Wow, where to start on talking about bottle feeding fawns?
They were about 8 days (the boy) and 2 weeks old (the girl) when I brought them home. They each had been bottle fed for several days prior to that. How and what to feed them?
There are varying lines of thought, all from professionals, on this.
I am feeding these tykes goat milk replacer that comes in powder form. You mix it up with warm water, put it in a bottle with a rubber teat on it and stick it in the fawn’s front end. You can find these teats at your local feed store or you can order them online by clicking on the link. They only cost about two bucks apiece. They are the perfect size for fawns and they take to them much better than any other kind of teat. Plus, they have the added advantage to fitting on a plastic soda bottle–you don’t have to have a special kind of bottle for it.
Why goat milk mix? It provides complete nutrition to them and it’s relatively cheap. There is also lamb milk replacer that can be used. Lamb’s milk and goat milk is slightly different. Ewe’s milk contains more fat, protein and minerals than cow’s milk. In addition, the fat globules in lamb’s milk are homogenized, and cow’s milk contains excessive amounts of lactose that may cause bloat or digestive upset. Goat milk contains more fat soluble vitamins and vitamin C than either ewe or cow milk. Calf milk replacer is generally unacceptable.
Just mix it up according the directions on the package. When you’re mixing it I find it much easier to use very hot water. Why? Because the powder won’t clump as easily. Just like when you mix water in flower for gravy you use hot water for the same reason. I’ll fill about half the water needed with hot, then I mix cold water in for the rest to cool the temperature down so the fawns can drink it. I like to give warm milk to my fawns, just like you would give warm milk to a baby.
But some folks recommend feeding the milk cold to them. Why? With cold milk, there is less tendency for them to overeat, thus helping to prevent, bloat, digestive upsets, and scours.
What are scours? It’s a term for diarrhea. The word “scours” doesn’t address what causes the diarrhea, but simply tells of the fact that your critter has the squirts. As in kids of any variety, be they human, goat, lamb or fawn, scours can literally be deadly. If it goes on long enough and severe enough it causes dehydration that will eventually kill. So it is important to be able to identify the cause of scours and then be able to treat it effectively. I wonder why they don’t refer to human kidlets with the squirts as having “the scours” ???
As mentioned above, use the proper kind of teat for your fawns. Life will be much easier for them as well as for you. The teat that I have referenced for you can be found at your local feed store. Think livestock feed store. They may or may not have them at a pet store. They have the added advantage of fitting onto plastic bottles. The very same plastic bottles that you buy your soda pop or iced tea in.
Clean your bottles! It is extremely important that you clean your bottles after each use! I do it by rinsing them in scalding hot water and scrubbing them out with a bottle brush. You can also find bottle brushes at your local feed store. They’re generally found sitting on the shelf right next to the teats. I also regularly pitch out bottles that have been used for awhile and replace with a brand new bottle.
What do you do if you have leftover milk in your bottle? I put mine in the refrigerator. Then I warm it up in the microwave for the next feeding. Depending on how much, generally 30 or 60 seconds will do the trick. Of course, test it to make sure it’s not too hot before you give it to your fawn!
How often to feed your fawn?
During a fawn’s first two weeks they need to be fed every 3 to 4 hours. Yes that means around the clock, so set your alarm for those wee early morning hours and just suck it up. Weeks 3 to 4 they can be fed every 5 hours. My fawns are now about 6 weeks old and I’m feeding them 4 times a day: first thing when I get up, around noon, around dinner time and then just before bed.