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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

December 13, 2023 - 9:00am --

Colostrum is the first milk that is produced after the doe gives birth. It is thick and yellowish in color. The thickness of the colostrum can be all different types of thicknesses. Colostrum is high in energy, protein, vitamins and minerals – all of which are very important for the newborns. Colostrum also contains maternal antibodies that help protect the baby from diseases. It is very important to vaccinate pregnant does 3-4 weeks before she is due for enterotoxemia (overeating disease) caused by Clostridium perfringens types C & D and tetanus. Those antibodies will be transferred into the colostrum and the goat kids will absorb them when they nurse.

Its very important to feed colostrum to the goat kids soon after birth or within at least two hours. That is because goat kids have openings in their small intestines to absorb the immunoglobulins found in the mother colostrum which unfortunately these opening start closing shortly after birth. If the goat kids have trouble latching you might need to step in and give them additional care. Once the goat kids are 24 hours old the ability for them to absorb the antibodies has ended.

What do you do if you need to take a goat kid from the mother and turn it into a bottle baby soon after birth?

Feed colostrum at a minimum for 10 percent of the goat kids body weight. This means a 10-pound kid should receive 16 ounces within 24 hours after birth. Try to feed only 2-3 ounces every 3-4 hours during the first 24 hours. You want to feed them small amounts because they have very small stomachs. If you feed them more than 2-3 ounces in a feeding at first, you can risk them overeating (which is not good). Make sure the goat kids’ temperature is at least 101-103 degrees Fahrenheit or they will be unable to absorb the colostrum. It is also very important to not overfeed bottle babies. They will always act hungry.

What can you do if you are unable to feed the goat kid its mothers milk?

If you can use the colostrum from the mother that is always best but if you have colostrum from other does from your herd that will work also. If you collect colostrum from the mother, it should be used in 1-2 hours unless it was refrigerated then it should be fed in 24-48 hours. You can freeze colostrum by putting it into freezer safe bag or filling ice cube trays then once they are frozen take them out and put them into a freezer safe bag. Cow colostrum is another option if you do not have frozen goat colostrum. One thing to be aware of is John’s disease that is common in cattle and not as common in goats. If you decide to go this route, try, and get the colostrum from a Johns disease negative herd. If the prior options for colostrum are unavailable, you can use colostrum replacer that you can buy from any farm store.

Colostrum is very important for the survival and health of the goat kid. Always keep in mind the timing for maximal colostrum absorption, volume the goat kid is receiving and the quality of colostrum. If you have any questions from this article or general goat questions, please contact Shelby Tedrow at or call the office 330-264-8722 to reach her.


Upcoming Wayne County Extension Programs:

  • Backyard Poultry Certification: Course information can be found at  
  • 2024 Professional Marketer Program: once each week during February
  • 2024 Winter Livestock Lunch Series: once each week from late January through the end of March.


Shelby Tedrow is an Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H Program assistant for Wayne County Extension. She can be reached at or 330-264-8722
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This article was previously published in The Daily Record.