Bottle feeding baby boer goats

Bottle Feeding - Irish Rock Boers

     If you haven't experienced the "joy" of raising a bottle baby, it will happen sooner or later. Every kidding season, we cross our fingers and hope that all of the babies are born strong, healthy and able to nurse on their own. Most of the time we get lucky and all goes well with mother and babies. However, there is usually a case or two where the doe has triplets or quads and just can't produce enough milk to support them all, a first time mother rejects a kid, or maybe the kid is having a hard time getting started because of the freezing weather and the kid is cold and weak.

     When the decision is made to pull the kid away from the mother, it's usually done within an hour or two after birth, this makes it easier to get the kid started on a bottle right away.  A few times, when we have had triplets, we watch the mother to be sure that she wants to raise all three kids and that her milk production can support them. We keep an eye on the kids everyday for a week to make sure that they are growing. When we notice that one may not be keeping up with the siblings, we then decide to supplement a bottle or two into the feeding schedule for that baby, while leaving them with the mother and siblings.  Sometimes, when they realize that you are giving them warm, yummy milk they take to the bottle like they have been doing it since day one. Other times, they fight the weird, rubber nipple being put in their mouths and after a little patience, they will accept the bottle as long as they can remain with their mother and siblings.

     We try to keep the bottle babies with their mother if possible, although to be honest, this is rarely the case. Because bottle babies require such constant care in the first week of life, we usually bring them into the house and they live with us until they are strong enough to go out with the other babies. Some breeders are set up so that are able to leave the babies in the barn, but we tend to have babies when the weather is still freezing, snowing and miserable. Plus, I will be honest, I have a hard time dragging myself out of bed at 2:00 am, heating up a bottle, putting on five layers of clothes and tromping out to the barn in snow and ice to feed the baby. If I have to get up every few hours to feed to the little bundle of joy, I would much rather be warm and dry.

     Through the years of bottle feeding and talking with fellow breeders, I came up with a bottle feeding schedule and I try to stick close to it, the following schedule (courtesy of Louise Goudge from TLC Boer Goats) is how we feed when we have bottle babies:

Preferably feed goat colostrum only for the first 24 hours.  A newborn kid should consume 4 to 6 oz 4 times over the first 24 hours.  Every time a doe kids on our farm we milk out at least a feeding or two to store in the freezer for 'emergencies'.   When using frozen colostrum thaw it out at room temperature or in warm water.  DO NOT microwave or overheat it.   Antibodies in the colostrum can be destroyed and the baby can be burned.   Each kid should get about 24 ounces the first day no matter how you
divide the feedings
Days 2 & 3
Goat colostrum is the ideal feed for the first 3 days of life.  If you have it available this is the best choice.  However, not everyone has this quantity available to them so they must then choose one of the commercial milk replacer formulas or make their own formula from home recipes.  Which ever method you choose - follow directions exactly, especially for commercial formulas. Using too much or too little water completely changes the chemistry and can cause life threatening problems for the baby.  I choose to use the MILK REPLACER FORMULA  listed below because it's easy to make, always available and most importantly - I've never had a problem with it.  I do not know the originator but this formula has been passed from breeder to breeder and recommended by many.  I feed 6 to 8 oz 4 times daily to achieve an intake of 24 to 32 oz per day.
Days 4-7
Feed 8 to 10 oz of formula 4 times a day.  You want to remember to increase the volume of formula gradually.  Be careful not to over feed.  Their little tummies should be smoothly rounded and filled out but should not look like 'beer bellies'.   You can cause more problems over feeding than underfeeding.  They should consume between 32 and 40 ounces.
Week 1 through Week 2
Feed 12 to 16 oz formula 3 times per day.  Or you can feed between 9 to 12 oz 4 times per day.    At one week of age I offer small amounts of creep feed and good quality hay or alfalfa for babies to nibble on.  I leave bottle babies in the paddock with the rest of the mom's and babies.  I believe this is how they learn to be goats.  I know they run and play much more since I quit keeping them separate. If babies did not get an adequate amount of colostrum they should receive 2 cc of CD&T Antitoxin before introducing solid feeds.  If they did get plenty of colostrum you can defer this injection until they are 2 wks old.  Babies must also have access to fresh clean water, salt & minerals.

Weeks 3-8
By 3 weeks of age babies are eating grain and hay free choice.  Be careful that all food and hay are kept clean and mold free.   By now babies are drinking around 48 ozs a day.  I gradually increase this to a total of 64 oz by the time they are 8 wks old.  Once I see that babies are eating grain and hay I cut the number of feedings to twice a day but stay with the total quantity fed.  So by 8 wks they are drinking two 32 oz bottles a day and have free choice grain and hay.  I give 2 cc CD&T antitoxin every two weeks until 8 weeks old to all bottle babies to prevent over eating disease.  At 8 weeks I give regular vaccines to all babies.
2-4 Months
At two months of age all babies should receive their regular vaccinations and worming.  They are now eating 64 oz per day given in 2 or 3 feedings a day.  They may be weaned any time after 8 weeks.  I usually begin weaning at 8 weeks by cutting out the morning feeding for 1 to 2 weeks depending on how baby is doing.  My goal is to have them weaned by 10 to 12 weeks old.  Many people choose to wean much later than that.  It is simply a matter of finance and preference.


**Babies should consume 10%-15% of their body weight in formula every day**

      We try to feed fresh goat milk whenever possible, lucky for us our dear friend from Son*Sational Farms lives just down the road from us and raises an awesome herd of dairy does. We are lucky enough to have some does that produce a large amount of milk and we can milk out colostrum when they kid and freeze it. When these does kid and have twins, they usually produce more than enough milk to feed their babies and have some left over for us to milk out and feed to the bottle babies or store in the freezer. However, the bottle babies tend to eat more than we can milk so, when we don't have access to fresh goat milk we do use formula.  I personally do not like powdered formulas at all. I know a few breeders use them and have had no problems with using them and it is more cost effective for them.  I have seen several different formula recipes out there, but two of them are the ones that keep coming up most often. Listed below are the two recipes I see most often, we use the Milk Replacer recipe.

Formula recipes:

Milk Replacer
1 gallon of whole milk (I actually try to find milk that is RBsT and hormone free, I'm weird that way)
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of whole buttermilk

Take the gallon of milk and remove 2 cups (I usually just pour that 2 cups of milk into our "human use" milk jug) Add the can of evaporated milk and 1 cup of whole buttermilk, put the lid back on and shake to stir! Very simple and easy recipe.  I take it a step further! I researched and researched exactly what it is that the evaporated milk does for the recipe and I didn't really find any nutritional benefit for it to be in there.   I actually found that the buttermilk is better nutrionally than the evaporated milk because it has more fat and much needed, natural probiotics in it. So, rather than wasting that $1.29 on evaporated milk, I removed it from the recipe and use 2 cups of buttermilk instead of 1 cup.  Depending on where you live, finding whole buttermilk can be a chore. I am able to find it at a store in the next town over it's called Belgian Style Buttermilk, so I call the order clerk there and have him order me a case when I need it. When I get it, the expiration date is usually quite a ways out so I have never had it expire on me. If you can't find whole buttermilk, the reduced fat buttermilk will work, I just prefer the whole buttermilk if possible.

Ross Milk Replacer
1/4C whipping cream
1 large egg
1 cup non fat dry milk
3 cups of water

this makes about 30 oz of formula -
for larger batches double everything except only use 1/3
cup of whipping cream

To triple the recipe:
3 eggs
3 cups powdered milk
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups water
Mix in blender
Add to 7 cups of water (9 cups water total)
This makes about 3/4 of a gallon
**I personally have never tried this recipe, but is has been around for a very long time and it is recommended by many experienced breeders**

Bottle Feeding Baby Goats - Backyard Goats

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Once your kids arrive, you will need to decide if they will be dam-raised or if you will be bottle-feeding baby goats.  There are reasons you might choose to bottle feed from promoting friendliness to managing the dam’s udder. Or you may be forced to bottle-feed because for one reason or another the dam can’t or won’t let the kids nurse or a kid is too weak or compromised to nurse. Whatever the reason, if you are planning on bottle-feeding, you likely have many questions including:

  • What kind of milk to feed baby goats?
  • How to get a baby goat to bottle feed?
  • How much milk to feed a baby goat?
  • How long to bottle feed a baby goat?

What Kind of Milk to Feed Baby Goats:

When bottle-feeding baby goats, the very first milk they must receive is colostrum. Ideally, the dam will be producing enough colostrum that you can express her own into a bottle and immediately feed it to the kids. But if her fresh colostrum is not available for some reason, your other choices are to feed fresh colostrum from another doe that has kidded at the same time, feed frozen colostrum that you saved from a previous kidding, or feed kid colostrum replacer.  For this last choice, it is important to be sure it’s kid colostrum replacer and not calf or lamb replacer as the nutrient needs are different for different species. It is also important to be sure it’s colostrum replacer and not milk replacer. Newborn kids absolutely must get colostrum in the first 24-48 hours of life or their chances of survival are low. Do not substitute any type of homemade replacer at this stage and don’t try to get by with regular whole milk.

Washing bottles with Pritchard nipples. Photo credit: Melanie Bohren.

Once you get the newborn kid through the first 24-48 hours, then you can switch to milk. Ideally, you will have fresh goat milk available as this is best. Many goat owners who choose to bottle-feed will milk the dam and then immediately transfer the milk to bottles and feed it to the babies. Other goat owners prefer to heat-treat the milk before bottle-feeding baby goats in order to eliminate the risk of potentially passing CAE or other diseases from the dam to the baby.  I, myself, do my CAE tests while my does are pregnant so that I know they are negative and then I feed the mother’s milk to the babies raw, which feels more natural to me and I believe it contains more of the beneficial antibodies than heat-treated milk does. But if you do choose to heat-treat, remember that colostrum cannot actually be pasteurized because it will curdle, so it must just be gently heated to 135 degrees F and held at that temperature for one hour. Regular milk can be pasteurized at 161 degrees F for 30 seconds.

If you don’t have fresh goat milk for bottle-feeding baby goats, then your choices are goat milk replacer or another species of milk. I have seen goat milk replacer recipes but the advice I get from my veterinarian and goat mentors is that whole cow milk from the grocery store is more adequate and appropriate in the event that I don’t have, or don’t want to use, powdered replacers.

How to Get a Baby Goat to Take a Bottle:

If your newborn is healthy enough to have a strong sucking reflex, getting it to take a bottle will be relatively simple.  I like to use the little red “Pritchard” nipples for newborns because they are smaller and easier for them to suck. Don’t forget to snip the tip of the nipple as it doesn’t come with a hole in it! Hold the bottle at an angle so that the milk is flowing downward, open the baby’s mouth with your fingers, and stick the nipple inside. I find it helpful to put gentle pressure on the top and bottom of the muzzle to help the baby hold the bottle in its mouth at first. A strong kid will generally be hungry and start sucking enthusiastically.

Bottle-feeding a baby goat. Photo credit: Kate Johnson.

If the baby is too weak to suck, you may need to feed a few drops at a time through a medicine dropper (be careful not to put too much on its tongue or in the side of its cheek at once or it could go down the wrong tube and into the lungs). Or you may need to tube-feed the baby. I’ve also had babies that just needed to wake up a bit in order to get the sucking response going, and I find that using a supplement like “Nutri-Drench” or some Caro syrup or even coffee, rubbed on their gums, is often enough to give them a little energy boost and get them eating.

How Much to Feed a Baby Goat:

How much your babies will need depends on whether they are full-sized breeds or miniature breeds, and also on how old they are. In general, try to feed three to four ounces per five pounds of weight per feeding. At first, you may be feeding every three to four hours, and then after a few days, you’ll spread this out to four feedings a day. You can drop that back to two or three feedings a day at about three weeks of age, and then down to twice a day by six to eight weeks. For the last month, you can feed once a day as they should be eating some hay and grain by then, if not sooner. 

Here are two useful charts to use as a starting point. You may need to modify the schedule and number of feedings per day based on your own schedule and time constraints, but this is a good place to begin:

Bottle-Feeding Nubian Goats (or other full-sized breeds):
Age     Ounces per FeedingFrequency
0-2 Days3-6 ouncesEvery 3-4 hours
3 Days to 3 Weeks6-10 ouncesFour times a day
3 to 6 Weeks12-16 ouncesThree times a day
6 to 10 weeks16 ouncesTwice a day
10 to 12 weeks16 ouncesOnce a day
Source: Kate Johnson at Briar Gate Farm
Bottle-Feeding Pygmy Goats (or other miniature breeds):
Age     Ounces per FeedingFrequency
0-2 Days2-4 ouncesEvery 3-4 hours
3 Days to 3 Weeks6-8 ouncesFour times a day
3 to 8 Weeks12 ouncesTwice a day
8-12 weeks12 ouncesOnce a day
Source: Melanie Bohren at Sugarbeet Farm
How Long Do You Bottle-Feed a Baby Goat?

As a general rule of thumb, when I’ve decided on bottle-feeding baby goats, I try to feed doelings for at least three months and bucklings or wethers for at least two months. Sometimes I go longer if I have extra milk, but this seems to get them off to a good start and by two to three months they are eating grass, hay, and even some grain, so their need for milk is greatly reduced.

Bottle-feeding baby goats is a time commitment, but it’s also a fun way to bond with your babies and make them oh so friendly!


90,000 Bouric goats: description of the breed + photo


  • 1 Description of the breed
    • 1.1 than feed the goats of the Bursa rock
    • 1.2 Content
  • 9000 Russia
    • 3.1 Pros and cons of breeding
  • 4 Reviews

In our country, breeding goats is something not serious. An old woman in a white scarf immediately appears, who has one dairy goat and a couple of kids. In other parts of the world, they are doing this seriously, breeding new breeds of goats, the characteristics of which are much better than ordinary outbred animals.

Description of the breed

Boer goats were bred in South Africa at the beginning of the 20th century. The name translates as farmer. Animals of this breed are used only for meat, because the milk they give is only enough to feed the kids.

An adult goat weighs 120-130 kg but can reach 150 kg live weight. Goats are somewhat smaller - 80-100 kg.

Attention! They grow very quickly: at birth, a kid weighs about 4 kg, and at 3 months - 35 kg.

Purebreds are white with a golden brown head and neck. The coat is short and smooth. The physique of the Boer goats is stocky, proportional. Powerful short legs support an equally powerful body. Ears large hanging. The horns are almost invisible, they are small, moreover, they are directed backwards and pressed to the head. Goats may have not two, but four nipples on the udder. You can see all the beauty and harmony of this breed in the photo.

Separately, it is worth noting the calm and friendly nature of these animals. In addition, they are very hardy to drought and heat, less susceptible to various diseases.

The meat of these goats is tender and has a pleasant taste reminiscent of veal. The meat of purebred animals of the Boer breed is highly valued by gourmets.

What to feed Boer goats

Like all goats, Boer goats chew everything, but still prefer leaves and twigs of bushy undergrowth. They can feed on areas with very poor vegetation. Due to their calmness, these goats can be let out for grazing with other animals.

Very well, if there are areas that need to be cleared of bushes, these animals will do just fine. Sometimes Boer goats are bred for an aesthetic purpose: goats delight with their appearance and ennoble the area entrusted to them, saving it from overgrowth.

In winter, hay will be the main component of the diet, vegetables and food waste can serve as an additive. These goats eat well various compound feeds and mashes. Goats are so unpretentious in food that they can be accustomed to any kind of food.

Important! Plenty of clean water should always be available for these goats.


Important conditions for keeping these animals are just a few points:

  • Keeping the temperature of the room for goats above +5 degrees;
  • Vaccination of animals, preventive examinations by a veterinarian;
  • Provision of sufficient clean fresh water;
  • Room humidity control. The indicator should not exceed 80%, and preferably 60-70%. High humidity indoors with animals leads to the growth of pathogenic bacteria, increasing the risk of animal diseases;
  • Provide an insulating bed, as the legs are the weak point of the Boer goat;
  • Hooves should be trimmed twice a year. The animal, spending the whole winter in a stall, does not have the opportunity to walk on solid ground, thereby turning the growing hooves. Over the winter, growths appear that will interfere with walking, they also do this before wintering;
  • Daylight hours in winter must be at least 8 hours;
  • In summer, the Boer goats must be provided with a grazing area, if there are valuable and necessary plants, shrubs and low trees nearby, they must be protected from goats.


The breeding process itself is quite simple, thanks to the rapid puberty of these goats. Puberty time is 5 months, but there are some nuances. A goat will tolerate pregnancy better if you wait with mating for up to 7 months.

Pregnancy in these animals lasts 5 months, plus a couple of months for recovery, pregnancy again. Thus, in 2 years there are three lambing.

The first time one kid is born, in subsequent lambings - at least two. The offspring of a purebred Boer goat is always strong.

The only problem is that it is difficult and expensive to find a purebred Boer male in Russia. If nevertheless it succeeded, it is possible to cross it with females of the Nubian breed, which also gives good results.

The main breeding of this breed is concentrated in South Africa and the USA.

Raising kids

From birth to two weeks old, kids are best kept with a goat to ensure adequate milk supply. From the age of two weeks, the kid is separated from the mother if they want to get milk for their own use. Then they begin to feed the baby from the bottle three times a day. Carrot juice and a decoction of oats are added to the milk. From the age of one month, add hay decoction, finely crushed wheat bran. Switch to two meals a day. Usually kids themselves start eating hay and feed, refusing the bottle.

Since this is a meat breed, it brings less milk, so it makes sense to let the goat suck mother's milk in the amount that he determines himself, without taking it away from the mother. If the kid is already big, but continues to suck milk, then a linen bag is put on the udder.

Peculiarities of breeding the Boer breed in Russia

The Boer goat breed produced in Africa is still adapted to the hot arid climate. These goats wait out the harsh Russian winters indoors, and this may affect their growth and weight gain. Therefore, in central Russia, animals of the Boer breed do not grow as fast as they could.

Boers are not common in our country, so it is extremely difficult to find them, and the cost is in the tens of thousands.

Otherwise, even under harsh Russian conditions, Boer goats grow to the required size. The quality of dietary meat is in no way inferior to foreign meat.

Pros and cons of breeding

Summing up, I would like to briefly highlight the main advantages and disadvantages of this breed.


  1. Delicious dietary meat, which can be called a delicacy.
  2. Rapid growth of animals.
  3. Large weight of an adult animal.
  4. Unpretentiousness in food.
  5. Rapid reproduction.
  6. Absence of aggression.
  7. Good health.


  1. It is difficult to find purebred representatives.
  2. High price.


Elena, 54 years old, Stavropol

I was very interested in the Boer breed already at the time when I had a large farm, 80 percent consisting of goats of various breeds. We found a couple of female and male goat breeders through our acquaintances. Very beautiful and calm animals. Care is the same as for ordinary goats. The meat really does not taste like goat meat, while being very tender. Now you need to acquire another male in order to breed further, but this pleasure is not at all cheap.

An opinion of an experienced goat breeder about the Boer breed can be seen in this video:

Boer goat breed

One of the most common meat breeds in the world, adapted to hot climates.

  • 0 productivity - meat direction
  • Clear exit - from 54%
  • A average daily assignment - 250 g
  • Patent holder - unknown
  • 9000 9000 9000

    170 Title in English

    – Boer goat

The Boer goat was developed in South Africa in the early 20th century by crossing local breeds with imported European goats.

💠 Distribution

Highly distributed in America, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, France and China.

💠 Suit and horns

Red-white suit. White color prevails in the region of the trunk and limbs, red in the region of the head, while on the forehead, in almost all individuals, there is a light spot. Goats and uterus are horned.

💠 Body parameters

The body is wide and dense. The head is large, oval in shape. The ears are large and hang down. The limbs are massive and short, the hoof horn is strong. The torso is well defined with muscular relief, especially in the back, hips and chest. The mass of adult goats reaches 135 kg, goats 90-100 kg. Kids have a high growth rate and already at 3 months they reach a mass of 35 kg.

💠 Fertility

Females are characterized by high precocity, polyestric, reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 months, males at the age of 5-6 months. Okoz occurs three times every two years. The chance of having twins is high. A breeding goat can produce productive offspring even from average mothers.

💠 Meat productivity

The meat has excellent taste, reminiscent of veal. To avoid the taste of goat meat, it is recommended to castrate goats. Slaughter yield from 54%. Average daily weight gain - 250 g.

💠 Milk productivity

Milk productivity is low, average daily milk yield is 1.5-2.5 kg, with a protein content of 43 g/kg. Milk is only enough to feed the goats.

💠 Features of maintenance and feeding

The Boer breed is renowned for its hardiness and hardiness, especially in hot and dry climates. They graze well in pastures and eat bushes.

💠 Virtues

  1. Calm temperament;
  2. Females have strong maternal instinct;
  3. Young animals are characterized by a high growth rate and early puberty.
  4. They are highly disease resistant and adapt well to hot climates.

    Learn more