have coccidiosis and / or a bacterial infection. A fecal test and vet exam can help diagnose their illness, and the vet can suggest a treatment.

Weanlings (over 2-3 mos)

Continue with goat feed / hay / fresh browse and monitor their growth / condition. Increase feed amounts gradually. Meat breed kids usually need more feed than dairy kids to reach their full potential, and the end purpose of the animal must be kept in mind, too. A pet wether will do fine on good browse and / or hay and very little, if any, feed once they’re past the fast-growing “kid” stage. Pygmy goats can become fat very easy and it’s better for their health to not be overfed. The best thing you can do is put your hands on the kid often the ‘feel’ the condition. You should not feel the ribs or backbone through the skin, there should be layer of ‘meat’ over the bones.

If you buy a kid and you’re not sure if it’s been vaccinated with CD-T, it’s usually better to go ahead and do it. The vaccine is available at farm supply stores or online, or a veterinarian can give the shots for you.

Any time a kid has had antibiotics administered, is stressed, or has scoured, administering a probiotic (available in paste and powdered form) can help repopulate the rumen with the ‘good bugs’ goats need.

Learn all you can about parasites – they can and will kill a young goat quickly. Coccidiosis is the worst, but worms (especially Barberpole) can kill quickly, too.

There are several ways to treat / prevent coccidiosis.
Using medicated feed alone will not be enough to prevent it in small kids, they cannot eat enough to get the medication up to therapeutic levels. If a fecal shows coccidiosis, using DiMethox, Corid, or SMZ-TMP is usually recommended, and talking to your vet or mentor and having a plan before you need it is best.
Knowing which dewormers to use, and at what strength, will help tremendously to help reduce the huge problem of dewormer resistance.
There are several university studies available online that go into great detail on both traditional and alternative ways to treat / manage parasites.


7 Years
Mar 20, 2012
They are a month old and I'm not feeding milk replacer...the breeder and the vet recommended against it because it has been known to kill kids. I am feeding vitamin d milk.
Good for you!!
I bottle fed my first two goats with replacer, they had scours, which almost killed them. and it seriously stunted their growth..

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