Having baby goats can be a very exciting moment for goat owner. They are small and cute just like babies. But they also need extra care to let them grow and become good and healthy grown up goat. For baby goat that lost their mother, for example because baby goat’s mother dies after giving birth, goat owner need to give extra care for the baby goat. Caring for baby goat without its mother involves a lot of work but it will surely be paid of when the baby goat grows up healthy. Taking care of baby goat without its mother is not difficult, there are many easy ways to do that. Here are 8 simple ways to take care of baby goat without its mother.
1. Giving Colostrum
For a newborn goat that not be able to get goat mother’s milk, it’s important for you to give colostrum within first 24 hours. Colostrum is crucial and full of antibodies for newborn goat. It doesn’t need to be from the mother, it can also be from another mother goat. You can also get colostrum from your vet or you can substitute it with bovine colostrum that is available at farm supply stores. It is recommended to give at least 3 ounces of colostrum per pound of newborn goat’s weight, divided into 4 or 5 times feeding in first 24 hours.
You can let other mother goat to feed the newborn or to bottle feed it. If you let other mother goat feed the newborn, you may need to persuade the foster mother to feed another goat’s baby. You can rub the placenta or other things that have the smell of her own baby on the abandoned baby. If the abandoned baby smells like her own baby, she will more likely to accept it.
2. Giving Milk
After giving the baby colostrum within 24 hours, the next thing you have to do is to give milk to the baby. Baby goat need to drink milk until at least 8 weeks old. Just like how you give the colostrum, you can let other mother goat to feed the baby or to bottle-feed it. If you choose the first option, you have to make sure that the baby can get the milk without problem since other mother goat may not want to feed other goat’s baby. If you choose to bottle-feed the baby, make sure to always sterilize the bottle before using it. You can get the milk from other goats that produce milk or purchase it from farm supply store.
Keep a good feeding schedule to let the baby get enough nutrition. For 1 to 3 days old baby goat, give 150 ml milk 4 times daily. For 4 to 10 days old baby goat, give 300 ml milk 4 times daily. For 10-14 days old goat baby, give 400-500 ml milk 3 times daily with hay. For 2-8 weeks old baby goat, give 1 L morning and evening milks. For 8 weeks old baby goat, give 500 ml milk a day.
3. Start to Give Them Solid Foods
Baby goats can start to eat solid foods, like hay, grain, grass or pasture feeding, when they are 30 days old. We need to slowly introduce them with solid foods to develop their rumens. Don’t forget to always provide them with fresh water. Avoid having poisonous plants near your baby goat, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and moldy grains or weeds. Although your baby goat starts to eat weeds, you still need to continue the milk-feeding until they are 8 weeks old.
4. Vaccinate Your Baby Goat
Baby goats need to be vaccinated to make sure that they will grow healthy. Even there are immunities inherited from goat’s milk, there are also some diseases that your goat not immune to. At around 30 days, your baby goat need to be administered Clostridium and tetanus vaccinations. The clostridium vaccination will help to prevent from disease type C and D. After that, administer CD&T booster shot 3-4 weeks later.
5. Give Your Baby Goat a Nice Place
The next of 5 simple ways to take care of baby goat without its mother is to give them a nice place. It is important for baby goats to have proper space to grow up. Even when they are still small, they still need large space to let them explore. Make sure that the space is warm and dry since cold and damp place can give health problems to baby goat. You will need at least 3 walled shelter, that is proper enough to protect them from wind, heat, rain, or snow and warm. If you live in cold climates area, you will have to make sure that the shelter is enclosed to protect your goat from cold. Make sure that the shelter is well ventilated. You may need at least 10 squares feet to make proper shelter. Give your baby goat straw bedding and replace it regularly with the new and clean one.
Don’t forget to keep the place clean. Your baby will begin to eat plants in the pasture so it is important to always make sure that there is no toxic plant inside the pasture. If your baby eats dirty plants, there is high possibility for it to get worm or other parasites. You may want to keep baby goat in a separate pasture with older goats since it will be dirtier if there are many goats.
6. Do Regular Check Up
Baby goats need regular medical check up to monitor its grow. Baby goats tend to get parasites infection easily since their immune systems are not as strong as grow up goats. That’s why they need to be checked for parasites quite often. The vet will get a fecal sample test to determine if you should deworm your baby goat. Remember to always deworm your goats twice a year. The vet may also check your baby goat’s temperature with rectal thermometer and check if there are any lice in your goat’s fur. You can regularly trim short your goat’s fur to help stop lice.
7. Spend Time with Your Baby Goat
The last of 8 simple ways to take care of baby goat without its mother is to spend time with your baby goat. If you want your baby goats to become a friendly and loyal goat, it is important for you to spend your time with them. The more time you spend, the deeper the bond will be. The first moment is critical. Spend time with the baby to let it know you. Spend as much as time as possible when it is in early weeks. Allow your baby goats to socialize with other goats. It will make it view you as another member of the herd.