Goat with two kids

How Do You Wean A Baby Goat from Its Mother? Most Important Tips for Success

By Dairy Farming Hut

Goats

Goats are an adorable farm animal-both playful and energetic. Their milk has also become popular and is used to create everything from cheese and yogurt to hand soap. However, to obtain the milk for these products, it is important to successfully wean the baby goats from their mother first.

A baby goat should gradually be weaned from its mother once they reach two to three times their birth weight and around two to four months of age. This will ensure that both the babies and the mothers are happy and healthy, and ready for this important transition.

Weaning a baby goat requires patience and a gentle hand. Learning when the right time is and introducing them to solid foods can lower the stress level for both the mother goats and their kids as they transition into adulthood. Take a look below for tips on when to know when baby goats are ready for weaning, how to prepare, and some things to look out for after they are weaned.

Preparing to Wean a Baby Goat from Its Mother

Before you begin to wean your baby goats, go through the following checklist to make sure they are healthy and ready to be separated from their mothers.

  • From the time they are born, make sure they are getting colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk mother mammals give their babies. It has plenty of antibodies that are important to helping newborn baby goats get a healthy start in life when they are most vulnerable.  
  • Write down their birth weight. This is important as it will help you know if they are growing properly as well as when it is okay to wean them from their mothers’ milk completely.
  • Around two weeks before you wean them, show them around and let them get used to their weaning pen. If the pen is big enough, bring their mother in there with them. This will help them feel safe and make the eventual separation from their mothers less traumatic.
  • Vaccinate them. Baby goats need the CD-T vaccination. This vaccination protects them against tetanus—especially important on a farm that may have iron gates and fences. It also protects against a disease called enterotoxaemia, a disease that can hurt their digestive system. This protection will be especially important when they no longer have milk to rely on for nutrition.
  • Deworm them at least twice before separating them from their mother. This will ensure the goats remain healthy and prevent the spread of worms to new goats they’re kept with.
  • When they are around two months old, start giving them a little bit of solid food along with their milk. As with introducing them to their pen before they live in it alone, this will help them get used to solid food and make the transition to it much smoother.

How Should Solid Food Be Introduced?

Unlike humans, baby goats can be introduced to solid food as early as one week. Goats are natural nibblers, so once you notice baby goats chewing on things, offer them bits of alfalfa. This will help them get used to solid food and is preparation for more substantial solid food.

From that point, if you have been keeping track of their weight and notice they have been steadily and healthily increasing toward the goal of twice their birth weight (usually reached around two months), start giving them goat kid starter food

They may start off by eating only a little of this solid food, but they will eat more over time. As they do, they will be drinking less milk, which will make their eventual weaning much easier and less stressful for everyone!

When Should You Wean a Baby Goat?

There are many different opinions on this, and to a certain extent, it does depend on the goat kid. However, there are generally accepted rules that cover all goats:

  1. 1
    First, do not wean them too early (for example, at two weeks). This can cause both health and behavioral issues in the baby goats due to stress. Their bodies and their brains simply are not ready to be separated from their mothers that soon.
  2. 2
    Second (and this is where recording their birth weight comes into play), do your best to delay weaning until they have reached 2 to 2.5 times their birth weight. This may come at different times for different goats.

With that in mind, if you go by age instead of weight, baby goats are typically able to handle being fully weaned at two to three months old, though they will wean themselves around four months old.

Should Baby Goats Be Separated from their Mothers?

Probably the most difficult part of weaning is the separation of the kids from their mothers once they’ve reached a proper weight. They will cry very intensely for a couple of days but living in completely separate pens is necessary for successful weaning.

Once they are in separate pens, there are two options. You can either:

  1. 1
    Completely cut off the milk and just feed them solid food or
  2. 2
    Still allow them times to meet up with their mothers for milk, and slowly decrease the number of times until they have stopped completely

Neither way is better than the other and depends on your individual circumstances, but the important thing is keeping them separate during that weaning process.

Keep in mind that even when the kid has been completely weaned off of milk, you should keep them separate from their mother for a while longer because there is the potential for them to revert back to nursing if the mother is still producing milk.

Once the mother is no longer producing milk, it is fine to reintroduce them and keep them in the same pens again.

Whats Next After Weaning a Baby Goat from Its Mother?

Once you have weaned your baby goats, the job is still not complete. There are things to look out for, and you still need to provide for your goats to make sure they remain healthy.

Things to Look Out For

You should keep an eye on the following:

  • Weight: It is normal for baby goats to lose some weight after being weaned as they get used to a new diet and change their routine. However, if they lose too much weight, it might be an indication of a more serious issue.
  • Illnesses: A very dangerous and contagious illness among goats is coccidiosis. If you notice bloody or dark diarrhea, get the goats checked out by a veterinarian immediately.

Things to Provide

Once the baby goats are weaned, the two most important things you can do for your goats are:

  • Provide them with lots of water with easy access. Since baby goats have been getting much of their hydration from milk, it can be easy for them to become dehydrated and sick if there is no easy access.
  • Give them roughage. Grass or hay is an essential part of a balanced diet for a goat. If you have a big yard, no need to run the lawnmower when you have some goats to cut the grass for you!

Conclusion

Having and weaning baby goats is a big task but one that can be undertaken and done successfully with the right tools and knowledge under your belt. Be prepared, be observant, and make sure your goat kid is getting the proper nourishment so they can survive and thrive during the weaning process.

Do not become discouraged and give up when they show distress over being separated from their mothers—it will pass and can be done in a way that works best for you and your goats! Most importantly, be sure to observe and note any physical changes, including the good ones. Enjoy watching your baby goats grow and thrive!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts

Do all Cows Have Udders? (Some Interesting Facts)
5 Ways Drones are Highly Useful in Managing Dairy Livestock
What are Baby Goats called?
Why Does a Cow Need So Many Stomachs?