How to Determine the Age of Your Goat

April 18, 2012

Determining the age of a goat is easy to do for the first few years of its life. The procedure is called toothing a goat.

A goat has no teeth in the upper front of its mouth, but it has eight teeth in the lower front. The size and condition of these eight teeth is the best gauge to determine the goat's age.

A goat is born with eight baby teeth in the lower front gum. All eight teeth are similarly small sized. When the goat approaches a year of age, give or take a few months, the two center front baby teeth are replaced by two permanent teeth.

Therefore, a goat with only two permanent teeth is called a two-toother and is considered at least one year old.

The same procedure occurs again as the goat approaches two years of age. The next two baby teeth, one on each side of the two permanent teeth, are replaced by two more permanent teeth.

This goat is called a four-toother and is two years of age. A goat who is between one year of age and two years old is called coming two's.

At three years of age, the third set of two teeth, one on each side of the permanent teeth, is replaced by permanent teeth, and this goat is now a six-toother.

Soon it will be coming three's, age-wise. And the last two baby teeth become permanent teeth as the goat approaches four years of age, hence the animal is an eight-toother.

From age four onward, the process for determining the goat's age becomes less precise and an exact age is difficult to determine. As the goat grows older, the teeth begin to buck out and spread.

By the time the goat is ten years old, the teeth are generally pretty worn . . . . depending upon what the goat has been fed or how tough its forage has been or whatever injuries the goat may have sustained to its mouth during its lifetime.

One year old = two permanent teeth (two-toother)
Two years old = four permanent teeth (four-toother)
Three years old = six permanent teeth (six-toother)
Four years old = eight permanent teeth (eight-toother)
Older than four years of age is pretty much a guess.

By the way, don't assume that because a goat has no teeth in the upper front gum that there are no grinding teeth in the upper jaw. A goat has some ferocious grinding teeth in both upper and lower jaws. Stick your fingers in there and that goat will make mincemeat of them!

By Suzanne Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch.
These articles have previously been published in Goat Rancher Magazine.
Please Read This Notice!
All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.


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