When searching for goats to bring home, you may notice that you can choose from a doe, buck or a wether. A doe being your girl goat option, a buck is your breeding boy but what is a wether goat?
You really should investigate what a wether goat is and why you may want one on your homestead or farm. We currently have a sweet Nigerian Dwarf wether that is our 6-year-old son’s pet. I personally have no bad things to say about any of the wethers we have had over the years.
What you will find here:
- What is a Wether Goat?
- When and How to Wether a Goat.
- Why Wether a Goat?
- What is a Wether Goat Used For?
- Shelter and Food Requirements
What is a Wether Goat?
A wether goat is a male that has been castrated and can no longer reproduce. These boy goats are usually castrated before they reach breeding age.
When and How to Wether a Goat?
It is recommended that male goats be castrated at 10 to 12 weeks old, to let the urethra grow to a larger size. At 12 weeks the buckling will go through the castration process known as banding. This is when an elastrator (banding tool) is used to place a band around the top of the scrotum and testicles on a male goat. Banding is a bloodless procedure that cuts off the circulation to the testicles causing them to stop developing and fall off.
Why Wether a Goat?
- Goat Breeders will castrate bucklings that they feel are not suitable to pass on genetics for the breed. This could include bad genes that have been inherited and poor conformation.
- Some 4-h projects require the male goats to be wethered for participation.
- Wethers do not rut like bucks, they do not smell and will not pee all over.
- A wethers personality and temperament tend to be more docile. There personality will stay consistent while in the company of other goats and people.
- A wether is no longer able to reproduce and can not be part of a breeding program, this is beneficial because breeding stock can be a big investment. Wethers usually can be found for cheaper prices if you decide to purchase one.
What is a Wether Goat Used For?
Once a goat is wethered becoming part of a breeding program is no longer an option. Don’t worry there are many different things one can do with a wether.
Wether goats are great for:
- Pets – Wether goats lose the instinct to rut, meaning no pee smell and no aggressive behavior like a rutting buck. Without out breeding distractions this tends to make them the ideal choice for pets.
- Companion Animals – goats are herd animals and appreciate one another’s company, wethers are no longer able to reproduce so they can be housed with either does or bucks as companions. In some cases, they are even great companions to other species of animals around the same size.
- Brush Clearing and Lawn Maintenance – Goats are grazing and foraging animals that can help with your yard needs. With no breeding, milking, or kidding responsibilities, these guys can be kept in different areas for extended periods of time. They will clear unwanted brush or mow your lawn while fertilizing the space they are in.
- Cart Pulling – Wethers may not fill out in size like a buck, but that does not mean they are small. Their size and temperament make for great cart pullers. There larger body allows them to be hooked up solo, but their calm temperament make them great for hooking them up as cart pulling team with other goats as well.
- Pack Animals – Goats are naturally sure footed and go on different terrains. Wethers are great for using as pack animals, they have the size to carry packs without the unpredictable temperament of a buck.
- Meat – wethers are the steers (castrated male cow) of the goat species. It is not necessary to wether a goat to use them for meat, but some stock yards require it. You will need to check within your area. If you plan on using your goat for a 4H market project, some will require that only wether goats can be sold for meat through the 4 -h program.
- Fiber – this purpose is for a specific breed of wether, the Angora Goat. These goats produce a wool like hair called fiber that can be sheared of the goat to make yarn. Wethers may not be a to be used for breeding stock to continue the fiber line, but they can be kept collecting fiber. (More About Fiber Goats)
Shelter and Food Requirements
Wether goats do not need a special shelter just somewhere to get out of the elements. They are herd animals and should be housed with another goat. Having others around creates a less stressful environment for your goat.
Wether Goats are grazing animals and will require free choice pasture or hay, the hay should be a good quality grass hay with no alfalfa. By not feeding the alfalfa to your wether you are reducing the amount of calcium they are receiving, this is important to help prevent urinary calculi (Blockage common in wether goats). Free choice loose minerals and baking soda should also be always available to your goat. There water should be changed out daily to always keep their water clean and free of debris.
Great Addition With Only Benefits!
Wether Goats are a great addition to any homestead or farm. They are less expensive to buy and can be used for many different things without the aggressive rutting behavior. Wethers make excellent companion animals for your other goats and as a pet to you. If starting a breeding program is not important to you right now, then owning wether goats will only be a benefit to you and your country life.