FAQ:  Bottle Feeding Kids
Maxine Kinne

Q.  My Pygmy doe died after delivery, and we are bottle feeding her week-old kid. We give him as much goat milk as he wants when he acts hungry, but he only drinks small amounts each time. Today his yellow stool had traces of blood. Do I call the vet or change his diet? 

Call your veterinarian now about the bloody stool. This is an unusual symptom and may indicate intestinal infection. If your veterinarian prescribes medication, ask for one you can put in his bottle. Yellow stool is common at this age due to his milk diet. His feces will become brown as he starts eating hay.

You didn't mention his weight, how much milk he takes or how often he is fed. A kid should get 15% of its body weight per day, divided into 3-4 feedings timed about equally apart. He should take equal amounts each time if you feed him at regular intervals, not just when he seems to want a bottle. Here is a general chart of amounts I use:

Birth 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)

Kids can be weaned at 10-12 weeks if they are eating sufficient roughage (hay) and chewing a cud. When fine-stemmed grass hay and fresh water are available all the time from about one week of age, he should begin to eat and drink. Do not exceed the daily milk amounts or he will not consume the hay or water he needs to develop his rumen.

Fresh goat milk is ideal for kids, but it should be pasteurized if you don't know the disease status of the herd providing the milk. Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAEV) and Johne's disease are very harmful, and kids can become infected from drinking even a tiny amount of unpasteurized milk that contains these organisms.

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