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Bottle raising kids, general info

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Bottle feeding babies:
From one week old, babies can be fed twice daily, but if you have time and would like to, three or four times a day is fine. Milk should ideally be divided equally between feeds at regular times  - eg, a kid getting 600ml per day would get 2 X 300ml or 3 X 200ml, either morning and afternoon or morning, midday and evening. Depending on the size and breed of the kid, 500-800ml would be the minimum, 1000-1500ml the ideal, and 1500-2000ml the maximum.

I recommend Veanavite Guardian, and have heard that Profilac Gold and Shepard are both worthwhile. Almost any goat or lamb milk replacer, and even milk powder for human consumption should be fine, but calf milk replacer should not be used for goats as it can contain tallow, causing sickness in kids.
Veanavite is made up with 850ml of warm water to 200gms of powder, and is best fed straight away, though it will easily keep for one-two days and just needs to be heated before use.
The main problems on bottle feeding are over-feeding (resulting in scours, and sometimes weak bones) which can be remedied by feeding half as much for a day or so until the scours stop, and then resuming at a lower volume, under-feeding, (resulting in pot bellied, rough-coated and ill thrifty kids) which can be remedied either by increasing milk volume, or, for small kids, adding an extra feed, and bloat (from an incorrect balance of milk/powder/other feed to offset that imbalance, resulting in stomach pain and swelling), remedied by cutting milk back to half, and treating with 1ml oil (I use olive) and half a teaspoon of bicarb soda per 5kg.
Kids can be weaned from three months of age, (some say two months, but I am very wary of the draw backs of such an unnaturally early weaning) but ideally not until four months, and five-six months is more natural and usually helps them grow better, so is my preference if possible. Kids can be put onto one feed per day (with half the original daily quantity) for one month prior to weaning, and then have that feed halved for another two-three days before weaning altogether.
Kids should be eating plenty of grass, concentrates (chaff, grain, pellets etc.) and hay/vegetable and fruit scraps if available by the time they are two months old, after beginning to nibble at one-two weeks and beginning to eat at about one month old. Mineral blocks should be available, especially if goats are on mainly grass, and shrubs/trees or hay are a necessary part of their diet. For goats who are not milking, breeding or pregnant, concentrates can be confined to one-two handfuls a day where good feed is available, but much more will be needed for pregnant/lactating does (females) or breeding bucks (males), and slightly more for fast-growing kids. Fencing should be at least three foot high fine mesh or solid, as kids, and three foot plus electric or four-five feet without electric as adults. Plain electric can be used for goats, but kids should be trained where mesh is a back-up to prevent them learning bad habits by accident. All mesh fences need to be strained and secure at the ground and along the top to prevent goats figuring how to crawl under or climb on and destroy them - electric is ideal for an easy fix in these cases. Mesh should also be too small to allow the kids to put their heads through, as their bodies are usually flexible enough to follow, but that is not such a consideration for adults. Worming and hoof trimming should both be done every few months - for more info on worming, check out the Trouble Shooting list. Hoof trimming is quickly and easily done with good quality secateurs or purpose-made footrot/hoof shears. Correct trimming is vital to the happiness and mobility of the goat, and while there is a lot of good information on the net, I would recommend asking/contacting me if you are unfamiliar with it. Vaccination is popular, and can be a very good idea, usually done yearly with 5-in-1. I have not had the need to vaccinate my goats, however checking with your vet regarding diseases in your area and doing careful research if you are not sure of the pros and cons is highly recommended.
Training is also an important part of raising kids, and while it simply requires pre-set guidelines and consistent punishment for infringements, setting and maintaining those guidelines is essential. The most important guidelines are: Never allow goat kids to butt, threaten or play fight with a person. This is equivalent to letting a puppy growl and bite your hand - it will only lead to trouble, and is both near impossible to train out and a danger as adults. My personal guidelines, which I strongly recommend, are: No rearing on people, no ramming or butting the bottle, no ramming or unprovoked aggression to other goats or animals, no jumping in the milking shed windows (jumping anywhere that is recognizable and obviously out of bounds - on your car, or anything else you want out-of-bounds) and no mounting each other. Such behaviors will crop up quite regularly for the first little while, but are easily trained out of them and the obedience and knowledge they gain will not only make them happier and calmer, but immeasurably better behaved and more fun to be around when they are older. 
 
Fun tips: Goats can be taught many tricks, including kneel, rear, lay down, sit up and shake hands. Most of these can be taught simply and easily with a bottle of milk, or later on with grain. They can also be taught to carry packs and draw carts, although discernment in the size and ability of the goat is very important. For more information, contact me. 
I wish you years of entertainment and enjoyment with your new member(s) of the family!
 
 
Trouble shooting:
Scouring is the most major indicator that something is wrong, it can be a symptom of pretty much any ailment including coccidiosis, worms, poisoning, accidosis or too much milk. 
Coccidosis:
Explanation: Almost all goats and many other animals carry a species-specific version of this bacteria, however most animals will develop a resistance to it by the time they reach adulthood, and rarely have a problem with it. When conditions are ideal, or the kid is weak, sick, or health compromised, coccodiosis bacterium can quickly multiply and take over, which can be fatal if left untreated. Particular signs of cocci are lack of appetite, dark green scours, cold/hunched appearance and sometimes passing blood.
Treatment: Coccidiosis needs antibiotics from your vet - kids may need to be taken in for a consultation, while the treatment (at around 5ml for a little kid) itself is relatively cheap.
Worms: 
Explanation: Again, most animals pick up worms from the environment, however unlike cocci, goats will need to be treated regularly throughout their lives to keep them in check. Depending on the stocking density, pasture rotation and type, goats should be drenched 2-6 monthly. The average time frame for a small number of goats, usually on the same pasture of medium grass and/or shrubs, is 3-4 months. Particular signs of worms are very runny, often brown scours, lack of condition, scruffy/course coat and ill thrift. Severe cases in adults are often accompanied by what is known as 'bottle jaw' - a gathering of fluid under the chin of the affected animal.
Treatment: Drenching (worming) of goats can be quickly and easily accomplished with a sturdy syringe and a variety of drenches. Drenches come in several different 'families' and should be rotated to ensure maximum effectiveness. Some good brand-name drenches for goats include Caprimec, Ivermectin, Levisamole (sometimes marketed as Big L), and several other 'families' include Oxendazole and Preziquental, often used in dog wormer. Talk to your vet or me for more information.
Poisoning:
Explanation: Goat kids, and sometimes adults, will sometimes eat plants or other substances which are toxic. There are several lists on the internet of poisonous plants, and rat or snail poison are especially bad. Unless you are competent in treating cases of poisoning and sure of the original cause, most cases are best dealt with by a vet. Poisoning can be as as simply as a tummy upset from eating the wrong plant, and gone within a day, or serious enough to be fatal within one-two days. Signs can be frothing at the mouth, moaning, stomach pain, severe scouring, hunched appearance, weakness or simply lack of appetite and unusual lethargy in mild cases.
Treatment: When in doubt, treat with vitamin C (tablets for humans, without additives, work well) at roughly 1ml/CC (cubic centimeter) per 5kg, or a bit more for severe cases, and bicarb soda, at 1 teaspoon per 10kg. If the case appears to be very mild, monitoring for a day can be the best option, and if they are not looking a lot better, further action can be sought, while assistance should be sought if the situation is looking concerning.
Acidosis:
Explanation: Often simply seen as a grain-overdose, this is very similar to founder in horses is a severe gut imbalance which can be caused by any high-protein food overdose, though grain is the main culprit. Minor cases of this are pretty much the same as mild poisoning or milk overdose, usually with pale green/brown scours, green froth around the mouth, and sometimes bloat.
Treatment: As with poisoning, when in doubt treat with vitamin C and bicarb soda. In severe cases, double the dose of bicarb, and add oil at the rate of 1ml per 5 kg as for bloat. In extremely severe cases (such as if a goat has gotten into a sack of grain) immediate treatment is imperative, and should be given as 1/4 teaspoon epsom salts per 10kg, followed by 3-4ml oil and 1 teaspoon bicarb per 10kg. Keep the goat moving if at all possible to prevent twisted bowel, repeat the oil and bicarb each hour and call the vet. (or me if you don't have a trusted vet)
 
I offer a lifetime of support and advice for goats bought from me, and may be able to assist with others, however I am not able to examine goats via phone or email and if in doubt or in serious situations, call a vet. Incorrect diagnosis is a very real possibility with many illnesses in goats, due to the similarities in symptoms, and correct early treatment is essential, making close observation and action an important part of goat keeping. If a kid you have bought is looking sick or scouring for more than a day, PLEASE contact the seller, a vet, or me.