What do baby goat eat? Best baby goat food for faster growth

What do baby goats eat? Best baby goat food for faster growth

There are very few animals that are as cute and playful as a properly-fed baby goat.

Whether a young goat is properly fed isn’t a question, it can be seen from the way it plays and jumps from place to place.

But what is the right baby goat food to keep these young fellers healthy?

Hays? Forages and pastures? Water or grains? 

Well, baby goats just like their adult counterpart are selectors when they eat.

how much should a bay goat eat

Generally, adult goats eat a wide range of food, ranging from hays, forage and pastures, grasses and other household food materials.

But when it comes to baby goats, the case is different, so before you prepare your baby goat food program.

Ensure you get a tip of what’s best for your baby goats but first when does a baby goat start eating food?

When does a baby goat start eating food?

Your guess is as good as mine, a baby goat starts eating immediately the doe is done licking them after they are born.

And yes, the colostrum (First milk from the doe after birth) is always their first food, not solid food as you would expect.

When can a baby goat eat solid food?

Baby goats can start eating solid food as earlier as from 4 days – 7 days of age.

“I have personally experienced some eat solid food the next day after they are born”.

But not much of it 

Though within this period, milk from the doe should be their major food, they also take water.

If they are being bred on pasture, they are likely to start eating solid food earlier than when they are bottle-fed.

What should I feed my baby goat? 

List of baby goat food to make baby goats grow fast and stay healthy

1. Baby goat drink Goat milk

One of the most important baby goat food is the first milk from the doe after giving birth.

Your baby goats need the first milk from the mother (Colostrum) as much as they need air.

They are born without a functional immune system; the colostrum helps to provide immune protection until their immune system is completely functional.

Colostrum also provides essential antibodies that weren’t passed on by the doe during pregnancy.

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Your baby goat is likely to look very unhealthy if you don’t try to feed it some colostrum.

Aside from the colostrum, your baby goat needs to take milk from the doe on daily basis.

If the doe is unable to produce quality milk, you should look for a goat farm near you and get fresh milk.

If you can’t do that; then it is best you get the dehydrated milk or fresh goat milk from the store.

Whichever way serves better, ensure that your baby goat food plan has milk as a major component.

Milk can be fed to baby goats by either bottle-feeding or dam feeding (direct feeding from the mother).

Dam-feeding and bottle-feeding in baby goats

Dam-feeding is the natural method from which baby goats get milk from the does by suckling the udder.

when do I get my baby goat to eat
Baby goat being Dam-fed

Kids naturally learn how to suck from the doe, they are not provided with some kind of lecture.

”Well, that’s not the case at all times so expect something funny from time to time.” 

In rare cases, the kid may miss the nipple and will need the help of the owner to suck correctly.

I have experienced that often on the farm, especially from a day – 3 days old goats.

Dam-feeding is less labour demanding and therefore is preferred to Bottle-feeding by many goat farmers. 

But, bottle-fed goats are more friendly, so bottle feeding is preferred by farmers who raise goat for pet purposes.

Except in rare cases where the goat is sick and can’t feed from the mother.

How to bottle-feed a baby goat 

Bottle-feeding is best started at the earliest stage of birth; goats find it hard to adapt to bottle feeding after getting used to being raised by their mother.

Baby goat food
Bottle-feeding in baby goats
[picture from packgoats]
So, the earlier you start bottle-feeding your young goat (if the need to bottle-feed them arises) the better for them.

When you’re bottle-feeding a goat that has never been bottle-fed before what you need to realize is that a baby goat is not going to take a bottle very well.

They are going to fight it unless they are used to being bottle-fed before.

They are going to make it tough for you, they can go on a hunger strike, cry and resist your every attempt.

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Well, the solution isn’t far-fetched, you have to maintain a level of toughness too.

Yes, it’s definitely going to be a huge challenge especially if you have a great connection with your goats.

But, it’s for their good, it’s only gonna last for a while and they get used to it and enjoy it.

You have to keep going back multiple times then till that baby starts to drink from the bottle.

Adaptation may take between days to a week and it will be all over.

You keep feeding them their normal diet till they get older and stronger to feed pastures and forages.

Characters of bottle-fed baby goats.

They are more friendly than baby goats raised by their mothers; goats are generally friendly but bottle-fed goats possess more of this quality.

baby goat

They are attention seekers; bottle-fed goats love to be noticed all the time and tend to be calmer when ignored.

They are most definitely going to run up to you all the time and hope that you hold them to yourself.

They rarely eat wide like goats raised by their mother; bottle-fed goats are way more selective in feeding. 

They grab only what they are used to and hardly explore other food.

Characters of Dam-fed baby goats.

Dam-raised goats are naturally healthier in most cases; this is because they feed not just milk from the mother, they also enjoy other food.

They are not overly friendly and hardly bond with humans; they restrict their connections with humans including their owner.

Dam-raised goats are the opposite of bottle-fed goats in the way they behave and respond to their environment.

While the bottle-fed goats will be selective in feeding, the dam-raised goats will eat limitlessly.

2. Baby goats eat Fresh Hays

One element of baby goat food, most goat keepers seems to forget is fibre and I think it’s important we mention it here.

Simply put 

“At this stage in a goat’s life, it is crucial that they develop good rumen capacity, as it will affect their production (milk or meat) a lot later in life”

Baby goats need the long fibre found in fresh hay or forage to have good digestive health and thrive.

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The long fibres are what feed the micro-organisms in their rumen. 

Lack of this fibre can lead to the death of the kid, that’s how important they are.

Fresh hays are packed with energy, they provide protein and energy for the baby goats.

Ever seen baby goats jump happily from point to point?

Yeah, that’s the handwork of quality milk and fresh Hays 

3. Baby goats eat forage and pasture grasses

As early as one week, goats can start eating forage grasses and legumes.

baby goat food

Aside from hays, forage is the great source of nutrients for goats, these nutrients are needed by baby goats for proper growth and development.

It’s what goat majorly eat in winter when there is limited grazing ground.

As the doe feeds on forages, the kid emulates and feed gradually on forage grasses.

In a bottle-feeding system, the forage grasses can be introduced to the kid from time to time. 

It must not be forced on them.

The baby goat shouldn’t be left out on forage as long as they are allowed to pick them by themselves.

Gradually, they will get used to it and benefit from the nutrient.

4. Baby goats eat Hay pellets

Hay pellets are hays that have been processed under heat, they serve as great baby goat food.

They contain almost the same amount of protein as fresh hays but less fibre.

Because of this fibre shortage, baby goats cannot eat pellets as their sole feed.

They have to take other food in combination with pellet.

4. Baby goat eat Grains

Grain can upset goats’ digestive systems when taken in large and frequent quantities.

But grains can also be very beneficial to growth especially in kids. 

During weaning time, baby goats can be given 16% protein feed and 5% grains.

baby goats

Depending on the feeding conditions, fresh hay is more preferable for baby goats but grains can also be part of the baby goat food program.

Important to remind you that grains shouldn’t be fed in large quantities to baby goats.

5. Baby goats drink water

We possibly can’t conclude on baby goat food without mentioning the importance of water.

Yeah, just like in humans, water is essential in baby goat food.

It aids in increasing the digestibility of food, the digestive system of baby goats is not fully formed.

Depending on the age of the goat, water plays a key role in ensuring the ease of digestion of food.

How to properly feed a baby goat to grow fast

  • Try as much as possible to be around at the delivery of your goats.
  • This way you can ensure the baby goat gets its first food (colostrum)
  • At week one, start offering a little amount of fibre, rich hays in their food, expose them to pasture.
  • This will help kick-start the baby goat’s rumen development.
  • After two weeks, offer a small number of grains, ensure they always get fresh water, and quality pasture time.
  • Depending on your desire and environment, slowly withdraw milk from your baby goat food program at two months, this must be carried out gradually, the rate will be determined by their reaction.
  • In some cases, milk withdrawal takes over two months to start, while in some, it’s less.
  • At two months also, offer the baby goat loose minerals to provide muscle growth.
  • Monitor your baby goat’s behaviour and reaction to new materials.
  • Once they show negative signs towards any new food, withdraw such from their food and maintain their previous feeding program.

How do I get my baby goat to eat?

To get your baby goats to feed, you have to lure or force your baby goat to eat.

When it comes to planned eating in baby goats, expect some toughness.

baby goat food
photo from weedemandreap

Baby goats can be very selective in feeding and therefore, will need a lot of pleasing or force before it bows to your demand.

You can lure them by giving them their favourite food or pose to paly with them, they are most likely to come around and eat once they love what they are seeing.

In most cases (which every goat farmer may have experienced) they just don’t want to eat until you have to force them to eat.

But, how do you force a baby goat to eat?

How to force-feed a baby goat 

Force-feeding is the only option when a baby goat refuses to eat, goat farmers who force-feed their baby goats don’t normally find it funny.

But yeah, that’s their only option to get the baby goats to eat, and you have to give it to them.

To force-feed your baby goat, get a bottle containing the food usually milk or liquid form of the baby goat food.

Hold the goat gently and slightly open its mouth, of course, your baby goats will resist and this is where you have to force its mouth open.

Press the bottle for the food to drop into the mouth and close their mouth immediately.

The baby goat will swallow the food, repeat this a few other times until you are satisfied with their intake. 


How to tell if a baby goat is hungry 

Baby goats are kings and queens of drama when they are hungry, if you are conversant with a goat.

A hungry baby goat will jump from point to point restlessly and cry aloud.

They start to rush anything that looks like food to them, just like their adult counterpart.

They cry on top of their voice; they also exhibit signs such as picking edible materials from the ground. They also get close to their owner, hoping to be noticed.

At this point, they should be fed or there will be no peace.

How long can a baby goat stay without food?

A baby goat should feed at least four times a day, baby goats are petty with food.

They are always in need to eat; baby goats can only stay few hours without food; say 4 hours.

Most times, they don’t eat because they are hungry, they eat because there is food.

So, they are not known to stay long without food. You wouldn’t want them to show that craziness when they go hungry.

Baby goats shouldn’t be allowed to stay long without food, it’s not advisable.

How much should a baby goat eat? 

Baby goats should eat as much as they want, if they are ready to feed all the time.

They should be allowed to do so; no one stands anything to lose.

The farmer loses nothing, the baby goat loses nothing, everyone is happy.

Don’t get it wrong, food is very important in raising baby goats and baby goats are excited to feed.

There is almost nothing like over-feeding in goats, once they are ok, they stop eating.

Baby goats aren’t an exception to this, they stop eating once they are satisfied or finds something else to do that is more important to them than the food.

In conclusion, no amount is the benchmark for a baby goat to feed.

They should be allowed to eat as often as they desire.

Baby goat feeding schedule 

Baby goats should be fed regularly especially when they are raised off open pasture.

Depending on what the farmer can afford, a four times per day feeding for the first two weeks of their birth should be your target.

One in the early hours of morning comprising of milk and sometimes water.

baby goat

Second feeding towards noon, third feeding should come between 3 pm and 4pm, lastly, night feeding.

Of course, the night is a long walk of hours so, they need extra food aside from milk from the mother.

Well, that’s if you can afford that.

In a pasture feeding system, the baby goats are mostly fed a few times per day.

This is because they grace pasture grasses and forages while trying to emulate their mother in feeding.

Once they get used to this; controlled feeding becomes a choice for the baby goat.

It’s important to note that baby goats take less water when they are milk-fed properly, so, expect them to always shy away from water at some point.

What to do when baby goat won’t eat 

There are few reasons why baby goats won’t eat, one of such is sickness.

Another reason could be that they dislike what you have offered to them to eat.

Remember, goats can be selective in feeding.

You have to find out the reason they aren’t feeding if it’s due to sickness.

You must contact a vert as soon as possible if it has to do with the type of food.

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Kindly change it as fast as you can, goats should not be forced to eat any food they do not find appealing.

Unless it’s medicinal, outside from that; they should be allowed to select their food especially in open pasture.

Summary of baby goat food 

Among other management practices in raising goats, feeding your baby goats with the right baby goat food is the easiest way to ensure they grow to become healthy adults.

Goats are meant to just eat grass or hay so what you have to understand is, aside from milk, about 80% of your baby goat food is just some kind of hay.

Fresh Hays are unique and equipped with baby goat needed nutrients.

What you’re going to find when you go to the feed store is that you can purchase bales of hay that’s usually alfalfa or a grass blend.

You can get just alfalfa and grass, sometimes it’s just alfalfa but either way, a goat’s normal baby goat food or diet will be mostly hay and grasses.

If you don’t want to buy fresh hay (which is best you do) you can buy a pellet.

Water is also important, grains are needed in small amount, and that is all you need for you baby goat food.

 If your baby goat is older than eight weeks of age, you can purchase grain and seeds of major crops.

You can also give them treats such as like fruits and vegetables and stuff like that.

These treats must be in very small amounts because some of them can cause digestive complications for your baby goats.

I understand there is always the tendency for us to want to spoil our baby goats and we want to feed them tons of really fun little treats.

This shouldn’t be the case as baby goats don’t need all that much treat. 

We want to see it eat little strawberries, grab a handful of grain, eat a bulk of flowers.

Well, the result is that your baby goat will start having digestive issues.

So you should discard all that treat at this age in the baby goat life.

Hey, that’s all from us about baby goat food, what’s your thought? what do you feed your baby goats?

What do you think should be on our list?

We would love to hear from you, hit the comment box and drop your answer, thoughts and views.

We are waiting to engage you and learn more, be sure that we will update this list as we experiment on baby goats and find more about baby goat food.


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