Bottle Feeding Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions for bottle feeding calves, lambs, and goat kids.

Posted by Brooke Loeffler on May 16, 2022 12:16:15 PM

Bottle Feeding FAQs

What kind of nipple should I use?

Mouth shape and size differ between all livestock species. You will have more success bottle feeding by using species appropriate nipples for each class. Make sure you thoroughly sanitize after each feeding and store in a clean location for the next feeding session. Remember it is always best to have spares in case they get damaged, lost, etc. 

When should I feed colostrum or (colostrum replacer)?

It is critical that newborns receive colostrum immediately following birth, within the first hour is best. During the first day of life, newborns’ digestive tracts are extremely permeable and can absorb all the benefits colostrum has to offer.

When to feed colostrum to calves, lambs, and goat kids

After 24 hours, colostrum naturally transitions into mature milk. If you are bottle feeding stored colostrum or a colostrum replacer, you can also replicate that transition to mature milk on day 2 or 3. Make sure you use species specific stored colostrum or colostrum replacer for calves, lambs, and kids so they can get the appropriate fat and protein levels.

What kind of milk replacer should I use?

Different livestock species have different dietary needs (ie. protein and fat requirements, mineral tolerances, etc.) especially when they are babies. If you do not have access to stored milk, choose a milk replacer formulated for each class of animal. 

What are scours and how can I prevent them?

Scours is a diarrheal disease that is caused by a wide array of pathogens. Newborn livestock are very susceptible due to their immature digestive systems, and can result in early death losses. Here are some basic scours prevention tips:

  • Keep all bottle feeding equipment clean (sterilize bottles, nipples, and any other tools after every feeding). 
  • If possible, do not share equipment from animal to animal
  • Separate infected animals
  • Keep stalls clean and replace bedding often
  • Have a calf scours treatment, like Redmond First Month, on hand so you can start treating scours right away


*Note: For sheep and goats, reduce First Month dose to ¼ tsp per feeding

How often should I bottle feed?


  • Generally, 2-3 bottle feeding sessions a day are sufficient for healthy calves during nice weather (weather stress can increase the need for extra nutrition). Consult your veterinarian for any calves that aren’t putting on weight or appear unwell.

Lambs and Goat Kids:

Iowa State Ag Extension suggests:

  • Day 1: 4 to 6 ounces, 4 times
  • Days 2 & 3: 6 to 8 ounces, 4 times a day
  • Days 4-7: 8 to 10 oz, 4 times a day
  • Week 2: gradually increase feeding volume to 12 to 16 ounces 3 times a day
  • Week 3-8: gradually increase from 48 to 64 ounces a day

How Long Should I Bottle Feed A New Calf / When Should I Wean?

Here are some general guidelines for weaning calves, lambs, and kids from bottle feeding to solid feed:

What else do they need besides a bottle?

  • Free access to clean, fresh water
  • Easy access to forage and feed (especially as they wean)
  • Offer a good mineral program:
Redmond offers a wide range of natural mineral mixes for all classes of livestock. Young animals don’t have a developed sense of “nutritional wisdom” to know what their bodies need…except for salt cravings! The delicious electrolyte salts in our mixes are the perfect carrier for the essential trace minerals your new generation needs. Offering minerals early helps ease the transition from weaning to solid foods, reducing weaning diseases, and improves body condition scores for healthy futures.
Essential minerals for calves, lambs, and goat kids

We also offer complete customizations for our mineral supplements so your younglings get exactly what they need. Give Redmond Minerals a call today at 866-709-3192 to see how we can help you get back to what you love about raising animals!

© 2023 Redmond Minerals Inc.

Topics: Bottle Feeding FAQs

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