Breeding Goats

My last to breed was Cheyenne. Was she too young to breed at 7 months? What do you think? I asked a gentleman, who did linear appraisals for the A.D.G.A. all over the country for over twenty years when I met him. It was to settle a difference of opinion between myself and my two goat breeding friends. He was raised on a goat dairy farm and has had a herd of his own for many, many years. If anyone should know, I figured he would because of his vast experience and level of accomplishment. I breed mine when they are 70 – 80 pounds in the fall at about 7 months old. The recommendation by the A.D.G.A. association is 7 – 10 months. The appraiser said the increase in hormones at an early age helped develop their physical dairy character and increase their productivity. My friends breed the following year. That makes their does a year and a half.

Dairy goats breed from late summer to early winter but in northern United States, our goats don’t cycle until late October at the earliest. My April to early May born does make the recommended weight by late November. Genetics, pasture, and excellent hay does the trick, not grain to get our young does up to weight. There is a time for a small amount of grain but I’m not looking to use it any more than is necessary.

Most of my yearling does produce twins and have no problem feeding them with only a slight difference between the kid’s size and those produced by the two year olds.

Notice the wide stance of the doe on the right with wider hips, an indication of a wider udder and hips. Her teats hang lower than her sister on the left. The doe on the right had twins and the hormone serge to produce two and feed them, increased her body and udder development. I of course kept the doe on the right and culled the one on the left.

This is the older, full sister to the two does in the above photo. Buttermilk had twins at age 1 and age 2. This photo was taken at the same time as the yearlings above. They all gave birth within a few days of each other. That is a large 2 year old udder.

Are you convinced yet. Though does who have singles the first year go on to have twins the second in our herd because of genetics and feed program; they are playing catch up so when possible, I choose yearlings with twins.

Mom – Comedy has a huge udder. Look at the width of her stance and the length of the udder down past her hocks. I just wish I’d have cut some of the hair off that drapes over the sides of her udder so you could see better. She waddles big time around that udder at milking time.

My question is are the does too large when figuring feed to milk conversion.

As for heat or estrus cycle, it is 18 – 24 days with an average of 21 which is where our does sit. So in November when they cycle, I watch for them to cycle again in 21 days to make sure they settled. The younger ones had better settle on the first breeding if the buck is good or I will send them down the road. As for our old girl, Comedy, her advancing age means it takes two cycles for her to settle. It also takes a little longer for her gestation period, all typical for an older doe.

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