Monday, June 15, 2009

GOATUCATION - How Long Will it be Until Kevin is Full Grown?

Today is my very first Goatucation post! I asked for questions to start off and Daisy the Curly Cat was the quickest on the draw so today I will answer her query: How long will it be until Kevin is full grown. I will be using photos of Michael the goat to illustrate because he IS full grown.

A little goatling gets up and walks within minutes after he or she is born. A good nanny goat is quick to nudge the goatling and lick it off and get it to drink the rich milk with colostrum in it from her udder. Colostrum is the first milk a doe produces after kidding and it is full of rich nutrients a kid needs to grow big and strong. This is Michael just after he was born

He was up and walking a few minutes later. His sister Sarah was born not too much later. This is our first family photo. It was taken about an hour after both kids were born. That is Michael facing the camera and Sarah with her little butt to the camera. Aren't they cute?

Goatlings grow very quickly and little bucklings are capable of impregnating does when they are as young as 12 weeks old. Does need and should be older before they get pregnant for their health and the health of the kids. (Someone asked about how old Kevin would be before he had any kids. Kevin has been wethered which means he won't be having any kids. It is just like when you take your cat to be neutered. It hurt him a little for about an hour but then he was right back to his hopping.)

So at about 3 months old you have to be sure to separate your bucklings from your doelings if you haven't done it already.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, goatlings get weaned from their mothers at about two months of age. If they are nursing; some goatlings are bottle fed after the first week with their nannies. They all need to get that rich colostrum. That is where Kevin is now. Although he hasn't quite been weaned yet due to the male person being so busy. I don't mind so much as I like having him around me....

Here is what Michael looked like at about 2 months. Michael was a bottle fed baby and I think this is why he is so attached to the publicist.

From this point on the kids eat hay, green grass, weeds and grain just like we big goats do. It takes them a little bit to appreciate treats like apples and carrots but at about a year old they figure out how good they can be. Here is Michael at about a year...

At this point he has reached his full size and while his horns are still growing his body is not.

A doe can have kids starting at around 8 months to a year. Whereas I mentioned before the buck is ready much earlier. It does make things, uhm, easier if the two animals are of the same size. Height wise, you know?

Now Michael is just about two years old and in the full glory of his "teenage" years. We Nigerian dwarf goats have a lifespan of around 12 - 15 years.

So I guess to answer Daisy's question Kevin will be his full size at about a year old. By then he will be as big as he is going to get.

I hope you liked this first Goatucation post. I have the question for the second post...but keep the questions coming!


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