Goat Teeth

Is it possible to know the age of a goat if you have no record? Do goats have upper teeth? If not, how do they eat without them? Well, these are some of the most common questions that people have about goats. Below you will learn some interesting facts about goats, including teeth diseases, and how to approximate their age by just assessing their teeth and horns. Simply put, you will learn everything you need to know about goats’ teeth.

Do Goats Have Upper Teeth?

Most mammals have both top and lower teeth. After all, the dental formula allows every animal to bite, tear, and chew food. What about the goat? Surprisingly, goats do not have top teeth. When you look at a goat keenly, you will only see the lower teeth and nothing on the upper jaw. This strange appearance can leave you wondering how they manage to eat tons of herbs within a short time. Of course, the imbalance does not, in any way, prevent goats from doing what they do best. 

The molars enable them to chew and maintain their ruminant lifestyle. Front teeth are usually incisors that help carnivores to tear meat apart, and goats are not carnivores. A goat’s mouth does not have the top front teeth. Interestingly, they have lower front teeth which they use for foraging and tearing off rough fibers. 

How Do Goats Eat Without Upper Teeth?

While you may wonder why on earth an animal could be without two sets of teeth, keep in mind that everything has a purpose. For goats, the top teeth are what silent letters are to words – useless! Goat teeth are for grinding all kinds of herbs they come across. The lower jaw has eight incisors for biting off and tearing food. You will also find 24 molars on the lower jaw; teeth goats use to chew and grind leaves.

The top jaw, however, does not have even a single tooth. Instead, the jaw has a rough pad known as the dental pad. Goats use dental pads together with their lower incisors to rip food with ease.

Can a Goat Bite?

Generally, goats are harmless creatures that only retaliate when you irritate them. If that happens, your cute friend may end up giving you a pretty rough nibble! A goat is also likely to bite you when you continually hold its hands tightly – you could see a cut or feel a sharp pain. Other times, they can accidentally squash your fingers when you try to feed them with bare hands. 

How to Estimate a Goat Age by Looking at Its Teeth

There are many reasons why you might want to know the age of your goat. First off, you need to remain on course as far as its feeding is concerned. Secondly, you may want to accurately factor in individual animal requirements with comfort, breeding, and activity in mind. If you are looking to breed your goats, you want to be sure they meet the physical requirements during expectancy and nursing. 

Here is how to tell a goat age using its teeth.

  • Deciduous (baby) teeth. Usually, this type of teeth develops in pairs every week, which should help you estimate a goat age as follows:1st and 2nd pair : 0 to 2 weeks old

3rd pair: 2 to 3 weeks old

4th pair : 3 to 4 weeks old

Further spreading: 3 to 9 months old

Wearing down: 12 months old

Weared teeth mark the beginning of the development of adult teeth.

  • Adult teeth. At around 12 months, a goat starts to grow permanent teeth, with the first pair of middle incisors taking the lead. The second pair grows when the goat is around two years of age, followed by the third pair at three. As soon as your animal is four years old, you will notice the growth of the outer teeth. 

How do you spot adult teeth?

Adult goat’s teeth are visibly wider and have a different color when compared to baby teeth. When you look keenly, the remaining baby teeth should be considerably weary at around 3 to 4 years. Below is an estimation of a goat’s age from when adult teeth erupt.

  • First pair (middle): 1 to 1 ½ years old
  • Second pair: 1 ½ to 2 years old
  • Third pair: 2 ½ to 3 years old
  • Fourth pair: 3 ½ to 4 years old
  • Weary teeth: 4 years and above
  • Teeth start to spread: 5 years old
  • Lost/broken teeth: 6 years+

Note:  Goats grow continuously during the first five years, so signs of wear may be entirely dependent on the individual circumstances of your goat. The presence of signs notwithstanding, your animal may be older or younger than you are expecting.

Goat Teeth: Diseases and Jaw Problems

Dental problems can affect any goat regardless of its age. As such, make an effort to check on your goat’s teeth regularly. Some of the common tooth problems in goats include:

Tooth Loss: Results from periodontal disease or fractures. Excess body weight can even worsen the situation, which can even cause lameness. In case this happens, have your vet administer non-steroidal pain-relief drugs.

Wearing of teeth. When the grazing ground gradually eats away a goat’s teeth, they become short. However, this is a problem common in older goats.

Worn out cheek teeth. If you notice uneven worn-out teeth, it is wise to have your goat’s cheek teeth rasped by a vet. Other signs of worn-out cheek teeth include overgrown cheek teeth edges, green stains in and around the mouth, and inability to hold feed when chewing.

Abnormal jaw size. Some goats are born with extremely short or long jaws, a condition that affects their ability to chew or graze. 

To this end, you already know a few things about goat teeth – why goats don’t have top teeth, how they cope with it, how to estimate age by looking at the teeth, and goat teeth diseases. With all this information in mind, you’ll likely be able to take great care of your goat and its teeth, won’t you?