|Kiko bucklings on the day they were weaned.|
I knew I was going to be busy most of the month; that's why I rounded up the goats and weaned the buck kids on May 27. I put them into a pasture full of grass, left instructions for them to be fed a half-pound of 16% goat feed each day. Some of these buck kids were only 10 weeks old, so I expected them to drop off some when they were pulled off their moms. I knew they would need some extra supplementation.
After the bucks were weaned, it was nearly two weeks before I had a chance to see them again. Of course they had lost that baby fat, but most were faring well in their new home. The shock came when I inspected the main herd of does. I had left the doe kids on their moms and expected them to be in much better shape than their male siblings. Surprisingly, the doelings were not in as good a shape as the bucklings.
I did spot checks for parasites or any signs of illness. Everyone seemed healthy, just on the thin side. The momma does were fat and slick, which was an odd contrast to the thin doe kids.
Later that day while watching the local weather report, the announcer mentioned that we were on our 20th day of above-90 degree temperatures -- an average of 10-15 degrees above normal. With this fact, along with a lack of rain for more than 2 weeks, I concluded that the excess heat was putting stress on the doe herd and had caused a severe drop in milk production.
I went out in the pasture and watched the goats. I didn't observe any kids nursing, although they were busy grazing alongside mom. The Deep South's high temperatures, along with our high humidity, is notorious among cattle producers for reducing milk production. The same is true for goats.
The little bucklings, who were on better pasture and extra daily supplement, out-performed their sisters who were with the moms. An unusual occurrence but one that I think I have figured out.