How To Tell The Age of Goats
The age of a goat can be estimated from its teeth. As with sheep, the permanent incisors of goats erupt at different times during their lifespan, and these times can vary between individual animals. A knowledge of these different time intervals provides the basis for estimating age.
As with all ruminant animals, goats only have front incisor teeth on the lower jaw, and goats get two sets of teeth during their life. The first, often called milk teeth, are replaced progressively from the centre by larger, permanent teeth. The central teeth erupt first as a pair, then the next pair, one each side of the central teeth until the animal has eight permanent teeth.
In the sheep industry, age is often described as milk tooth, two-tooth, four tooth, six-tooth or full mouth. This description assumes that people know the approximate age of animals when the various teeth erupt.When buying stock, a check of their teeth will give an idea of their age, and, as a result, their likely useful life. Age and thus teeth are also important in classifying carcases.
As animals become older their meat becomes progressively darker in colour and less tender. Within the full mouth category, animals are sometimes described as:
Dr Peter Holst and Mr Graham Denny made the observations to confirm the times of teeth eruption.
© 1982 N.S.W.Dept.Ag.