Feeding baby goat milk

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!



Is Goat Milk Safe for Babies? – Cleveland Clinic – Cleveland Clinic

Only when you become a parent do you realize what a hot topic milk is. From babies having tummy troubles with regular formula to the recent baby formula shortage, feeding your baby can sometimes be a challenge. You may have heard about goat milk as a possible alternative and are wondering if it’s safe.

The short answer is goat milk isn’t an option for infants under 1 year of age. Some formulas made from goat milk may be a viable alternative, but they’re hard to come by in the United States.

Pediatrician Matthew Badgett, MD, helps fully explain the differences between goat milk and goat milk formula, as well as other questions about how to choose a safe formula for your baby.

Is goat milk safe for babies?

We won’t beat around the bush; goat milk is baahh-d news for babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that pure goat milk is unsafe — and in some cases, life-threatening — for infants under 1 year of age. This means: no goat milk for babies within their first 12 months of life. The same rule is generally applied to pure cow’s milk as well. This is because your brand-new baby has a delicate digestive system, one that can’t handle the proteins found in animal-derived milk.

“Traditional baby formulas are specifically designed to have the right balance of macronutrients and different fats, carbs and proteins,” explains Dr. Badgett. “And the biggest concern is getting the right mix of salts, specifically with sodium and water.

Goat milk consumption in babies can lead to health issues, including:

  • Hyponatremia. Babies can develop hyponatremia from consuming goat milk. This condition occurs when there isn’t enough sodium in their blood.
  • Megaloblastic anemia. As goat milk doesn’t have all the added proteins your baby needs, it can also lead to a folate (vitamin B9) deficiency.
  • Allergic reactions. Just like with cow’s milk, babies can also have severe allergies to goat milk. This can vary for each child, so make sure to talk to your pediatrician or healthcare provider about your child’s specific needs.
  • Infections and sepsis. During the first years of life, your baby is at much higher risk for infections and sepsis — especially if the milk they’re consuming isn’t being stored or sterilized properly. “For all those reasons, goat milk is not recommended for any infant under one year of age,” says Dr. Badgett.

Rest assured, goat milk can still be a good option later in life. After your little one turns 1, you’re in the clear to introduce it into their diet if you’d like. Just make sure the milk is pasteurized and that your child is getting a good mix of folate in their diet (as goat milk is low on this essential vitamin).

“As kids get older, goat’s milk is fine, especially when it’s part of a complete and balanced diet,” says Dr. Badgett.

Advertising Policy

Is goat milk formula a good alternative?

Formula made from goat milk is a whole different discussion. While it’s not as available in the United States, goat milk formula can be a safe alternative to regular formula. As long as you’re getting it from a dependable source, it can work as a replacement for formula made from cow’s milk.

When it comes to goat milk formula for your infant, here are some things to consider:

Pros and cons of using goat milk formula

Pro: It may be an alternative to cow’s milk formula

According to Dr. Badgett, many parents have been toying with the idea of goat-milk-based formula for their babies who have cow’s milk sensitivities. If your child has an allergy to cow’s milk, they may experience symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and, in some extreme cases, anaphylaxis.

That’s where goat milk formula comes in. Some studies show that it may have less lactose and is easier on your child’s tummy.

Con: It’s not regulated in the United States

Currently, goat milk baby formula is approved in countries like Australia, but it isn’t regulated in the United States. This doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on it, but importing formulas from overseas comes with a new set of risks.

“You have to make sure that you’re not getting an expired product, or that you’re actually getting the product that you’re supposed to be getting,” cautions Dr. Badgett.

However, if you’re traveling abroad and in a pinch because you don’t have access to your usual formula, goat milk formula is a safe option to try.

What about homemade formulas?

As goat milk formula isn’t as readily available in the U.S., you may be googling around for a recipe to make a batch of your own at home. Dr. Badgett warns against making any homemade formula — whether from goat’s milk or cow’s milk.

Advertising Policy

“If I mess up my chocolate chip cookie recipe and they were too gooey or they were too dry, I’ll still eat them and I’ll be fine. But the same isn’t true for a baby,” Dr. Badgett explains. “There are consequences when you mess up the production of infant formula. It’s really important for infants that their formula is made in a controlled and sterile environment because their ability to tolerate certain things is different.”

The bottom line? It’s never OK to make infant formula at home. Stick to purchasing and preparing commercial formulas.

Other formula alternatives

Not sure if goat-milk-based formula is the one for you? The good news is there’s a big range of other formula options you can try. While breast milk is recommended, traditional formula is a healthy alternative because it’s formulated to be as similar to breast milk as possible. However, if for any reason your baby isn’t doing well with traditional formula and you aren’t breastfeeding, there are other formula varieties available.

“Some babies do struggle with cow’s milk intolerance and other babies just don’t do great on traditional formula. If that’s the issue, there’s a lot of other formula options that we can consider,” says Dr. Badgett.

If your baby can’t handle typical formula, you can try other options like soy-based or hypoallergenic formulas.

Compared to other countries, goat milk formula isn’t as popular in the United States. But it can be an option if it’s available in your area. The important thing to remember is that goat milk is not the same as goat milk formula — your baby should not be given pure goat milk before they turn 1. Be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician about any allergy needs your baby has and questions about picking the formula that’s right for them.

Goat milk to infants: can it be given and when

Tiunova Elena

Published: 01/15/2023

Reading time:


Modern mothers are often aware that cow's milk is not the right food for babies. Such a product is an excessive burden on the kidneys and intestines of the baby, the cause of anemia and food allergies. At the same time, goat's milk often seems like a panacea to them. Like it or not - let's figure it out now.

What is the difference between goat's milk and cow's milk

The composition of goat's milk has a number of advantages:

  • The composition of goat's milk proteins is quite similar to cow's. The difference is that goat milk contains a smaller amount of one of the protein fractions - alpha-S1-casein. Thanks to this, goat milk proteins form a softer and more tender curd clot in the stomach, which is easier to digest by the immature gastrointestinal tract of the child.
  • Goat milk fats have a higher content of short and medium chain fatty acids and are small fat globules (globules), unlike the fat composition of cow's milk, so they are easier to digest and assimilate by the body.
  • "Goat product" contains more vitamin A and B vitamins and minerals such as Ca, P, Mg, K, Mn, Zn, Se, compared to cow product. And iron and folic acid in it is not enough.
  • As for the carbohydrate composition, goat milk contains 10 times more oligosaccharides than cow milk. Oligosaccharides, being nutrition for the microbiota of the large intestine, stimulate its growth and vital activity.

Is it possible to give goat milk to a child

Yes, as mentioned above, whole goat milk is a healthy and easily digestible product with high nutritional value, but it is not suitable for an infant as food.

  • Goat's milk contains a lot of protein and mineral salts, which creates a high load on the immature intestines, kidneys and pancreas of the baby.
  • Whole goat's milk protein is as common and strong an allergen in the first year of life as cow's milk protein.
  • After a year, the situation changes, the baby's immune system is in most cases ready for a gradual encounter with various allergens, and whole goat's milk in acceptable quantities is usually well tolerated.

Myths about goat milk

Myth 1. You can not boil goat milk
This is not true. Such a product can cause infection with various infections, as it may contain various viruses (for example, hepatitis A or tick-borne encephalitis, which affects goats and sheep), bacteria (staphylococci, brucella) and fungi (Candida). Therefore, boiling is the only way to disinfect market-bought or homemade milk.

Myth 2. Goat milk has an unpleasant smell and taste
This is not true. A clean goat, as a rule, gives tasty milk without taste and smell. Animal nutrition is also important. Some herbs can give a bitter taste.

Myth 3. Goat milk for children should be diluted with water
This is true. At the first introduction to the diet and the baby's acquaintance with goat's milk, it is possible to dilute it with water 50:50, to see the body's reaction and tolerance. Subsequently, the amount of water for dilution can be reduced and gradually switched to whole goat's milk.

From what age can goat's milk be introduced? The main substances (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) in them are adapted to the needs of the body and are more easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.

"Third" and "fourth" formulas contain additional useful substances (dietary fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids), iron, iodine, selenium, B vitamins and antioxidants (which is especially important for children growing up in industrial cities with unfavorable ecology ). According to the manufacturer's recommendations, such fortified milk drinks can be given in a volume of 200-400 ml per day.
Whole goat milk, boiled for at least 5 minutes, can be given to a baby after a year in a volume of no more than 200 ml, and also, if necessary, used in cooking (cereals, vegetable purees, etc. ).

Author of article

Tiunova Elena

Pediatrician of the highest category, nutritionist, candidate of medical sciences, associate professor of the department of faculty pediatrics and propaedeutics of childhood diseases, Ural State Medical University

About the author

Share on Vkontakte Share on Odnoklassniki

Contents of the article

  • What is the difference between goat's milk and cow's milk
  • Is it possible to give goat milk to a child
  • Myths about goat milk
  • At what age can goat milk be administered

Products from article

Might be interesting

  • Nutrilak Premium without palm oil
  • Milk fat in infant formula
  • Breastfeeding nutrition
  • Nutrition during pregnancy

Is it possible to feed a baby with goat's milk? | Eternal questions | Question-Answer

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes


AiF Health №28. Russians receive calcium twice as little as normal 10/07/2014

Category: Children Q&A from the newspaper: AiF Health №28 10/07/2014

Is it possible to feed a baby with goat's milk?

Replies pediatrician, doctor of medical sciences, professor Lev Khakhalin .

- According to the latest scientific data, goat's milk, like cow's milk, can only be used in the nutrition of children of the first year of life as the basis for adapted milk formulas. If there are cautious recommendations for feeding babies with natural goat milk, then they mean diluting this milk in a 1: 1 ratio with sterile water. And the indications for such feeding almost always contain a clause: "with intolerance to maternal breast and cow's milk proteins."

You must have some serious problems with breastfeeding your baby and buying very affordable formulas for artificial feeding, since you turned to such an exotic product. It seems to me that you took an unjustified risk, and here's why: numerous foreign studies, including commercially interested persons - sellers of goat milk, could not prove any advantages of goat milk compared to cow's milk, and even more so to women's breast milk. All existing differences in the composition and amount of nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, trace elements, vitamins) of breast, cow and goat milk are erased in real life, since all kinds of comparative measurements of height, weight, maturity of babies who are on these types of feeding turned out to be empty.

And the ancient myth about the medicinal properties of goat's milk and its preference as a substitute for breast milk, which is common among many peoples of Europe, is explained by the fact that keeping goats has always been more accessible and more common for the poor than keeping cows.

  • Why do Chinese millionaires need breast milk? →
  • ... How to determine the quality of cheese? →
  • Which jacket will keep you warm in winter? →

advice for young mothers breastfeedingmilk

Next article

You may also be interested in