Raising Kids on Cow Milk
Maxine Kinne

People are always surprised to hear that goat kids can be raised successfully on cow milk. That's right, 3.8% milk from the grocery store. Kids raised on cow milk grow and thrive just the same as those nursing their dams.

Newborn kids need 10% of their body weight in colostrum during the first few hours of life, as soon after birth as possible. After that, they may go straight onto store-bought milk. It's a good idea to mix it with canned or powdered goat milk in increasing proportions to get them accustomed to it over a period of several days.

The colostrum from does whose CAEV status is positive, suspect or unknown should be heat treated. To heat treat, use a double boiler to heat the colostrum to 133 degrees and hold it at that temperature for one hour, stirring constantly. Use a thermometer. Do not heat colostrum in a microwave oven because it destroys the antibodies!

Colostral antibodies are readily absorbed through the kid's gut the first few hours of life, and this ability rapidly declines. After 24 hours, the kid cannot absorb antibodies, so it is useless to continue to feed colostrum except for food value. At this point, the kid can be started on goat or cow milk. Freeze leftover colostrum for future use.

It takes about ten gallons of milk to raise a Pygmy goat kid to a 10-week weaning age if it is fed according to the following guideline.

First 24 hours
1 day to 2 weeks
2 to 6 weeks
6 to 12 weeks
3 ounces, 4 times/day (12 oz. total)
4 ounces, 4 times/day (16 oz. total)
5 ounces, 4 times/day (20 oz. total)

Related Reading
Bottle Feeding

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