Monday, September 12, 2011

The joys of breeding goats

Here it is September, and we have no does bred. Well, last week 2 or 3 does got bred but of course, they are already sold to someone else. 
Typically we would have at least a good handful of does bred, and at least a month along in gestation. But we have none. The bucks did not come into rut until a few weeks ago, and does have been coming in very lightly, if at all. 
There are a few things it could be - 1) the very hot summer we had threw things off; or 2) the herd has some kind of deficiency. As a whole, the herd is in great condition, very healthy, coats are soft and slick, eyelids are good, their diet is the same as it has been for a few years now. 
So, I have been researching and there are 2 deficiencies I keep coming across that relate to reproductive health. That is Vitamin A and Zinc. Both play a key role in reproduction. Another thought would be selenium deficiency, their mineral is very high in it, though they could need more I suppose.

BUT, if the herd is deficient, how did they get deficient and why would they be deficient? Right now I do not have the answer to that. Dry does and bucks get fed high quality green alfalfa hay and have access to browse and forage. Milkers get that same diet, except with 2-3 lbs (total) of 14% grain on the milk stand. They also get Onyx Cattle Mineral, and get copper bolused every 3-5 months.
This morning we put Apple Cider Vinegar in their waters to help bring them into heat. Maybe it's just a fluke and they'll all come in at once soon here. . . I hope.

I plan to keep you all updated.


p.s. - any input would be very welcomed.


Kris said...

I have never thought about this before becuase I always breed mine in either Oct. or Nov. and they always get pregnant. I just this year bought 2 bucks for my small herd. I say small but should say very small. I have 1 pure Lamancha and her doe kid which has a little Nubian. And a mixed breed doeling and then a Nubian doe. So I got a Nubian buck and a Lamancha buck. One for each. I will not breed the littles this year. They will have to wait. But I will not let the bucks and does together til about the middle of Oct. this year. This is the first time I have ever had my own bucks. They STINK! I don't know how long I will be able to keep them. They are just so nasty.

When I read your post, I thought of my friend up the road. he bought a doeling from me about 2 1/2 years ago. Taht doe has never kidded. He also has another doe that has kidded once before he got her and she has not kidded since. He has used 3 different bucks at different times of the year. And no kids. They are pretty fat too. He feeds them too much in my opinion for dry does. But I will tell him about the ACV. And I will take my Lamancha buck up there just to see what's going on. He has them in a big pasture so maybe the bucks couldn't catch them?

And I had my doelings cast removed yesterday. It was on 5 weeks. The vet said it has formed a callous but without xrays she really couldn't say. She is walking carefully since. I hope it is healed. How is your doe so far?

Good Goats said...

Out of the many many goats we've had here, we only had 1 doe that was truly sterile. She would come in to heat on a normal 18-21 day cycle, we would breed her (and we tried MANY bucks), and she'd come back into heat. This went on for a few years. She was a very nice doe who I had birthed and raised, and when she was finally 3 years old, I was done trying. She became soup - IMO, it was the best thing for her, to die humanely. I had no use for her here, and sold elsewhere, who knows how she would be treated and would have ended up butchered anyway.


Our doe with the broken leg is doing fine so far. It's been 2 wks today, I think I'll take the splint off in a few days and recast it, just to check it.

Farmer Jess said...

Our bucks don't smell NEARLY like they normally do, and our does just started showing heats in late November and early December. We're running very late, and so is the sheep farm just down the road from us here in NC. I think the weather has really altered our normal breeding calendar. It's mid December, and now I've got a ton of girls coming into heat.

We usually end up Copper and Selenium defficient around here, and I've been treating more frequently because I was worried the lack of buck rut and doe heat was possibly a symptom of our rotten Se soils. I think we were deficient, but I also know others in my area are having a really strange breeding season.

We also have had only one doe that was sterile. I bought her as a 1 year old and bred her for 5 years after that. Even let her live with a buck and nothing ever worked. She'd come back into heat. She was bossy and pushy, and mean to the other goats, but the strongest, healthiest, and most work-resistant goat I've ever had. I desperately wanted kids from her, but finally we ate her and guess what . . . she WAS pregnant but was in the process of reabsorbing the fetus. She was sort of tough, being as old as she was but made great BBQ.

Good Goats said...

Farmer Jess-

Wow, that is very interesting. I hope things turn around for you and everyone in your area and you can get your does bred.

We finally have pretty much all our does bred, just have I think 4 open does needing bred, but that is not too bad considering we have about 50 already settled. And for that, I am VERY thankful.

I am thinking that it must be the weird weather we are having this year that is messing with their reproduction cycles. Here in Oklahoma, normally by now it always freezes at night and we've had at least some snow or an ice storm. This year, none of that yet. During the day it's been in the 50's and some nights it's not even freezing. That is very strange and I think is messing with the animals. I just hope they all get through it okay - which I think they will.

But it will costs us farmers some. We may end up running out of does in milk this winter due to our doe's being due SO much later than usual, which really hits hard. But... oh well.

That is very strange about your doe. I guess she could only carry a pregnancy for a certain amount of time? Odd.

Thanks for commenting,