Let's talk about Goat breeding season!
Oh my, it’s that time of year here at Cotton Bean Goat farm. Mt. Pleasant, NC was described as a quite little town until breeding season hit our goat farm. It sounds like some one is fighting all day and most of the night around here!
The most important thing to take into consideration during goat breeding season is the physical condition of your Bucks and Does. The breed you are raising and the physical location of your goat farm will also play a part into the start of your breeding season. The gestation of a goat pregnancy is 145 – 155 days and 150 days on average or 5 months.
Doe / Nanny goat Preparation:
When you are preparing for breeding season you need to make sure your goats are in tip top shape. You don’t want your Mini Nubian or Boer doe to be underweight or over weight. Make sure your Does have free choice goat minerals and they are given copper bolus if needed in your area. You should be providing them with a good quality hay as a supplement. I would go ahead and trim hooves so you aren’t doing this when they are 4 month pregnant. Typically when your Doe is in good physical condition they will produce more ova and therefore produce more baby goats. If you have dairy goats keep in mind that the more baby goats a Doe has the more milk she produces. It’s all about supply and demand.
Keep in mind that your Buck is half of your goat herd!
Buck Goat Preparation:
Typically breeding season, also known as Rut in the goat world, is a very busy time for your Nigerian, Mini Nubian or Boer Buck. Our bucks at Cotton Bean Goat farm are so busy dating / mating Does that they will often not eat as much, which will cause your Buck to lose weight. Just as you do for your Does make sure they have good quality hay, coper bolus and free choice minerals. We trim our Bucks hoofs prior to breeding season. Who wants to trim hoof when they are peeing all over themselves?
Watch for urine scald also known as goat perfume, on your Bucks legs. You can apply diaper rash treatment such as Desitin to your bucks legs.
What is your Goat Breeding style?
Before goat breeding season arrives you need to think about how you are going to breed your goats. Our first breeding season at Cotton Bean Goat farm was the sneaky fence line breeding style. Who knew my 9 month old does would run over and voluntary breed with our Boer and Mini Nubian bucks. We are always learning something new in the goat farming world!
Are you going to breed standing which sis also known as hand g=breeding in the goat world.
Are you going to lock up specific Does and Bucks that you want to breed?
Are you going to rent a Buck? If so ask yourself if you plan to quarantine the Buck? You may need to consider keeping him for extra time.
Depending on your goat farm layout you will notice that the buck presence will bring your Does into heat. Typically this happens after the Buck is in with your Does for approximately 10 days. You will also notice that your Bucks are loud and the neighbors may think you are harming people at your farm. They also love to head butt each other.
Most mature Nigerian, Mini Nubian and Boer Bucks can easily service 20-30 does. Also keep in mind that at 3 months of age most bucklings can successfully impregnate a doe or it’s Nany or twin baby sister. I don’t recommend letting your young doeling get pregnant and give birth at 8 months old but as with all things it does happen. Also I need to tell you the story of our Nigerian buck mating with our full size Nubian doe at “As Cotton Bean Goat Farm Turns”.
How to tell your Doe is in heat during breeding season:
We notice our Does chasing down our Bucks and flagging at them. Simply put the Doe goes over and shakes her tail at him. She will even stand at the fence line and talk to him forever just like a 16 year old human. You may notice your Does screams like someone is killing her. Our Mini Nubian Doe, Denver, does this! You may notice her Vulva gets pink, swollen and may or may not have discharge. She will squat and urinate near him when she is ready to “date”. She will also run from your Buck if she isn’t ready to breed.
Goat / Doe Heat Cycles:
Typically your does heat cycle is 21 days. She will remain in heat for 3 days. Day 2 is the most active day for breeding and she will generally conceive in a 124 hour window in the middle of her heat cycle. If the pregnancy settles she still may come back into heat in 3 weeks. If she comes back into heat 6 weeks later I would consider rebreeding.
Bucky Goat Behavior:
Our Cotton Bean Goat farm Bucks will holler / scream back at the girls, stop the ground with their hoof and even paw at the fencing in hopes of dating our does. If our buck is penned up with other bucks they will fight with their pasture mates. Under normal circumstances they don’t fight. I have to admit I don’t like this part of the breeding season. You may notice your bucks mounting each other and peeing all over their faces or putting their penis in their mouth. This is all normal Rut / buck behavior. Did I mention that the Bucks all have a unique perfume that some humans find repulsive during breeding season. It doesn’t bother me and for fun I have thought about hugging my buck before coming to my day job. Lol