I have been feeding the bottle goats less often and giving them hay and grain to munch on. They no longer eat out of a bottle instead drink out of a pail. They are 6 weeks old and as soon as they get to eating the hay and grain really well I will not give them any milk replacer at all. They are eating hay pretty good now but not eating grain or drinking much water so I give them the milk replacer in the pail still so they have liquids but am hoping in a week or so that I can stop feeding milk replacer at all. They are outdoors right now in a dog run munching on green grass
At 5 weeks they should be down to a bottle of milk 2 times a day (yes?) - with a momma goat they would already be nibbling hay and grass or browse.
I would do the following -
Put them out during the longest part of the day and bring them in at night for a week to two weeks to slowly wean them from being 'house' babies. This is going to be your hardest habit to break. If they are accustomed to living in your house they will remember it forever and any chance they get even as adult goats will try to come inside 'their' house.
During this time give them a bottle in the morning, a bottle of warm water during the day and a bottle of milk at night. As they get used to being with the other goats they will learn to browse and eat hay.
Over the course of the following 2 weeks take away the warm water bottle in mid day - they will learn to drink from the goat stock tank or buckets and probably will already be doing this as they watch other goats in their first days of being out of the house.
Over the next set of two weeks take away one of the bottles. Then the next time take away the remaining bottle.
Our little kids still wanted to suck our fingers and ran to us as if we had a bottle for them but they eventually move on and get over that by 12 weeks.
When they are old enough to start weaning (no sooner then 8 weeks) I'd slowly start dropping one bottle at a time, give them atleast a week between before dropping another bottle. At 5 weeks my kids are still on 4 bottles a day, I might cut them back to 3 at 6 weeks, but most likely they'll be on 4 until 8 weeks old, then cut down to 3 until 12 weeks, then I start the weaning process.
Are they being offered hay, grain, and water? If not you need to start, and I wouldn't even think about starting the weaning process unless they are already eating hay and grain well. If you have a friendly older goat they can be with the easiest way for them to learn is to be taught by another goat.
I just want to clarify my post. If you wait until they are really ready to wean, weaning is simple and natural. There is no "how can I get them to drink??" or "why aren't they eating very much" when they are ready-and I've never had any problems since I switched from weaning at eight weeks to weaning at twelve. Ruminants have delicated digestive systems that take a while to go from single stomached digestion to four stomached digestion.
People that have trouble weaning at 4 weeks or 8 weeks have trouble b/c that's really too early to wean. Just because you see them eating hay/grain/etc doesn't mean their rumens are fully developed and ready to process a whole diet. And just because you CAN wean that early, doesn't mean that's the best option.
If you left a goat on it's mother, she would feed it for AT LEAST SIX MONTHS. Given that fact, three months doesn't feel all that long.
Also, I must disagree with Miss P on giving water in a bottle. That is contradictary to your goal. You WANT them to be a little thirsty when you are trying to wean, that will encourage them to seek out other options.
When my bucklings were 10 weeks old they would not drink from the stock tank. The only way I knew for sure they were getting water and learned to like the water as opposed to the the milk replacer was to give them a midday bottle of warm water.