Bottle Feeding Babies

The best feed for baby animals comes right from their mothers. At times, farmers need to or want to step in and hand feed the little ones. In commericial dairy production, almost all calves, kids and lambs are bottle babies.

We prefer to feed 10 percent of the animal's body weight per day in whole milk. We use our own goat milk for this purpose. It is best to feed milk to the babies from their own species, but goat milk works well for calves and lambs if needed.

If you are concerned about CAE or Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis, pasturize your milk before feeding to prevent transmission of this disease.

If you do not have fresh goats milk available or cannot purchase some from a dairy, there is always commercial milk replacer. We recommend Premium Blend Doe's Match Kid Milk Replacer by Land O Lakes for goats. Doe's Match is 25% protein and 28% fat with the Architect Formulation System. This system contains a combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates. This helps to grow bigger, more vigorous kids.

We also use Premium Blend Ultra Fresh Lamb Milk Replacer by Land O Lakes for lambs. The lamb milk replacer is 24% protein and 35% fat for maximum performance in lambs. The Ultra Fresh milk replacer is formulated with complex carbohydrate Beta glucan to promote gut health and lead to stronger immunity protection.

Land O Lakes Cow's Match calf growth formula is used for our Zebu calves. It contains the same unique carbohydrate technology as in the kid milk replacer. We bottle raise most of them because they are sold for the pet market.

Land O Lakes can be purchased in our area from Southern States. They normally stock the smaller buckets and bags, however, we special order 50 pound bags which are medicated and less expensive in the long run. The milk replacer is still quite expensive being approximately $100+ for a 50 pound bag for kids. This is where having a milking dairy goat or two comes in quite handy. Those large Boer, Nubian and Zebu babies can really go through a bag quickly.

If you use any other brand of milk replacer, look on the tag to ensure that milk is the first ingredient. Cheaper brands often contain no milk.

We also have had excellent success using the medicated replacers. They help to prevent scours and coccidiosis. Since utilizing medicated replacers, we have had no instances of scours or coccidiosis in our babies.

Feed babies smaller milk rations often throughout the day instead of giving them one or two big feedings. Whether you use a bucket with nipples attached (lamb bar) or a bottle, use nipples appropriate to the animals size. Do not use pans. Keep all equipment squeeky clean!

While bottle or bucket feeding, start the babies on dry food immediately. Offer them a small flake of hay and some grain or whole oats.

And, don't forget that colostrum must be received from the baby's mother within the first 24 hours of life. It jump starts the baby's immune system. If the mother's colostrum is not available, feed colostrum you have frozen from other animals in your herd or purchase powdered colostrum from the feed store. Cow colostrum can be used for other species in a pinch.

Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, LLC
Farmstead Goat Dairy
3255 Buffalo Creek Farm Road
Germanton, NC 27019