How to raise a baby goat!
Raising a baby goat is like having a child..just without the actual giving birth part. There are feeding schedules, nap schedules, and potty training. I learned all of this a few years back when my husband and I bought some property and decided to raise farm animals.
We had goats, minitature horses, and chickens. One of our goats had twins around July 4th two years ago and unfortunately she and one of the babies died the next day. The baby goat that lived was small and my husband said it would be a miracle if it survived.
I however was determined that she would thrive. I named her Little Jenny because her mom's name had been Jenny. I would call her LJ for short. Here is the steps I took in raising her:
I had to feed her regularly. Baby goats have small stomachs and require feeding at least four or more times a day. In order to feed her I took a trip to the local tractor supply store and picked up what I would need to care and nourish my newborn. I bought a specialized nipple, and some goat milk that was in powder form. The associate at the tractor supply store told me that the nipple could be used on a 20 oz coke bottle, so I didn't buy a specialized bottle.
I took the powder home and mixed it with water and put it in a bottle to give to Lj. At first it was hard to get her to suck on the nipple..she kept turning her head away. I kept at it and finally she started sucking and finished off all of her milk. In the early weeks since she did eat so frequently; if I had to go run errands or leave the house, I would load Lj, her milk, and her bottles and we would take a ride. She would ride in a plastic tote and would usually sleep until we reached our destination. Since the milk I had to feed her was not as nutritious as what she would have received from her mother, her horns didn't develop as quickly or not as strong as they should have been. However over time they got bigger and eventually became stronger. Since raising LJ I have found through research that I could have given her goat milk from another goat (which can often be hard to come by) because in GA you have to have a special license to sell or distribute goat milk. Therefore this was not an option open to me...but should you ever need to raise a baby goat...then try to find goat milk!
I had to provide her with a place to sleep that would be warm and safe. Most goats would be kept outside but I decided to bring LJ inside. I put her in a plastic tote with straw to keep her warm for the first few weeks. I would also wrap her in a blanket if I thought she was getting cold. I placed the tote near my bed at night so I could easily get up and feed her. During the day she would sleep on a stool or on the carpet.
I would keep her coat brushed and would clean her face, ears, and body daily. I would take her outside during the day so she could get some sun and have playtime. I would also encourage her to potty outside (almost like training a new puppy) which cut down on the accidents inside. I could always tell when she was about to potty because she would kinda squat down, so if we were inside I would grab her and race outside and eventually I learned her signals and she would always go outside.
When she was around three weeks, I started giving her grass and hay to get her used to grazing. During the day I would take her outside and give her the grass/hay mixture or let her walk around and graze, so she would get in the habit of knowing what weeds, grass she liked to eat. When she reached 10 weeks I started gradually weaning her from the milk and started giving her some goat feed; with an occasional treat of sweet feed.
I had a gentlemen come out and trim her hooves since he did my horses at the same time. Some people will dehorn their goats, but I chose not to do this on LJ because since I felt she would need her horns to protect against natural enemies (one being dogs). I also gaving her medicine to prevent worms and had our vet give her vaccinations that were needed to keep her strong and healthy.
As LJ began to grow and started jumping or bouncing on everything, I knew it was time to put her in the pasture with the other goats. It was an adjustment for her. At first the other goats would head butt her to establish the pecking order and she didn't stay in their unit. Eventually things settled down and she learned how to follow the other goats around in the pasture when they would be out grazing. She started playing around with them and finally found her place in the herd so to speak. It is always best for a baby goat to be with their mother as they get more nutrients from her milk than what I the milk I got for LJ at the tractor store, but since her mother died after giving birth LJ would have died had I not raised her. I cherish the special memory of raising her. Should anyone ever have to raise a baby goat, I hope my shared knowledge will help you in some small way.