An Overview Of Weaning Methods for Boer Goat Kids
The best way to wean Boer goats requires trust and confidence. Boer goats can nurse for up to six months, or until they give birth to their next batch of babies. Weaning is a delicate process that requires patience and calmness. Having the confidence to wean your goats will help you to make the process as painless as possible.
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Natural weaning is the gradual reduction of the amount of milk offered to the kids. This method is particularly helpful if weaning takes place before the kids reach the 70-day mark. Before that age, the kids are more susceptible to weaning shock, which decreases feed conversion and increases the production of manure. Stress also decreases productivity and welfare.
During the natural weaning process, the mother goat makes the major decisions. She knows when the kids have grown strong enough to take over milk production and will stop them from drinking milk from her. The process may be accompanied by butting and kicking, but the goat will be less stressed.
Before weaning, it is important to prepare the weaning pen and the environment. It should be familiar to the kids and provide a conducive environment for weaning. The pens should have clean water at all times. Clean water will encourage the goats to drink and provides electrolytes for the body.
Weaning can be done either immediately or over time. However, abrupt changes are traumatic for goats, so a gradual increase in time apart will lessen stress for the goats. Goats are remarkable creatures that will do most of the work on their own. As long as it is done properly, it should be painless for the goats.
While weaning is inevitable, it is best to avoid stress by introducing them to the herd gradually. Weaning kids should remain in the same pen for a few days before being introduced to the rest of the herd. If not, the new kids will continue nursing and block access to the udder.
Grazing conditions can determine when weaning should take place. Weaning can also reduce the production of goats. Hence, producers should consult an animal feed supplier when choosing the date and method for weaning. This is because solid feeds can remain in the rumen longer, contributing to the development of the microbial population. Moreover, fibrous feeds encourage the development of the rumen wall muscles, which are vital for the mixing of the rumen’s contents.
Despite the fact that research on goat nutrition is limited, there is enough evidence to support natural weaning. A properly-planned feeding regimen can greatly influence growth and production. For example, a natural milk-feeding program may be used at the same time as the doe separation.
Another common problem after weaning is coccidiosis. These parasitic worms affect the digestive system and can be fatal if left untreated. Treatment for coccidiosis should be started two weeks before weaning. Afterward, treatment should continue for another two weeks. However, different marketing strategies may dictate a different treatment time.
If the doe has a large udder and unusually warm milk, it might have mastitis. This is difficult to distinguish from milk that is reabsorbed after drying off. In some cases, the milk may also have a bad odor or be clotted. So, natural weaning should be done with extreme care. If you do decide to milk the does, consider the distance and fencing between them.
It’s important to start weaning when the kids are between two and three times their birth weight. This will allow them to get the nutrients they need from the solid feed before milk is withdrawn. The amount of solid feed consumed should be at least 1% of the kid’s body weight. This means that a 33-lb. kid needs about 0.33 pounds of feed every day.
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The most effective way to wean Boer goats is to bottle-feed them. This is not an easy process, but it’s the only way to guarantee a successful outcome. This method does have some disadvantages, however, including the pain associated with separating milk from baby goats.
When weaning a baby goat, the most important thing to remember is that the process is a delicate one, and you need to be calm and confident about the process. You will need to reduce the amount of milk each feeding and gradually decrease the frequency of feeding. After the first two weeks, bottle feeding should be reduced to three or four times per day. Solid foods can be introduced to the baby at three weeks.
A baby goat may not be able to suckle right away when it’s first introduced to a bottle, but it will eventually learn to suck. You may notice that the baby goat starts chewing on its nipple instead of sucking. This is normal, and it’s a sign of nutrition.
Bottle feeding a baby goat should be done gradually. The newborn goat should receive about 20 ounces of cold milk three times a day. After three days, you can begin introducing small amounts of grain and pellets to the baby goat. At about four weeks, the baby goat should be consuming a quart of milk at a time.
A baby goat needs about 10% of its body weight in the first 24 hours of life, but some kids are still not ready. Depending on their condition, it can take up to four months to fully wean. Some goats may also be slow to accept solid food after weaning. You should keep a close eye on the baby goat’s weight and condition to ensure successful weaning.
For the best results, feed the baby goat with a high-protein pellet containing 16-18% protein. This will allow their rumen to develop properly and will help them to make the transition smoothly to weaning. Alternatively, you can feed them a fortified concentrate feed such as Purina(r) Goat Chow and Grower.
Once the kid is at least two months of age, you can wean him by gradually introducing him to pasture or hay. By four to eight weeks, he should be eating a significant amount of dry food. After that, you can gradually reduce the amount of milk replacer that he receives.
During this period, you need to provide a colostrum substitute, which contains viable antibodies. It’s better to provide the colostrum from the doe that has just kidded. The colostrum will remain viable for a year in the freezer.
When the weather is good enough, you can move the baby piglets outdoors. This will help them get used to their new environment and will make bonding easier. You can also place them in their pen and let them get to know each other. One of them will eventually become an orphan.
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