To Breed or Not to Breed?
As an avid goat lover and enthusiast, the question about breeding my goats comes up quite a bit this time of year. Thankfully, Nigerians are year round breeders, but my choice is to breed in the fall for spring kids for several reasons. Not only is the weather more favorable, but it also aligns more closely with when I want my does to be in milk. I take the decision of breeding my does and bucks very seriously. Carrying a pregnancy and lactation is taxing on the does body and I want to make sure not only is she in optimal health, but that the bucks are as well. I also want to evaluate my does and bucks to ensure they are of adequate quality and have traits that I want to continue to pass down from generation to generation.
That is why with this cooler weather and shorter days I spend extra time trying to ensure my herd is in prime shape for breeding season. This means I check FAMACHA scores frequently and deworm those that are in need. For those of you that have been keeping up with Zoey, I got her fecal results back and there were only two strongyle and three coccida in the sample, so the vet suggested waiting to see if her FAMACHA improved, which it has drastically over the past few days, so I think we are on the right track. This also means that I will trim hooves any chance I can get to keep my herd in the best shape possible. Fall breeding maintenance for me also means time to give booster shots and initial shots of the pneumonia vaccine. I also give my annual copper boluses, selenium and vitamin E gel as well as doses of Replamin gel. I want to give my does and bucks the best chance of having a healthy breeding season and producing vibrant kids with ease in the time of kidding.
I do always consider the risk of breeding my goats and I recently discussed that with my husband. It is possible for both doe and kids to die during pregnancy and kidding for any number of reasons and I want to be sure that I am willing to take that risk. I am very conservative in this approach and perhaps to the point where I am too overprotective as a goat mom. But, I love my goats and I do not ever want anything to happen to them. I also try to consider the lives and homes for the resulting kids. As much as I want to,
I cannot keep every kid that is born to my does. I try to advertise early and secure homes for kids that I do not plan on keeping. As a responsible breeder, I want these goats to go to loving homes where they will be cared for. Goats have a special place in my heart, and when my does and bucks reach an age or condition where they can no longer breed, I will provide them with a home to live out their golden years. Goat ownership is not for everyone, but for those of you that it is, remember, all goats will get old and it is our responsibility as their care takers to provide a home for them even when they cannot provide us with their luscious milk or bouncing kids!