In commercial dairy operations, it is standard practice to bottle-raise goat kids. While you may dam-raise yours, there will inevitably come a time you, too, will need to bottle feed. While it’s fun for one or two babies for one or two weeks, there may come a time when you would like—or flat-out need—an easier way to feed. Enter the lambar, a self-serve milk bar for goat kids.
We bought our first lambar from a goat-supply catalog but have built several more in the years since then and have shown others how to make their own, too. Building your own lambar can save you money and also ensure you get the right size/set-up for your needs. Here is a step-by-step on building and some tips for training your kids to use it.
What You Will Need:
- bucket or similar container to hold the milk (This can range from a 5-gallon bucket to a stainless steel bathroom trashcan to a file box. Anything you can drill through and will hold milk will work.)
- lambar nipples (available through most livestock- or goat-supply websites)
- plastic 3/8-inch OD tubing
- drill with a step bit or 5/8-inch bit
- a way to keep your lambar from tipping during use. (This can be as simple as strapping it to a fence and as complicated as welding up a bucket holding stand.)
Count the number of nipples you need to feed kids, and drill that number of 5/8-inch holes in the top of your bucket. Be sure to space the holes at least 2 inches apart to give each kid room to drink.
Push your lambar nipples through the hole from inside the bucket. Next, give a good tug from the outside to pull the entire cylindrical part to the front to secure. There is a ridge to keep it in place.
Measure the distance from the nipple to the bottom of your container. Cut a length of tubing that will hit the bottom.
Push the tubing into the nipple. Fill with milk, secure to a fence or place in a stand, and get your life back!
Training Your Kids To Use A Lambar
Baby goats won’t just know how to use a lambar—at first, you will need to help them. Here are a few tips:
- Start all of your kids’ on bottles using the lambar nipples. These nipples fit perfectly over beer/soda bottles. Already knowing the feel of this nipple will make adjusting to the lambar infinitely easier.
- Train kids one at a time. You will likely need to help them latch on, and you will definitely have to hold their heads in place the first few times they use the lambar. They will also need help getting back on when they “fall off.” Be patient. They will get it. If you’re using a 5-gallon bucket, consider buying a padded lid to sit on while you train. You can sit on top and easily hold the goats in place.
- If you have large lambar but only one or two kids, put milk into a quart mason jar or other narrow, tall receptacle inside your lambar. The less distance the kids have to pull milk up the tube, the easier it is for them. Once they get the hang of it, you can just pour the milk into the big container.
- Get yourself a thin tube-cleaning brush. It looks like a long mascara brush. The tubes will get gross over time, so you’ll need one long enough to slide the entire length of your tubes.
Once you go lambar, you will never go back. It is, hands down, the best kidding season tool we own. Make yours today and thank me at the end of kidding season.