Friday, September 21, 2012

Twelve Week Fattie

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.


  1. When I first got my girl goat she screamed so loud you would have thought I dropped a newborn off in the woods to die! Luckily she lost her voice after three days because it was unbearable! Good luck on weaning Pickles, it's awesome to get rid of an extra chore but feeding baby goats is fun and you miss them being babies ☺

  2. Luckily, they stop. Eventually. But you really need nerves of steel (and understanding neighbors) to get through the worst of it. My neighbors asked if I was torturing a baby...they were kidding, I think. It was only Sage. It's really amazing how much noise can come out of such a tiny mouth. Good luck with the weaning. It will be such a relief for you.

  3. You could also start thinning her milk down with water, and decreasing how much you give her each day, keep thinning and decreasing, then just give her some water and she may decide to wean herself.

  4. Ha, ha! Good luck. She reminds me of our outdoor cat who was a very neglected stray who took up with us. Even after two+ years of getting fed everyday, she still sits at our back door and screams bloody murder when she hears someone in the kitchen. It is SOOO annoying but you can't help but feel sorry for her.

  5. You have been such a good goat mama for Pickles but I'm not at all sure I could have done the bottle feeding as long (and as many times a day!) as you have. Let's hope in the future Pickles does magnificent things for you. You've done a lot for her!

    P.S. I like Tombstone Livestock's idea of gradually making her bottle all water and letting her decide, "Enough of that!" (Kids [human and animal] do like to feel they're getting their own way, ya know.)

  6. I didn't know goats would do that. I have had my share of both mama cows and babies bawling for a week when they are weaned though.

  7. HA, Ha, ha! The screaming NEVER stops. Once the goats have you trained they have gained the upper hoof. It never stops! Ever....