How do you care for your old goats?
my first pack string is getting old(er)

They are 11 resp. 12 years old now and I've seen during the winter some severe weight loss in all three of them.

They are still active although they have lost former high ranking positions to younger goats and despite feeding them a mixture of horse feed and sunflower seeds daily in addition to a mineral lick and hay ad lib they all show ribs and hip bones more than I like.

Need to find a vet willing to check their teeth without sedating them completely, worm count negative but will worm them nonetheless (tape worm included) next week.

But I keep worrying about the guys.

Any input is much appreciated.
Sabine from Germany
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This is a great subject. I dont have any old goats yet, but I'd love to hear any tips. In truth, goat packing is such a young hobby that most of us dont even have goats old enough to pack yet!
Well for the old does, we just retire em. They have served us well for 10+ years and now get to live out the rest of their years in peace with no hassles of raising babies, getting hauled to shows. They just knit and play solitary
Pack Goat Prospects For Sale.

S.E. Washington (Benton City)
Cuzco is also 12 years old and lost weight in the spring both last year and this. When it comes down to it, I'd rather see him a little thin than too fat because the extra weight is hard on his joints. He seems to keep weight just fine through the winter when I feed him a mash of alfalfa pellets soaked in water and topped with sweet feed and sunflower seeds. However, as February/March rolls around and green grass starts to peek through the snow he stops eating his mash. I guess it doesn't taste so good any more compared to the fresh green shoots. Unfortunately, there isn't enough grass that time of year to keep him in good weight so he gets thin until about May when the grass comes in fully and he's able to catch up.

I'm thinking if he's still with us next year I'll probably start giving him a weight builder supplement made for horses. If I start him on it in February it might help him get past the spring thinning spell. He still eats his grain this time of year, but he picks around the alfalfa mash, and if I try to mix it all together he won't touch any of it. In February I switched to straight alfalfa hay instead of grass or a mix. It's very leafy alfalfa which makes it easier for the old guy to chew without teeth. He can't manage stems of any kind these days. He got almost too fat on the alfalfa for the first month, but now as with the mash, he's leaving the hay, going for the spring shoots, and losing weight in the process. I just upped his grain a little bit in hopes of keeping him from getting any thinner. At his age, weight loss is a bigger issue than UC.

I just bought a big tub of powdered donuts on sale. They are one of Cuzco's absolute favorite treats, and since they make me very fat, perhaps they will help Cuzco put on a few pounds. Wink

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