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Ask the experts: how to wean a baby goat

PUBLISHED: 12:20 07 February 2018

Wrap tape around each of the teats on the nanny’'s udder (photo: Denise Ferguson)

Wrap tape around each of the teats on the nanny’'s udder (photo: Denise Ferguson)

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Expert answers to your questions. This time, how to wean kids from the mothers

Q) I have three dairy goats, two nannies and a nanny kid. The kid is still drinking from her mum (she is five months old) but I need to wean her as mum is a bit under weight and not really in good enough condition to go to the billy. Mum does try to kick the kid off but she is very persistent! I cannot separate her though otherwise she will be on her own. Any ideas?

A) Jack Smellie says: Weaning can be stressful for nannies and kids alike and if it has to be done on the same premises (as opposed to the kids being sold and going to a new home), it can be problematic as unhappy goats can make a lot of noise. Aside from the kid being unhappy if she was to be put on her own, if your nanny is underweight, then the stress of being separated from her kid won’t initially help that weight loss anyway. You could try separating mum and kid by putting a partition in your barn or shelter but this may not be ideal if your goats go in and out. Some people separate at night only so the kid cannot take milk at any time and this then encourages drying off, but I have a much easier, stress-free solution that I have used myself and which I know works (thanks to Denise Ferguson). Essentially, you wrap tape around each of the teats on the nanny’s udder, so preventing the kid from being able to suckle. It needs to be a medical tape that is highly adhesive but easy to peel off and should not be at all tight. The kid will obviously try to suckle but she won’t get any milk and so will stop trying. I left the tape on my nanny for just under three weeks. It worked a treat.

I should add that this method is best used as near to or after natural weaning as possible.

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