Pickles was twelve weeks old yesterday and weighed in at 43 pounds.
Although "standard" practice is to wean goat kids at eight weeks, I figured the extra month of milk would do nothing but help Pickles. It's not like I was selling her off or anything, and we did have extra milk in the fridge, so it made sense to give her the extra nourishment. I want the matriarch of my future meat goat herd nice and healthy. And plump. Because plump girls rock. Right? Damn straight!
When I left the kids with Nettie a few years ago, she didn't wean them up until a few weeks before giving birth to her next set of kids. Not sure if it was detrimental to the unborn kids Nettie was carrying, but the birthing was fine as were her newborns. And I truly believe that those extra months the kids got made them healthier and larger.
Since Pickles is a bottle-baby, I didn't have to worry about separating her from her mom in order to wean her. I would simply decrease, then ultimately stop giving her a bottle. Simple. Yep.
Except that she screams at the top of her lungs when I go outside. Wait a second. She always screams at the top of her lungs when I go outside, wanting to be fed. I have no idea how she could have made it worse. But she did. It sounds like somebody is strangling her while she's bleating through a megaphone. And it drives me nuts. Not only is it bleating (or do only sheep bleat? what do they call goat noises???), but it reminds me of a spoiled-brat-kid screaming that she wants a cookie or something. I want to go out there and slap her. As if that would do anything.
At some point, I stopped upping Pickles milk intake at just over a half-gallon a day. I bet she would have gladly sucked down close to a gallon if I let her. So starting today, I'm only going to give her three bottles a day, which comes out to six cups of milk. Then after a few days, I'll only feed her a bottle in the morning and one before locking everyone up at night. Eventually I'll give her only one bottle a day, then quit all together. Not sure how long I'll drag it on.
Not sure how long I'll be able to take the screaming goat either.