What does this picture say? Would you believe those teeth tell a tale? Well, they do.
Goats have eight incisors on their bottom jaw. With those eight teeth, we can generally determine how old the goat is. Just like humans lose teeth as they get older, so do goats, except they don’t have a goat tooth fairy. The picture above is of a goat that is over four years old. She has lost all her teeth and grown large ones. If a goat gets past eight years old, the teeth will look worn. The photo below is of Lulu, who is getting close to nine years old. You can see the start of wear on her teeth compared to the four year old goat in the first picture. There is more gaps and her teeth are narrower.
They will lose their first pair of teeth after turning one year old, and a pair each year after that. The first two teeth to go are the middle pair. This next goat lost her first set of teeth in October. She is already working on her second pair. They aren’t quite all the way in.
And this little guy hasn’t lost any yet:
His teeth are smaller and all the same size.
Why is this important?
Although we keep records of when our goats were born and know how old they are, sometimes we buy goats from sales that do not give us records. We can look at their teeth to see how old they are and whether or not they are too old to breed. We also have to know how old a goat is for showing purposes. We are not allowed to show goats over a year old except at the state fair. At many shows, officials will check the teeth of the goat to see if they are eligible or, when at the state fair, if they are in the right class. We have had to change classes at the state fair a few times when the goat was late losing their teeth or lost them early. Silly goats.
We’ve covered what different ages looks like. Now it is your turn to give it a try. How old do you think this goat is? Comment below with your answers.
Happy Farm Fact Filled Fridays!