It’s That Time of Year
It’s that time of year to start preparing our goats for breeding season. We like to start by bathing and body clipping with focus around the tail area and back legs. We will also vaccinate and worm them.
One of the most important preparations is to vaccinate animals against diseases.
Establishing a good vaccination schedule is vital to protecting your goats against infectious diseases. When you begin a vaccination program remember many vaccines require an initial dose with a booster 14-21 days later to initiate an adequate immune response. Over time, the vaccines protective antibodies provided by the initial immunizations will start to decline, with annual and bi-annual booster vaccinations will aid in bringing immunity back to adequate levels and help with the potential for illness.
What months do goats breed?
Most breeding occurs in late summer through early winter (August to January). Goats have an 18-21 day estrus cycle or “season.” The doe’s “season” lasts from a few hours to two or three days. The gestation period is 150 days or five months. With full-size goat breeds it’s a general rule to wait and breed does at 8 months (or 80 lbs.) We prefer to wait till around 1 year to 1 1/2 years old before breeding our Does. Also we like to wait till Bucks are a year old before starting to breed, at 6 months of age one buck can breed up to 10 does, and at 1 year can breed up to 30 Does.
Do Boer goats breed year round?
Boer goats can breed year-round, although they do not breed well during the off-season (April to July). The old saying goes “The shorter the days, the stronger the heats.” A young doeling will begin to come into heat at about 4 months old. A Does average heat cycle is every 21 days, but can range from 18 to 25 days. The doe will remain in heat for up to 36 hours.
Most does will tell you when they are in heat. They will stand by the fence nearest to the buck, flag their tails, stare at him, and call out. However every doe can act different, some can also have a large amount of vaginal discharge when they are in heat, some will butt heads and mount other Does. Many times it’s the doe that is being mounted by the other does that is the one in heat, not the one doing the mounting as one would think.
If you think a Doe is in heat you can push down on her butt just above the tail head, and she stands still or even flags or wags her tail, you know there is a good chance she is in heat. This is called oddly enough a “Standing heat”. Usually a Doe that is not in heat will tuck her hips under and walk off, many times does will not show any signs they are in heat, and the only way to catch them is to put them in with the buck and let him figure it out on his own.
When to Breed
“When do I breed my does?” You should really ask yourself when do you want to kid? I know, you just want to breed your does, but remember knowing when your Does are going to kid will help you with making a marketing plan.
When to kid is a more complicated question than most people realize. The gestation period for a goat is 145 to 155 days, so figure 150 days, or 5 months. There are a few things to keep in mind when setting a planned time:
- What will the weather be like in my area when it is time for kids to be born?
- How many Does can I comfortably handle kidding out at the same time?
- Should I group kidding closer together, or spread them out?
- What other commitments will I have going at that time?
- Can I adjust mine and my Family’s schedule to kidding out goats at that time?
In our area, it is best to starting breeding in September to Kid out in February. Why? Because, where we live we have extremely hot summers, so this way kids can be up and going, eating on their own, and off their moms by the time the heat of summer hits. It just makes it so much easier on the does to have their kids off their side. We try to space out breeding days so that not all our Does kid on the same day.
How to Manage Breeding
For our Market goats we like to use the Pasture breeding method. This is probably the most common way to get the job done in a meat herd. To pasture breed you put the buck out with the does during the month that you want them bred, and expect that he will get the job done and he generally does. However, unless you put a marking harness on him you will not know when, or if, your does are bred for sure. A Marking harness is a nylon or leather harness that has a place for crayon block that goes between the buck’s front legs and chest area so when he mounts a doe it will leave a mark on her back or butt. Sometimes with younger bucks in a pasture breeding situation will expend all his attention on one doe by breeding her over and over. Then, when another doe comes into heat, he doesn’t have anything left for her. That is why it is a good idea to leave your does in with a buck for at least 40 days, that’s long enough for at least two heat cycles and this gives the buck another shot if he missed one the first time around.
The other method we use for our Show or Wether does that need to Kidd at a specific time, is what we call “Planned breeding”. Planned breeding is where you keep a Doe or a few does that you know will come into heat the same time by keeping record of observed heats or have used a CIDR (CIDR is a temporary implant that will bring a Doe into heat) with a Buck in a smaller area so that they can be observed closer than in an open pasture breeding situation.
Getting ready for Kidding, and thereafter
Prepare for the arrival of a large number of kids well before the time. Shelter is important during the kidding season and nutritious feed or grazing should be supplied.
Around five to seven days before kidding, put pregnant does into smaller grazing pens nearer to the homestead.
When a doe has kidded, place her in a kidding pen for three to five days to bond with her kid and start feeding it quickly. The kid should ingest colostrum within an hour after birth to ensure survival and growth.
If a doe kids with difficulty, the kid is yellow and weighs less than around 4 lbs. her milk production is low, her kid mortality is high and her colostrum is thick and sticky, the doe has a through-flow protein problem.
After they have bonded for three to five days in a kidding pen, move the doe and kid to a small pen. Wean male kids from three months on wards and female kids from between three and four months. Weaning is essential as the doe must regain condition in preparation for the next cycle.
Other Tailspin Farms Blog Post
- Tailspin Farms Goat Management Binder
- 2019 Guadalupe County Fair & Rodeo
- Having The Right Tools
- Why Goats
- Making the Goat Herd Profitable
- Bottle Feeding Baby Goats
- Bottle Babies “Goats”
- New Chute For Our Goats
- New Feeder
- TSF New Milking Parlor
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Margarita & Stace