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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an older group of 6 wethers ranging from 1 year to 6 years old that lives together, and then a group of 6 little bucklings from 3 weeks old to 3 months old that live together. At what point or age would I let them all go out to pasture together? I have heard that older goats can be merciless on the little ones. I plan on waiting as long as I can to wether the young ones (Ive heard that it helps for the urinary calculi problems in the future) but will the young ones still being bucks be a problem with the rest of the older ones? At what age can I start to let the young ones tag along on walks and hikes? What about letting a doe tag along or a couple of millk does out to pasture with the group? will that change anything?
 

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I wouldn't introduce any kid younger than 3 months into a herd of full grown goats. I also prefer to have at least two kids of the same age, when I need to make that kind of introductions.

As for bucks with wethers: until rutting season begins it may be all ok but if you have some early maturing among the bucks you may also see some fighting starting already. What I wouldn't do is add a doe (or more) into the mix. Even if you don't end up with kids 5 months later (and won't know who's the father) you will have fighting and unrest in the herd.

Walks: depending how long the walks are, you can have them tag along at about age 12-16 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
once the bucklings are wetherd, would I still have to worry about introducing a couple does when they are all out to pasture?

That reminds me of another question actually; I have heard conflicting reports as to what age is best to wether the bucklings. I have heard that it is best to wait as long as possible to help prevent stones in late life. But I have heard that "waiting" means 2 months to some people and a year for others. So who is right?
 

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Goats of varying ages are Ok together if the younger goats have room to get out of the way like with free ranging herds. Problems arise in the barn or small pens where younger goats can get trapped in a corner and get seriously injured by a larger goat. I don't put young goats in with adult wethers until after age two for that reason. Besides, the feeding regimen of a goat under three is totally different than an adult wether so penning them separately makes it much easier to regulate for individual dietary requirements.

Castrating should be done after three months of age when possible.

Does can pack with the wethers with out much trouble. A doe in heat still causes a stir among the boys so they are best left home during that period.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So when you talk about different dietary requirements, what do you mean specifically? I have heard older wethers shouldnt have as much alfafa (can cause stones) from some people, but others have told me that is not true, or rather isnt a big enough deal to worry about. What if I primarily let my goats graze? beyond that I feed them a little barley and oats for a treat and I have some weedy alfalfa hay and some oat straw that I can mix if I need to keep them penned up for whatever reason. How different would I feed my young ones when they are weened of the bottle (right now they actually eat grass and nibble on weeds when we let them out to play with my boys, so Im actually not sure how much longer I would expect to bottle feed them)

As far as pens go, for now, I have seperate pens for night time security, so I am primarily wondering about whether or not I can let the young ones into the same pasture as the old ones during the day. I had heard from someone that as long as the little ones have a place they can escape to that the bigger goats cant go, then they should be fine. What has worked for everyone else?

As far as Does in Heat goes; Isnt that pretty much just in the fall that I would need to worry about that?
 

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JRT said:
So when you talk about different dietary requirements, what do you mean specifically? I have heard older wethers shouldnt have as much alfafa (can cause stones) from some people, but others have told me that is not true, or rather isnt a big enough deal to worry about. What if I primarily let my goats graze? beyond that I feed them a little barley and oats for a treat and I have some weedy alfalfa hay and some oat straw that I can mix if I need to keep them penned up for whatever reason. How different would I feed my young ones when they are weened of the bottle (right now they actually eat grass and nibble on weeds when we let them out to play with my boys, so Im actually not sure how much longer I would expect to bottle feed them)
Who ever told you urinary calculi ( urinary stones) wasn't a big deal hasn't been around very many wethers. It is a leading cause of death in mature pack goats and is mostly caused by an improper diet. Kids and younger goats up to three years old need proper nutrients to grow to their full potential size. How to achieve this in a balanced manner is the big question. Carolyn Eddy wrote an entire book on this very subject called "Diet for Wethers". Growing goats will easily survive on only pasture and grass type hay but may not reach their full potential. On the other hand, pasture and grass hay are perfect for goats older than three who should not be fed alfalfa or grain in my opinion. Ratios between phosphorous and calcium figure heavily into the diet to allow the goat to process them with less risk of developing stones. Here is a link to some dietary information in the "Feeding" Forum. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=107

JRT said:
As far as pens go, for now, I have seperate pens for night time security, so I am primarily wondering about whether or not I can let the young ones into the same pasture as the old ones during the day. I had heard from someone that as long as the little ones have a place they can escape to that the bigger goats cant go, then they should be fine. What has worked for everyone else?
A separate area is a good idea.

JRT said:
As far as Does in Heat goes; Isnt that pretty much just in the fall that I would need to worry about that?
For dairy breeds that is the case but some meat breeds can come into heat any time of the year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well it wasnt so much that they considered that Urinary Calculi wasnt a big deal, it was that they disagreed with it being the result of the older wethers eating alfalfa. Im not kidding when I say that for everyone that I talk to on this subject there seems to be at least some degree of variation in how they will or will not feed older wethers alfalfa. Some say none at all, some say they have to have some alfalfa in their diet to get the nutrition they need, especially in the winter, and some say that its somewhere inbetween.
 

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I understand what you are saying. Unfortunately I totally disagree with them. There are hundreds if not thousands of documented cases of UC which were the direct result of dietary intake. Sorting through the million and one opinions out there can be very confusing. There is no doubt that the added calcium in the alfalfa is not necessary for a mature wether and can cause calcium crystals to form in the bladder. Knowing that, why risk it?

The best advice is to learn as much as you can and make your own decisions. The book I mentioned is well worth the investment to help educate yourself on proper nutritional requirements based on university studies and not simply what I or any other goat owner might think is a good way to do it.
 
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