If you are new to goats, there are a few terms you may not be familiar with. Today we are going to talk about what is a wether goat. An important part of a goat herd that you will want to understand what it is and the role it plays.
How to raise dairy goats includes more than does in milk. You also will want to have wethers for any bucks you raise as well.
Adding livestock to your homestead can be a bit overwhelming. If you have never cared for pigs, sheep, or goats, you may feel lost as to all the information that is out there on how to raise them.
This is even true when it comes to the different terminology. Something that can, at times, feel like a different language. Let’s go over a few of the most common.
A “buck” is a male goat that has not been neutered. He is what we call “in tact” and his main purpose in a herd is to breed the female goatas.
A doe is a female goat and her main role is to have babies to grow the herd or to keep up milk production.
Kids are young goats that are not yet of breeding age.
#4. Bucklings or doelings
Bucklings and doelings are young male and female goats respectively.
A wether is a male goat that is neutered. The main purpose of a wethered goat is companionship for people, goats, or other animals.
What are the benefits of wethered goats?
A wethered goat is more docile than a buck that is intact. Since they do not have the hormones, they do not go into rut, eliminating the smell that many bucks have during that time.
Wethered goats are easier to handle and are great choices for pets or companions for other animals like horses.
Additionally, if you’re not interested in breeding goats, having a wether will prevent any accidental pregnancies.
Wethered goats are great to have as companion animals. In our herd, we have a wether name Peanut, and his job is to keep our buck, Fin, company during the off-season. When we are ready to start breeding, Peanut is put into temporary housing so he does not accidentally get hurt by our buck.
Why would he get hurt?
Well, let’s just say that bucks have a one-track mind when they are breeding and will push or head-butt any competitor, even if it is a wether and unable to breed at all.
What to watch for in wethered goats
Wethered goats, as with any goat, are susceptible to lice and worms. To keep these issues from occurring, keep their bedding clean and offer them fresh water daily. You can also incorporate a natural worming routine to keep parasites from getting out of hand.
Wethers are also at risk of developing urinary calculi a condition that if left untreated can become deadly to a goat.
What is Urinary Calculi?
Urinary calculi is when stones, usually comprised of phosphate salts, lodge in the urinary tract and prevent urination. This is a painful condition that can also be deadly if not caught or left untreated.
When a male goat is wethered, the hormones that cause urinary tract growth slow down significantly. This can cause an increased risk of urinary calculi.
To help deter urinary calculi in your goats, hold off castrating until the age of 2-3 months.
How to care for a wether goat
• Water is the most important part of raising healthy animals, and the same is true with wethers. Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available at all times.
• Feed a diet that is mainly good quality hay, such as alfalfa or Timothy grass.
• Housing does not need to be separate from the rest of the herd. Since your goat is wethered, he can stay in with the does year-round.
• Minerals are an important part of raising healthy goats. Provide free-choice goat mineral supplements that help prevent urinary calculi.
What should you feed your wether goat?
Wethers do not have the same nutritional needs as does or bucks, so it’s important to provide them with the appropriate feed to encourage their best health. High-quality grass hay or alfalfa, along with free choice minerals.
Grain is not only unnecessary for wethers it is not recommended as it can cause urinary stones that can lead to urinary calculi.
Wether goats can be a great addition to your homestead if you’re looking for a docile, low-maintenance option. By providing your wether with proper care and a balanced diet, you can ensure that he’ll stay healthy and happy for years to come.
Whether you’re new to homesteading or looking to add to your current livestock, consider adding a wether goat to your property.