Milk Substitutes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New kids, no milk, what now? Ideally, you want to bottle feed with raw goat’s milk but not everyone is in the position to have that on hand and when you need to feed the babies, you need to feed them now.

Just as human children can be intolerant of cow’s milk, so can goat kids. Goats are not cows so they should have a product that is as close to the real thing as possible. What you don’t want is an otherwise well fed baby goat with scours from drinking milk that doesn’t agree with its digestion.

If you don’t have raw goat’s milk, you can hop down to the store for some goat’s milk off the shelf. Meyenberg offers goat’s milk in quart cartons. The cost is anywhere from $3.50 – 4.80 depending upon what market you’re in. You’ll need a quart a day per kid depending upon appetite. They also offer powdered goat’s milk sold in cases of 12 cans and available for purchase online. One 12 oz can makes 3 quarts of milk which works out to roughly $3.50 per quart once you add in the $10 shipping.

Opinions vary when it comes to milk replacer. It’s used commonly for cows and sheep but goat people can be particular. Fleming Outdoors has several goat milk products available online, including a colostrum replacer. Colostrum is imperative to the health of kids so while you have a healthy doe producing, milk out some colostrum and store in the freezer. Barring that, goat colostrum is going to be more effective than sheep or cow colostrum so find a product that is specifically for and from goats.

Land O Lakes offers goat kid replacer in both 8 and 20 lb buckets for $29.20 and $55.85 respectively. Details about their product can be found here.

Springbriar also has a goat milk replacer available in 50 lb bags. Their website provides a breakdown of ingredients and nutritional information. Their replacer currently sells for $66 per bag.

In a pinch you can use lamb replacer or whole cow’s milk from the grocery store but again, goats aren’t sheep or cows so that shouldn’t be your first choice.

 There are other sources for goat’s milk products so check around. You aren’t likely to find any at your local farm store unless you’re in a high goat farm area so it’s best to plan ahead. Milk your does during the off season and freeze some in bottles or bags. Stock some powdered products so you have it when you need it. Most of all, don’t panic. It can be overwhelming to try to feed babies when you were expecting their mom to do but it can be done with a little thought and preparation.

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All Things Goat was created by Naimhe Jeanne (Nee-Vah Jeen,) of Illinois, and Martha Ann, of Vermont, who believe in the humane treatment of goats whether they are pets or raised for milk, meat or fiber. Through news, profiles, recipes and editorials, All Things Goat illustrates how our caprine friends improve the quality of life for many worldwide. Our All Things Goat intern is Lela Perez, of Killeen, Texas.

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