It is weaning time for the kids, and you know what that means! MILK!!! We hope to soon have more milk than we can use, so we will have some to sell. We will also be making goat milk soaps, and lotions out of the excess. Stay tuned for new products!
The kids are spending longer, and longer sections of time away from their mothers. The nannies are more upset about it than the kids. The kids enjoy climbing the tree in our yard. Since the kids are still small and we have large predators on the ground and in the air here in Montana, we wean our goats in a couple of steps.
We start with removing the kids for a few hours a day and we put them in the backyard close to the house with our large guard dog, Dozer. He loves the goats, until they decide to jump on him then he grumps off. This process helps teach the kids to lead with the halters; and provides them with a stress free area to play, eat hay, and mess around but keeps their mothers visible. Dozer does an amazing job keeping the eagles, and other predator's from snacking on our little munchkins. This continues for 4 to 7 days.
Next we start moving the kids into the neighboring pen from their mothers. In this pasture we have two "surrogate mothers". Soup and Sandwich are the sweetest, kindest wethers you have every met. A wether is a fixed goat. We use the banding techniques to fix our male goats. These two love the baby goats and play with them almost nonstop. This part of the weaning process is important for predator protection, and for warmth. The baby goats are very hearty, but this is Montana, so we still have some cold days and nights ahead. By placing the kids with the older wethers they can all cuddle up on cold days and stay warm. The first night away from the nannies, the kids will not want to sleep in the new, unfamiliar barn so we will need to shut them in with the wethers. This is very normal, they will adjust after a few days.
Once the kids have been with the wethers for 3 to 4 weeks we will rotate all the goats to a new pasture and the wethers, nannies, and weaned kids will all enjoy being together on the new spring vegetation. Spring is upon us! We are looking forward to warmer weather!