Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Recently I was asked if I'd sell a male Nigerian Dwarf Kid as a wether - the kids were about 2 months old. I told the people we sell wethers at 5 to 5 1/2 months of age.
They questioned my reasoning since another breeder had sold them a neutered buck at 2 months of age as a pet. That kid had been banded. I responded that sometimes breeders may have no other choice but to castrate them earlier than we do.
We strive to always do what is in the best interest of our animals. Sometimes that is detrimental to our finances and may be inconvenient for us but I believe it is the right decision for us and what is right for the animal.
While it is certainly less expensive as well as less traumatic to castrate a kid when he is 4 to 10 weeks old through banding him, doing so makes him a lot more susceptible to urinary calculi or urea calculi.
Urea Calculi occurs because their urethra, the tube that carries urine from their bladder to their penis opening to urinate, does not develop to its full size and is easily plugged up by formations of crystals if under developed.
Under developed urinary tracts are smaller/thinner therefor making their urinary tract unable to pass any crystallized stones through their urine. This causes their bladder to fill and eventually burst causing a horribly painful death for the goat.
Castration before a buckling is fully developed stops the normal growth of the urethra and production of testosterone which halts solid particles the ability to pass through their urethra which greatly increases the risk of Urea Calculi in goats.
When it comes to castrating goat kids, in order to help prevent the risk of urinary tract obstruction or urinary calculi, the goat kids should be at least 4 1/2 or 5 1/2 months of age which allows for development of their urinary tract and ensures they are fully functional sexually before they are castrated.
At 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 months old, castration should be done by a veterinarian and under sedation.
The recovery time for the procedure is another two weeks so we do not sell any wethers before they are a minimum of 5 1/2 months of age which is quite a bit older than a castrated 4 week to 8 week old kid.
Blockages in the urinary tract can occur from feeding diets that are not balanced in calcium and phosphorus at a 2:1 ratio, a diet with out enough or no hay, diets that contain high amounts of grain and feed that does not contain ammonia chloride, a diet too high in minerals or where a goat does not consume enough water to keep their bladder functioning and flushed. Attention should be paid to how a goat is urinating without straining and to make certain that there is no blood in the urine.
For these reasons we do not sell goats that are wethered/fixed before they are 5 to 5 1/2 months old and are castrated by our veterinarian under anesthesia.
We want to give our Nigerian Dwarf Kids, wethered or not, the best start we can to help ensure a long, healthy life for the goat and provide healthy, long-lasting goat buddies for their new family.