What Do Baby Goats Eat?
If you plan to have a herd of goats or already have one, you must know how to raise a goat? So, sooner or later you will have baby goats to take care of. If you want to raise the baby goat into a healthy adult, you have to learn everything about the baby goat diet.
The baby goat is also called a kid or billy. Once the kid is born, it is your responsibility to take care of it. Nutrition is the most important thing that a baby requires along with shelter and care.
The baby goat diet is vital, as it helps the kid to grow into a productive and healthy adult. So, if you have any doubts or face any problems about the baby goat diet and care, contact your nearest veterinarian.
Baby Goat Diet According to Their Age
Feeding from (0-1) Month
The first feeding of a baby goat is an extremely important part of the baby goat diet. This first feed is popularly known as colostrum. Once the kid is born, it should get its feed from the mother within an hour of birth. Therefore, you must keep mother and kid together for consistent access to milk for the first 3-4 days.
Colostrum has some crucial properties which are life-saving for a baby goat diet:
- It acts as a laxative that helps in the discharge of the muconium lining of the digestive tract.
- Since the energy of the newborn baby goat is limited, colostrum is ideal for providing energy to the kid. Colostrum is high in fat content, which is why it is an excellent source of energy.
- Newborn baby goats have negligible immunity. They are infection-prone and to provide protection, colostrum is supreme. The colostrum has antibodies(immunoglobulins) which act as armor for the billy until its immune system develops fully.
- Colostrum equal to 10% of a kid’s body weight must be fed to the kid within the first 24 hours.
Colostrum is important, but you also need to make sure that the milk of doe isn’t blocked. You must make sure that the doe’s milk is flowing.
If the milk is blocked, the kid will not be able to feed. In such a scenario’s frozen colostrum from another doe, must be kept in advance. After 3 days up to the time of weaning, feed the baby goat 3-5 times a day.
Feeding from (1-3) Months
There is a time when milk is not sufficient for a baby’s healthy growth. That’s when you need to make changes in their diet.
Start by decreasing the number of colostrum feeds, and introduce grains in their diet partially. This process of transferring a baby goat diet from milk to solid food is called weaning.
Follow these steps, to help your billy with proper nutrition and development:
- In the first week, giving a small number of grains will help develop baby goat’s rumen. If you don’t know what a rumen is? let us tell you about it. A goat has four chambers in its stomach, one of the chambers is the rumen.
- Once the grain is a part of the baby goat diet, offer pasture time, hay, and freshwater to the baby goat.
Once the kid is weaned, start giving them the concentrated mixture also known as the creep feed. You can start giving Creep feed from 2-3 months of age. The goal of creep feed is to jump-start a baby’s growth rapidly. The composition of ideal creep feed is:
- Groundnut cake-30%
- De-oiled rice bran-13%
- Mineral mixture-2%
- Vitamin A, B2, and D3 fortified salt-1%
- Mix the antibiotics such as oxytetracycline or chlortetracycline at the rate of 15 to 25 mg/kg feed.
Feeding from (4-12) months
Once the kid is habitual of eating solid foods, you can give every type of grain to them. By this time their rumen is mature and they can easily digest solid foods.
This is the stage where grazing comes into existence. It is 80-90% part of an adult goat’s feeding. Therefore to make them independent of human feed, leaving them in the pasture is best.
Give new foods to the billy. You can add the following grains to the baby goat diet:
- Hay (alfalfa)
Apart from this, a concentrate mixture supplement is to be provided at 100-200 gm/animal/day. It must have 16%-18% protein.
Coming to the grazing time, the average amount of grazing time that a baby goat needs at this stage is 8 hours per day. But when you leave your baby goats for grazing, make sure to check the area for poisonous plants. Some of the poisonous plants which are hazardous for your kid are:
- Moldy Grains
Apart from all the baby goat diet information, you must also take care of the baby goat’s health and hygiene. As the young kid has less immunity, vaccinations are a priority.
These health checkups, routine vaccinations keep the kid safe from disease. It improves the quality of life of baby goats.
If you are giving proper nutrition, but lack in providing clean and hygienic living space that can result in a downhill situation. The neat and clean shelter also plays an important role in the kids’ development. So along with proper food and medications, if you provide a good home you will have a happy and healthy billy.
If you plan to do sheep and goat farming, you need to make sure to keep your baby goat healthy and happy. Breeding is one of the reasons why a goat is the first choice of farmers.
Therefore, the food given at all different stages matters a lot. taking care of a baby goat demands a lot of time and patience at these early stages of development.
The nutrition given at this stage determines the future health of the kid. Proper nutrition increases fertility and improves the milking ability of goats. It also is an important factor for meat production. Therefore make sure to maintain your baby goat diet.