weaning goats

Discussion in 'Goats' started by JoyKelley, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

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    I am a realatively new goater, notice I did not say goat owner , cause I am not sure who owns who around here.

    I bought two pregnant nubian / nubian crosses. The first birth was for 2 and moma raised them just fine. She is still allowing occassional nursing at 6 months but seems to be drying up and if it is ok, i don't care I want everyone happy and have no intent of re-breeding the mom. The second had quads and after getting good advice I stepped in and began offering 3 supplemental feedings a day. This worked great, Their mom took care of them and I got to be the great giver of gifts.

    It worked out that one male never took a bottle, one male takes them some but you can tell it has never been his main source of milk, one male who is very large has always taken as much as he can get but still nurses some and the little girl gave up trying with mom and soley counts on the bottles.

    They have always had access to moms rations as well as beet pulp, hay and browse / pasture. They were 3 months old the first of January and the vet said I could begin weaning so I dropped the offer down to twice aday. This is working for veryyone but the girl who acts like she'd like more opportunities but she nevertheless is doing well.

    My problem if I should even try to wean them yet , if so how do I go about it , I do not want to seperate them from their mommy and yet I don't want them to pull her down if I cut out the bottles. If I have to seperate them then how long will it take til I can let them be with her . This will also cause distress to a 17 month old donkey who has taken them on as her personal responsibility and tries to keep everyone together ( much to the horses dismay she now has a herd consisting of a donkey , and a bunch of pesky goats )

    I won't ever breed her again either and I am too much a softy to cause anguish unless it is absolutly neccessary.

    thanks for any and all suggestions

    Joy Kelley
    personalpropertyappraiser@yahoo.com
     
  2. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First off I would ask if all the males in your group are castrated yet? If not, they will soon (if they have not already) breeding their sisters and dams!

    In my own herd, I would have culled out the 2 males and left the doeling on mom to get all the milk <g> But 3 months is more than old enough to wean them off mom -- lots of breeders do it at 8 weeks, and I have sold meat kids at 6 weeks that never had any more milk and did just fine.

    You could try taping her teats and maybe spraying them with bitter apple and seeing if that is enough to keep them away from her without seperating. Otherwise, you won't have much choice but to put them in seperate pens. It just depends on the goats on how soon you can put them back in -- sometimes a few weeks is enough, others will still let them nurse after a month apart!

    Tracy
     

  3. Stacy Adams

    Stacy Adams Well-Known Member

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    ??? why? Your anguish or the goats? :confused: are you worried over weaning?
    chances are, if you've been suplementing with the bottle and milking mom to fill those bottles, it's sort of as if they're all still nursing..
    If you want to wean them at this time, which is quite all right, then I'd quite milking the doe, and tape her teats for a couple of weeks with a breathable tape you can get at Wal-Mart. The kids I'd progressivly go down to one bottle, and make sure that they're eating hay and drinking water and then cut 'em off...

    As for those bucklings, oh boy, Tracy's right, if they're not wethered you could be in for a surprise sooner than you expect! :eek:
     
  4. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input, With 4 kids I wasn't milking her, I was supplementing with formula. I was told that she wouldn't be able to produce enough for 4 growing kids. And Yes the boys were neutered at about 6 weeks old.

    I feel confident that all the males are drinking and eating enough to be ok with weaning but the smaller female seems to really depend on the bottle and I haven't seen her drinking water. I like the idea of the bitter apple or taping and being able to leave them together. I am going to have to do some fencing If I seperate them.

    Will I have any issues with the mother getting mastitis as this point. I expect with the three guys still nursing some she is making alot of milk

    Also , how do you tape, do you just tape over the end of the nipple or tape them both up against the udder , or tape them together , tip to tip.

    ( that is a wierd question to ask isn't it )

    thanks again for all your help

    Joy
     
  5. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

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    If these were mine I would wean the boys by removing them to another pen. They will cry for a couple of days then be ok. Leave the doe on mom and let mom wean her.
     
  6. Stacy Adams

    Stacy Adams Well-Known Member

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    :haha: :haha: :haha: Oh my.. now that was a visual!

    What I do is take a long piece of tape and shape it like a U and place it on her teat, (see how it fits in there?) and then I take another piece and run it around the top, = to help keep the other attached.. every now and then, It'll come off, but I keep reattaching.
    If you notice her udder becomming tight (too full of milk) then go ahead and take the tape off and milk out about 1/4 cup on each side and re-tape her.. I usually have to do it twice within about a week before I notice that she's not getting tight anymore.. then a week after that, I milk out, and dry-treat ..
     
  7. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen the little girl even try to nurse her mom in a long time she seems to have given up a long time ago trying to get her share . I like the idea of removing and weaning the boys and leaving the female , or at least trying it before trying taping. My question now is, If I remove the guys and leave the girl, and cut out the bottles, do you all think she will go back to nursing her mother? My gut feeling is yes and will like the opportunity to do so with no competition.

    And thanks for describing the taping, the only issue I with that is the milking, She doesn't like me touching her udder even one little bit and I don't have a milking stand ( she has horns)

    by the way you guys are great thanks

    Joy
     
  8. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

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    Well my best guess is that if the little doe is not now , and hasn't been nursing her mom at all, then no she won't just start and you will have to just continue bottle feeding and then wean her. Now for the milk stand you can build one out of scrap lumber very easy. And how the heck to you trim hooves , give medications etc (the easy way) if you don't have a milk stand??
     
  9. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have our first makeshift milk stand this year. We have had goats for around eight years now. Meds and trimming hooves has always been a chore. Takes two of us. We feed them and catch them in a catch pen. Then I run around and catch each goat. We weigh them, dose them and let them go. Then on the the next. We have had wethers and does that take forever to catch but we have always caught them in the end. It is time consuming and something we don't do very often, but it is doable without a stand.
     
  10. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

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    I have a goat friend that does a good job on the feet and needs the money so she trims for me monthly ( and brings her own stand) and so far medication as well as the neutering* has been done by the vet and worming isn't a problem to just hold and dose.

    I am sure the longer I have these guys living with us the more I will learn and do myself

    * long story but I let a goat savvy neighbor band my first male baby and it was 8 long weeks of torture for him . It did not dry up and drop off like a raisin as promised. Then it ripped off whole above the band, I swore that I would never put another animal through that again, then less than two months later he had urinary calculi and I had to have him put to sleep cause I didn't want to pony up the 500.00 operation. After that and since I am only keeping these 7 as pets I had the vet neuter the males and give shots. my husband has to accept that these are really not goats, they are just goat shaped pet dogs.
     
  11. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    For taping the teats, the procedure described is good. Just be sure to try to make the tape going around the teat as loose as possible, if you put the tape on after milking. As milk collects, the teat will grow in diameter, and you don't want to constrict the teat too much. Also, Johnson & Johnson paper tape, 1-inch wide, works really well. It has a good adhesive - strong, but not too strong. I've successfully used that in combination with Petgold Bitter Break spray (from PETCO) for weaning. Spray after taping.