Old Does

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This question isn't critical at the moment since both of my does are fairly young, but what do you do with old does that are no longer productive. I have a terribly soft heart and don't feel comfortable turning an animal that has fed my family and myself for years over to a dealer. I may be wrong, but I doubt the meat of an old doe would be worth the cost of butchering, and I might have a tough time with that also, although less so. Do you try to sell old does? Do you just put them down and bury them? I guess I'm taking a sort of macabre poll! What do you do with old friends that need to be retired? I am in a somewhat unique and undesirable position since I can only own 2 goats here according to my zoning regulations, so keeping non-productive goats is not an option.

-- Sheryl in Me (radams@sacoriver.net), July 23, 2001


In your shoes, I would either: butcher them humanely (Haven't eaten an old doe myself but know people who do.), put them down and bury them, or VERY carefully find them a pet home, making sure that the new owners were willing to keep her till she died and were either knowledgeable about goat care or willing to be educated. I would be extremely cautious in locating a new home, would hate to have a kind old doe mistreated after years of serving me, but there are possibly people who would provide a good pet home, so I would try that before the other options. Do take into consideration that some old does would be distressed at leaving familiar surroundings, and also they should not be alone but need a compatible companion. In some cases, putting them down would be the kinder thing to do.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), July 23, 2001.

With a good home I would sell a 6 to about and 8 year old, to a knowledgeable goat person, certainly not a newbie. Actually I think that most well taken care of, single owner 6 and 7 year olds are actually in their prime. I don't sell older does, if they are still living here by that time, they have certainly earned their keep, probably both in the show ring and in showable, sellable kids. Once a doe is no longer able to be bred, this is when I think they become unproductive, Poptart is 11 kidded with twins this last December and will be bred this year again, she was not asked to milk since she is a very good milker and strips off her extra fat quickly, something at 11 she couldn't afford to do. She looks old, is down on her rear pasterns but is still loving and sweet to me and the BOSS of the barn. When we do put down our older does we have them butchered, ground into sausage, the thought of my girls rotting underground is way to much for me to handle! We have had does kidding healthy kids at 12 and 13 years. I simply won't keep around a doe I have to help get up etc. at that point you are keeping them around for you and not them. With CAE and CL information, that we didn't have years back, your goats should be healthy and productive for a long period of time, 9 and 10 used to be old, mostly because of the arthritis from CAE. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), July 23, 2001.

Well, I seem to have the neon sucker plastered on my forehead for lowly animals....I think I would try to find a really good home and if not, I would keep the girl until she wasn't comfortable. I don't think it's truly humane to keep an elderly animal alive just because it's going to be hard on you to let them go. When their quality of life is affected, not just slow getting up, but where they regularly have to be lifted up, I think it's time.

I think the advice to find a home for them where they will be kept until they are really really old, when they are six or seven might be the ticket for your situation. That way the person who gets them gets lots out of them as well, and will have a strong bond by the time become truly elderly. I'm glad I don't have that restriction....best of luck to you!

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), July 24, 2001.

I am facing that question .I have a doe who only has 1 working udder ,she will not be able to be bred much longer .I dont really want to keep an animal for years that doesnt pull it's own weight .I like her alot so I am not sure what I will do .

-- Patty {NY State} (fodfarms@slic.com), July 24, 2001.

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