Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

We had a mama give birth last night to three living goats and one that looked like it had been dead  for a while in utero.  Two are nursing on the mom and doing ok (she isn't that great of a mom but they are making it ok).  The third is a tiny 1 lb. 2 oz doeling that is not just tiny but really skinny.  She couldn't move much after birth and just wanted to lay with her head on her side.  We couldn't get her to hold her head up, suck or stand.  We took her in put her on a heating pad and spent the night warming her and dripping her mom's colostrum into her.  I honestly didn't think she would make it.  We had a scare around 4 am where she aspirated some of the milk and I thought she wouldn't pull through.  She did though, and I was much more cautious with the milk after that.  In fact, my son and I both thought she was going to die and figured that dying in your sleep is better than choking on milk so we just let her sleep peacefully for a couple of hours.  But she didn't die.  My daughter took over around 6 am and I woke up around 10:30 a.m. to a baby girl who was trying to suck and moving around, holding her head up.  I'm so thankful!

So now we have tried several things.  She is learning to suck on the bottle, but while that has been in the process we have also had her nurse on another mom who is a first freshener with tiny teats and only has one kid.  We tried putting her on her own mom, but her mom doesn't care about her at all and doesn't seem to have enough milk for three.  So I'm pretty sure this one will have to be a bottle baby.

This is our first time to bottle feed and I've been reading on here, in my RGN book and online.  At first we were in emergency mode, trying to get whatever we could in the little thing.  Now that she can suck I'm realizing that we need to measure and make sure she is getting the right amount at the right times.

Do you all have a schedule for bottle feeding newborns that works well for you.  Does the milk need to be warmed to a specific temperature or just warm.  Do you refrigerate the milk between feeding or just milk the mama fresh each time?  Any other thoughts or advice are appreciated.  Thank you! :)

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Congratulations on saving the little one! Check out the video on here of our premature twins. The smallest was almost as tiny as yours. She didn't hold up her head for about three days (but she was also premature).

When they are that tiny, I just let them have as much as they want, and when they wake up and start to fuss, I give them more. That usually means about an ounce or two at a time in the beginning. Could be every two to four hours. But within a few days, as she takes more at one time, that'll be spaced out farther. Even with our tiniest one, I think we were able to sleep all night (8 hours) by the time she was a week old. Initially they need 10% of their body weight in 24 hours, according to the textbooks, but at only 18 ounces, that's 1.8 ounces of milk, which it sounds like you've done.

I usually only heat up an ounce at a time, so as not to waste it. I'll reheat once, but then pitch it if it's not all consumed the second time. Since it's only a couple of hours between feedings, I just leave it at room temp before rewarming the second time. I put it in a 2-cup measuring cup of hot water to warm it up. That way you don't overshoot the temp. Such a small amount is not hard to warm up. It just needs to be heated up to body temp.

Thank you so much!  That is VERY helpful.  Most of what I was finding online was geared towards full size goat kids who are eager to eat and not in such a weakened condition.

I'll definitely check out that video, right now.  Thanks again! :D

Oh my!! They are so cute!  And the part where they are trying to stand is exactly what our little doeling does.  She looks very much like them... skinny and gangly with a head that looks a little big.  Seeing your girls bigger gives me hope for this little one.  Thanks so much for directing me to the video.  Now if we can just get her to figure out the bottle!  I'm sure I have some learning to do too...

I'm glad you found it helpful! I'm sure you'll get the bottle figured out soon! Keep us updated on her progress.

So baby girl has progressed as far as coordination and strength.  In the last few days she has learned to stand, walk and is now starting to try and "frolic".  We have had continued trouble with bottle feeding.  She made it to 1 lb 4 oz. the first day but was never able to gain any more weight.  After pouring over the internet looking for answers I finally decided that our pritchard teat was cut in such a way as to make the flow too much, too fast.  I got another one today and cut it in a slit instead of cutting the end of the tip off and it has made such a difference!  She actually wanted the bottle and learned how to suck and get more than 1/8-1/4 of an ounce at a time.  Yay!! I'm so happy.  :D

Any recommendations on how much is too much for her at this point?  She is now 21 oz. Should she still be getting 10% or is the number higher now.  I keep reading about how dangerous it is to overfeed.

I've never had a problem with overfeeding a newborn, and I pretty much let them have as much as they want (as detailed in my previous post). With older kids, if they get too much, they'll just get diarrhea, but you cut back, and they're fine. Newborns can get too much, but that usually happens with a mama who is a bucket buster. You know it's a problem if the kids look like someone squirted mustard all over their back ends. (In those cases, I milk out mama, and that usually takes care of it, but that's another topic.)

For the Pritchard teat, it wasn't the slit vs hole issue. The problem was just that the hole was too big. I've been saving up Pritchard teats for a year so that I can make a video on this because it's impossible to explain well. I hope you didn't throw away that other teat because it'll be fine in 2-4 weeks, depending upon how big the hole was. The reason those teats come without holes is because you can cut them so that the hole can be a lot of different sizes. I always buy at least three at a time. It is really easy to cut one too big for a newborn, but I just set them aside until the kid is a little older. You should see some of the holes that I've made too big! You know how there is that piece that sticks out? The farther out on that thing that you cut, the smaller the hole. I've cut some with a hole so small that the kid can't get enough milk. That's why I always buy multiples -- because when I cut them, I'll wind up with different sized holes, so then I just use whichever one works best for the kid at the moment.

Congratulations on all of the progress! I know how great you must feel!

Thank you, again, for all your help!  I just wanted to update on the baby girl.  Honestly, when we first got our goats I never thought once about one of them ending up INSIDE, lol.  But we have another pet now.  And crazy enough, she is less trouble than the dog.  She is now over 8 lbs. (I haven't checked her in a week or two), eating her full 24 oz a day, happily doing goat parkour and thinking we are her herd.  We are waiting for warmer weather till she can go outside.  Since she has been inside since birth, she didn't seem to get a winter coat and will shiver even in 50 degree sunny weather.  Also, even if it was warmer, the mamas out there all push her around pretty ruthlessly.  If you all have any advice on transitioning a goat from inside to outside I would love to hear it all!  At this point, she is still somewhat afraid of the goats but wants her "people" herd.    When we have to leave her home we put her in her crate next to the dog in his crate (where she can see him) and she does fine, but at some point she just has to be a goat and go outside... so anyway, this is new territory for us and I'd welcome your thoughts. :)

The pictures are #1 the night she was born and couldn't move #2 a day or so later when she learned to stand


Here is a more recent picture.

Oh and you all might think this is funny (I do!).  Until recently we needed to take her to church with us every week because our church is about 40 or so minutes away and lasts a long time (we have a lunch afterwards).  She has always sat quiet as a mouse on one of the kids (or my) lap.  The only day she wiggled, I took her outside and she just had to go to the bathroom.  :D

My daughter used to take bottle babies to church all the time. People loved it!

Glad your little one is doing better.

Just now saw your post before last. We used to do exactly what you're doing, but the transition to goat life was usually too hard for us and the goat, so now I do my very best to get the kid back outside and with goats ASAP. They eventually start eating your mail, chewing on electrical cords, and dancing on your DVD player, which is not good for the DVD player. At this point you'll probably just have to wait for warmer weather, but it's not going to be easy. There will probably be lots of screaming. Hope you don't have any neighbors too nearby.

LOL, yes, we know exactly (!!) what you are talking about - chewing cords, paper, climbing and jumping.  She was dancing on my computer keyboard the other day. :/  The good is that the floor gets picked up so much better than before... so she won't eat whatever we leave on it.  However, the screaming goat is what I'm not looking forward to. :(  I was hoping we could "graft" her onto another mom, but so far that hasn't worked out yet.  I'm mostly concerned about her being in a pen of goats that push her around and treat her badly.  But she can't be alone in a pen either... so I guess we will keep trying to give her play time in the goat pen on the warm days and then transitioning her to full time when it's warm enough.  My husband is more than ready for her to be a goat.

Well, I'm glad to hear that we aren't the only ones to have our goat at church, lol.  Funny... the adventures that come with farming. :)

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