It seems like just yesterday we were waiting the arrival of this springs kids, now they are almost grown and ready to breed themselves. To prepare for breeding season a month before, we copper boules, give BoSe and just make sure everyone is generally healthy. We also worm because they will not be able to have some wormers while they are pregnant. You can also do something called "flushing" the does, they all get a grain increase for two moths before breeding. This causes there eggs to "flush" and will help them to have more kids, hopefully! Be careful not to over feed because you don't want the does to be overweight as this can cause problems breeding.
There are several methods for breeding and I cannot take the time to cover them all so I will just cover the main few that are most commonly used.
Pen Breeding - Each buck will have his own pen with the does he is going to breed. They will stay with the buck for about 5-8 days then will go back into there respective pens, then you pregnancy test 30 days out and re-breed any stragglers by hand. Hopefully the buck will bring the does into heat during that time and they will all get bred and your kiddings will be pretty close together. The only problem with this method is you will have a small range for the does due dates and you may not know exactly when she is due.
Hand Breeding - (This is the method we use) When a doe shows signs heat you take her to the buck and let him breed her 3-4 times then return both to their own pens, most of the time the doe will take the first time (if she is in standing heat) and you will have a exact breeding/kidding date. Please make sure you right it down the instant the doe gets bred or you will forget and be trying to figure out her due date 5 months later.
Pasture Breeding - Putting the does with the buck/s you are breeding them to in there own pens and leaving them together for 2-3 months. This is a very risky method of breeding as you do not know the does due dates so will not know when to be there and if the doe has gone past her due date. (Now the exception to this is if you have all mature does that never have kidding problems so you are not worried about being there when they kid then this would be the easiest method of breeding for you.)
Running of the bucks - (Sorry I couldn't resist ;) Some people will let a buck run with there does year round and let them breed anytime, mostly meat goat breeders do this because they are not milking the does and want kids twice a year. I do not recommend this for dairy breeders as the bucks stink (As you will find if you own or ever meet a buck) and the smell will get all over you, the does and in the milk. I know nasty. Again everyone should do what is best for there herd so if you are not milking and don't care when your does kid then keeping the buck with the does may be best for you.
Many people choose not to have there own buck for many reasons, if you have fewer than 4-5 does I do not recommend having your own buck (Unless there are no breeders near by with bucks that you can breed your does to) because the cost of keeping and feeding him all year just to breed the does once is not worth it until you have a larger herd. If you do not have your own buck there are several options for breeding your does. Although if you only have 2 does you may still want to have your own buck, to breed your does you have to be able to tell when they are in heat and take them to the buck, often times they will not go into heat at the same time so you will have to make at least two trips, more if they do not take the first time. And of course whenever you transport a goat it causes stress which can lead to illness. Again you have to decided what is best for your situation and herd.
Driveway breeding - Very much the same as hand breeding with the exception that you do not own the buck. Driveway breeding is simply taking the doe when she is in heat to the buck, letting them breed several times and taking the doe home. Most of the time they will take but if they do not most breeders will let you bring the doe back until she settles (I would discuss this with the breeder ahead of time so there are no surprises or hard feelings)
Leasing/Borrowing a buck - If you don't want to bother with having a buck year round you could lease a buck for a month or so until your does are bred. Most breeders will have a simple contract for you to sign that states that you are responsible for the buck if anything should happen to him while in your care, this will vary according to breeders so just ask if you are looking to lease a buck. If you have trouble telling when your does are going into heat then this is probably the best method for you. (Other than a buck rag but that is for another post)
As you can see there are many different ways and methods for breeding, no one is better than all the others, just do what works for you and is best for your herd and watch the kids roll in. ;)
Birthing kit supply list - Flash light (you will need this at some time or another if the doe decides to kid at night or you need to see in the bubble to see if the kid is positioning right)
Gardening mat (the ones you get that are foam to kneel on while helping the doe, trust me your knees will thank you)
Rubber Gloves (Sterile for going in the doe to check the position of kid/kids) I have regular ones (from Wal-Mart)
OB gloves (shoulder length for really “going in” you can get those at Tractor Supply. Most of the time you will only need to stick in one or two fingers to feel the kid but if the doe is in labor (hard pushing for more than 20-30 min) you need to go in to see what is holding things up.)
Lubricant (I get this at Wal-Mart, you will need it if you go in, trust me)
Towels (bath size and hand towels for catching the kids and drying)
Paper towels (can be used to dry the kids instead of hand towels, I use whichever I have handy)
Scissors (for cutting babies cord if it is too long, I like them to be about 1.5-2” long when I’m done, the cord will generally break when they are born but sometime it won’t, I give it a min for all the blood to reach the kid then cut the cord with clean scissors.)
Navel spray or dip (I have started using something called Super 7 from Jeffers.com, you can also use 7% Iodine, ether will work to clean and help dry the cord)
1 quart milking pail and small funnel (For milking the doe to feed kids, the funnel fits in the pail in the birthing kit and is large enough for the amount of milk the kid needs)
Bottle and nipple (I give all kids a bottle at birth, before they stand or nurse mom they get a bottle of her milk, this helps a lot when trying to bottle the kids later and they get there colostrum. I like them to get 4-6oz, after that they can nurse there mom)
Molasses (give to the doe in water for energy during and after labor, she will drink it when she is ready, some will drink during labor some wont until after all the kids and after birth is passed)
And of course you always want to trust your feelings, if you think things are going to long or something isn’t right call me or someone that has experience with goats. I always feed the doe right after she is done as well.
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