Posted by GoatWorld on January 11, 2001 at 02:25:52:
In Reply to: baby goats posted by Patty McLeod on January 10, 2001 at 12:25:22:
In my experience so far with kids, they will continue to nurse as long as the mother lets them. I have heard that they will nurse for somewhere around 36 weeks if they are allowed to. I do not know if this is true however.
We weaned two goats last year at around the 3 month period. We separated them from the herd and put them in a pen with smaller goats, but in such a way that they could still see the mother and the mother could still see them.
Well for some reason my wife decided to return them to the pen with their mother a day or two later and they immediately went back to nursing. I separated them out again a week later. I did not put them back in with their mother for a month or so but that was enough time for them to be weaned in this case. Funny too because when they did get back in with their mother, they tried to nurse but she would not let them.
We also bought two pygmy goats a couple of years back that were less than two weeks old. We bottle fed them for 6 weeks and by that time they were beging to mouth food more and more so we weaned them then. They went on to become very healthy and rambunctious little pygmys.
In my opinion, you'll know they are getting enough milk if you notice the does udder somewhat less swollen at times. Of course you want to be sure that the doe is producing enough milk too. I recommend getting the doe on a good lactation ration feed to supplement her milk production. Keep alot of fresh water on hand too.
As far as when to put the kids back in with the adult goats...this is somewhat of a judgement call I think. Goats are herd animals. They like to be together. Some will tell you that it's okay to return the kids and mom to the herd after only a few days. But consider if it is a really cold night and they are all huddling together, there is a chance that the kids could get squashed at the bottom of the pile.
Also, if you have any mean goats or nannies that try to steal the babies, you have to watch for that too. Another thing to be careful with is feeding time. This usually brings on a stampede of goats who care little about the kid(s) - only about the feed. Again, the kid will perhaps get jostled about or even caught underfoot. And I think we all know what happens if the kid gets to close to the feed trough - a solid head butt from the bigger goats - sometimes it can be pretty vicious.
We have put our kids back in with the adults at only a few days after being born but are starting now to keep the kids and moms in a pen nearby the adults for at least 30 days or until the kid(s) look as though they are strong and healthy enough to withstand the stampede. I know some people may or may not disagree with this but I am speaking from the experience of discovering a kid or smaller goat crushed to death, butted too roughly or anything else that is going to endanger him or her.
Hope this has helped,
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