How to wean

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by trailhound, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. trailhound

    trailhound New Member

    38
    Mar 22, 2008
    North Carolina
    First, I need to start by saying that you guys are great! I really appreciate all the help you have given me and hope in the future to be able to pitch in myself. My little alpine wether Elmer (the bookworm that was having bloating problems) is 7 weeks old now. I know that there are a lot of different theories about weaning, but a lot of you wean at 8 weeks. I am leaning this way since we are having problems with the milk situation. Right now I am mixing it about half goats milk (from the grocery store) and half Save-a-Kid milk replacer. I am feeding him 4 times per day at 10 ounces each feeding. He is really starting to chow down on the goat pellet food and always has good hay available and I try to let them out for a while to graze/browse every day.

    So I am thinking it would be best to gradually back him off of the bottle instead of going cold turkey- is that right? And how much time should he be getting with grass/browse? I can't leave them out in the pasture right now because they are too small- they are still learning to be livestock and don't think they can stay out there without me and are still small enough to escape if determined enough. I haven't quite figured out whether the bloat was caused by too much grass (I am used to horses) or the formula, feeding too much at one time (I was feeding 20 oz 2 times per day), or using the wrong nipple or a combination of it all.

    To make a long story short, how much should I reduce his milk intact over how long a period, and how much grass/browse can he have.

    Thanks!
    Andrea
     
  2. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Too much of a disruption will cause stress on Elmer and since you just began mixing his milk/replacer AND swithed to different feeding amounts, I would continue with 4x day bottles at 10oz for another 5 days or so, then cut back to 3 for another few days and make sure he always has access to hay as well as fresh water, I've not HAD to bottlefeed but I did get a bottled buckling that had just been weaned when I got him, stress and the move was what I was concerned with and even though he was "cold turkey" weaned and was eating/drinking well on his own I still gave him a 12 oz bottle 1x a day for almost 2 months, I even did the same for Angel, as she was just 6 weeks when I brought her home, she was dam raised but took to the bottle very well and she got 10oz 1x a day til my Tilly "adopted" her and she would nurse from her. I hope I helped you some, there are others that strictly raise kids on a bottle that would know more about your question but I do think that at even 7-10 weeks babies benefit alot from still getting milk.....also something else you can try, start putting his milk in a dish and hold it for him, if he WANTS the milk he'll try and suck it out of the pan, if it's just thebottle he wants give him an 8 oz water bottle.
     

  3. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    Great advise liz.

    Just want to add that when I wean I dont' cut back the amount in the bottle right away. I usually just cut out the mid day bottle and so forth until I am only feeding one in the morning and one at night.

    Then I mix the milk/forumula with water (or more water) and then after a couple days of that I cut out the night time bottle. I usually end up with the one bottle a day for a little while in the morning. And when the new owners picked them up they had a choice to continue with the one bottle in the morning or just let them go without. Some continued it others would wouldn't.

    By 12 weeks he should be fully weaned....... but you can wean him at 8-10 if you feel he can handle it fine. They may act like they don't need it; eating hay and grain. But those little ones do need that milk even if it is just for the comfort of it. That is why liz's suggestion of the water is great and I did that as well. It helps to wean them off of the bottle as they go, oh I don't need more water I am good.
     
  4. trailhound

    trailhound New Member

    38
    Mar 22, 2008
    North Carolina
    Thanks ladies!

    So if he is 7 weeks now, do you think this is a good plan- start now by cutting him down to three 10 oz bottles per day for a week or so, and then take away one bottle per week after that if he seems like he is doing fine?
     
  5. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    yah you can do that. See how he reacts to it but I doubt he will have a problem especially since he is eating so well otherwise