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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Goat baby weaning time 
19th-Jul-2013 11:22 am
Justin-goat
Last weekend, Kezzi-baby got sick to her stomach, probably from overeating something not-good in the new pasture next door. Her symptoms were the typical messy that happens when goats eat something disagreeable plus not eating, so all I did was isolate her and her mother Anna and offer up lots of baking soda in a dish for them. After watching Anna chow down on the entire dish of baking soda, it occurred to me that 1) Anna was also sick and 2) I should probably separate them if I wanted Kezzi to get near the baking soda.

Thus began the natural process of weaning the baby girls for this year. Anna was removed from that side of the field, and Kezzi offered more baking soda. Fiona and Chloe were easy to bring to that side of the pasture, as were Madeline and Zoe (yearlings). Getting Angelina to come over took force. But by Monday, I had the right side pasture populated with the baby and yearling girls plus Ginger. Ginger gets to stay with Taffy as long as they both want to be together, or until breeding time for Ginger because of stress on Taffy. Taffy is the only goat in full fleece and she's the smallest goat of them all. Ginger is there to provide protection during breakfast and extra food (milk) to keep her going during the hot summer. I am *not* going to suffer another Penny/Hopper death again. Grrr.

So now morning feedings are cuter and less chaotic in the back pastures. The twins climb all over me, Madeline pushes them away, and the girls all settle down to eat, undisturbed by the pushy adults in the next pasture over.

ETA: Kezzi lasted only about a week without Anna. She followed Zoe back through the fence one morning and is now back with Anna. I'm not going to sweat it. They will get broken up permanently if I breed Anna again this year, and if I don't, then Anna gets to make the call. (Zoe comes and goes where and when she pleases. No one seems to follow her lead in wandering between pastures, despite the kids still being smaller than her.)
Comments 
19th-Jul-2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
I've never really done weaning, I've always let it happen naturally. You just move the kids out and say, that's it, cold turkey?
23rd-Jul-2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
Yes. I'm cruel and heartless and evil. I also usually do it when there is a triggering point, such as the Memorial Day show (which didn't happen this year), one of the goats gets sick, I leave on vacation and reorganize the goats for my housesitters, etc. That's why I call it a "natural process." It happens naturally according to my chaotic schedule getting a break.
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