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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How old should a kid be before weening and is it better to leave them with the mother and let them ween the kids themselves?

Is there a way to tell if a doe is pregnant early on without ultrasound? I bought this doe that was supposed to be bred Sept 8th. Just want to know if she really was.

How cold is to cold for goats in the winter? Is there some step I need to take to insure they don't freeze?
 

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There are going to be varied answers to your first question.
My does rarely bother weaning but if I sell someone it is no earlier than 12 weeks.
If you can post a pic of your doe's behind with tail up some here are really good at determining if she was bred.
As for cold, Im more concerned with drafts on new kids. Adults can handle some pretty wicked temps if they can be out of the wind.
 

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It all depends! Everyone does things differently, so what works for me may not work for anyone else.

I wean bucklings at 8 weeks because i don't want to deal with them. They either go to new homes or a dealer at that time.

If I bottle raise the does or bucklings (as a future herd sire) they stay on the bottle for 4-6 months because I have a ton of milk to use up.

If the doe or future herd sire bucklings are being dam raised, the does stay on the dam until I start to get the dams ready for fall breeding, then they are removed from their dams. Bucklings are taken away by 3 months of age so they won't breed the does.

Wethers being raised for freezer camp stay with their dams until they are shipped. I make sure they have an appointment at the slaughterhouse in early October, so I still have time to get the doe(s) in breeding shape. (if needed). Depending on when the wethers were born, that can be anywhere from 4 to 9 months.

Most of my does will not wean their kids themselves, I have to do it. They will let their adult doe kids suck, even if they, and their adult daughters, have new kids on them!

I have a dairy herd and milk the does while they have their kids on them. They give more milk than their kids can eat and if I weaned the kids early, I would drown in milk. As it is, I still have way more milk than I need when they are raising their kids, but with the kids weaned, it's awful! I make and give away tons of cheese. The dogs and chickens get it. My freezers are full of cheese and milk (for the dry period) and I still end up dumping some of it. So for me, letting the kids stay as long as possible is a good thing. It also keeps the doe kids growing fast, so they are at or over 100 pounds their first fall and can be bred if i want.

When I had Boers, they were treated the same way. I had the does milking daily also.

Where I live, the temps can get down to -50 (ok, it did only a couple of times but....) sometimes even lower with a horrible wind chill. My goats deal with it just fine. They have thick wooly coats. Dairy goats were originally mountain dwellers from the Alps, so they evolved with cold temps. As mentioned by Nancy, drafts are the killers of not only new kids, but adults as well. A draft free, dry place to get in out of the weather is all that is needed. Keep their bellies full of hay to "stoke the fire" so to speak and they will be fine. The digestive process involving hay or browse (fibrous feeds) will keep their bodies warm from the inside.

I used to breed my does to kid in January and February up here. The kids all did fine. I triend ot make sure I was there when they kidded to help dry the kids off, but once they got a belly full of colostrum, they were fine.
 

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How old should a kid be before weening and is it better to leave them with the mother and let them ween the kids themselves?

Is there a way to tell if a doe is pregnant early on without ultrasound? I bought this doe that was supposed to be bred Sept 8th. Just want to know if she really was.

How cold is to cold for goats in the winter? Is there some step I need to take to insure they don't freeze?
I wean at 3 months of age for wethers, and 3-4 months of age for doelings. Whether you let the mother wean is going to depend on whether your goats are for pets or a business. If a business, it does not make sense to let your does wean their kids. Do the math - 5 months of gestation + 6-7 months of nursing = 1 year, the doe does not have time to regain her condition prior to being bred to kid again. If a business, 5 months gestation + 3 months nursing = 4 months to regain condition prior to being re-bred.

Given that she should have been bred Sept 8th, you can draw blood and do a pregnancy test on her through your vet or WADDL. That will either confirm or negate pregancy.

How cold is too cold for goats is going to depend on the circumstances and the animals involved. For adults with a winter coat, I don't know that it can ever get too cold as long as they have dry bedding, protection from drafts, wet snow, rain, wind, and good quality grass or grass/alfalfa hay. Heat is produced through digestion and grass hay is harder to digest than alfalfa, therefore produces more heat. For babies, 32 degrees combined with a good wind can prove fatal in under 15 minutes if you're not there to help them. I hope this helps. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are going to be varied answers to your first question.
My does rarely bother weaning but if I sell someone it is no earlier than 12 weeks.
If you can post a pic of your doe's behind with tail up some here are really good at determining if she was bred.
As for cold, Im more concerned with drafts on new kids. Adults can handle some pretty wicked temps if they can be out of the wind.
I will post a pic of doe's rear soon, hopefully someone will be able to tell.

Thanky you everyone for you comments, they are very helpful!!
 

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Everyone keeps saying "draft free" for adults. LOL My own house isn't even draft free! We can't even do draft free for babies....we do our best and keep heat lamps on them for a couple weeks tho. I live in NW Ks. My adult goats have an open ended shed that they can get inside when the weather is bad. They definitely get drafts in there! We can get wind-chill to 30 below pretty easily here. As long as you have somewhere they can get when it's raining or snowing, they will adapt to the conditions. You will have to keep an eye on them for any that get weak...we had a pg doe go down (hubby was feeding cause of weather and didn't pay attention or tell me that she was having problems) and almost froze to the ground. It was horrible. She never did stand up again and delivered triplets who also died a couple weeks later. As bad as that story is, that's the first time we've had any problems. We usually kid in January which is the coldest month out here. This year we bred for Nov so hopefully that will help.

I agree with everyone else on weaning. I do have some does that let their adult babies suck. And some that wean on their own. It definitely depends on what you're doing with them. And, lotsagoats!! Oh how I feel your pain!! My hubby milked last year and I felt like I was spending ALL my time doing nothing but yogurt and cheese! He weaned kids at 8 weeks so we'd have MORE milk...WTH???? LOL I'm hoping to convince him to leave kids on this year so they will grow better. We milked 2 goats, once a day, and never pulled their kids. We still had 2 gallons a day to try and deal with....pigs, chickens, cats, all were happy, happy during milk season!
 

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Everyone keeps saying "draft free" for adults. LOL My own house isn't even draft free!
It is crucial to have a "draft free" shelter, it can make them very ill, under the right situation and circumstances, when wind blows in there.
I highly recommend, to not allow drafts to come into shelters.
It is easy to put up boards or whatever you have, to cover, draft windy sides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It is crucial to have a "draft free" shelter, it can make them very ill, under the right situation and circumstances, when wind blows in there.
I highly recommend, to not allow drafts to come into shelters.
It is easy to put up boards or whatever you have, to cover, draft windy sides.
Should I cover all four side of the shelter? Right now, I have three sides and the fourth open. Earlier in the year, I visited a goat dairy farm and the lady told me goat don't like to be completely closed in. My shelter is 8' x 24', should I completely close off 2/3 of that and leave the rest open with just 3 sides? Would love to get your input. Note a whole 24' side is open with both 8' ends closed and the other 24' side, also closed.
 

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Generally ventilation ports should be towards the ceiling.
 

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My does kid from mid February to mid March, I milk my girls at around 3 weeks fresh and will separate kids from mom at night from 3-4 weeks until they go to new homes at around 8-12 weeks, with doelings I retain, I use cloth tape on the moms teats once they are 4-5 months old...milk my girls to October and dry off.
My goats do have inside shelter...My little 18x16 barn id divided into 4 sections for each pen... bucks have their own door to get into a 5x8 stall, does have a 8x11 area and my wether and dry , retired does have 2 areas...one is 6x6 the other is 6x4.

With your shelter being wide open on the long side, I suggest placing a wall in the middle front, leaving a 4 foot wide opening on each end, you can even place a short wall on the inside of these doorways to create a sort of box inside to allow the goats to be away from the open doorways.
 
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