Preparing for breeding season
Although most goat breeds are aseasonal breeders, meaning that they can breed year-round, the "rut" is a goats typical breeding season much like that of their cousin the whitetail deer. The season normally begins in August and lasts until December. Females that are bred during this time of year normally produce a higher number of female births to male birth ratios. This is mother natures way of replenishing the population of goats that may have become ill, injured, or died in the previous year. Birth weights are also higher of kids born as a result of does being bred during this time. It is believed that this is to ensure the kids survival and give them a better start than kids born "out of season". During the "rut", bucks will urinate on their legs and destroy whatever they can to show their dominance. They will also fight for the right to breed whatever does are in heat. If you have more than one buck running with a herd of 25 does, chances are, one buck (the dominant one) will breed all the does. Goats are much like their wild cousins the whitetail deer and you can learn a lot about deer just by owning goats and watching their behavior patterns.
Here are a few things that you can do to help ensure you get the most out of each breeding season.
1) Hoof Trim...Hoof Trim...Hoof Trim... I can not stress how important it is to have a buck with good feet when he breeds. Bucks with poorly managed feet will either not breed or not breed enough. When the feet are in poor condition they will not be able to chase the does or stand on them long enough to mount the does. You need to start sharpening those shears now and give them a good trimming so you have time to get them in excellent condition before season.
2) Does and bucks should be on a free choice goat mineral year round but if they are not, you will need to make this available to them now. Most feeds are inadequate when it comes to the amount of minerals contained in them.
3) Feed your bucks good before breeding because breeding bucks can loose up to 50 pounds and will loose interest in food when they are with the does. However, do not over feed your bucks. They should be able to move freely without being bogged down by extra pounds that is going to wear them out when their favorite time of the year approaches. You should clearly be able to see the muscle tone, not layers of fat when they walk.
4) Begin to flush your does prior to adding your buck. Flushing your does by giving them extra grain and a good quality hay will help to increase the chances of multiple births. When giving extra grain it is important to do it gradually so you dont upset the rumen.
5) Check your breeding area and fence to make sure that there are no means of escape. A lot of times young does being bred for the first time will look for a way out when the buck is chasing her.
By doing these few things now to prepare for breeding season, it will lead to increased births and increased profits in the very near future.
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