Please read my disclosure if you have questions.
Breeding the goats every year or two is part of keeping backyard dairy goats. Once you’ve mastered basic goat care, it’s time to start thinking about breeding them. We had a couple bucks spend a few weeks at our place and we also took the girls out for “dates.” Bucks can be very smelly, so they aren’t good fits for tiny homesteads. You can find a buck to service you does through networking or through sites like craigslist.
Make sure your does are up to date on their disease testing and ask for the results for the buck you are thinking about using. Here is a video on how to do blood draws and where to get the supplies from Tiramar Homestead. Also ask ahead of time about registration, pedigrees, and whether or not you will be needing a service memo for the breeding.
- Basic Goat Care For New Goat Keepers
- How Much Space Do Your Goats Need To Be Happy?
- How To Get Started Breeding Goats
We had a few times when I had hoped my does would be pregnant and then didn’t take. One goat had a pattern of going into false heat. Once we knew she was likely to do that it was easier to plan around and make sure we could get her back with a buck. Our other goat even made an udder when she wasn’t even pregnant. I didn’t realize at the time that goats could be influenced by the hormones of their herdmates!
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How do you know if your goat breeding was successful?
Your first clue is the instant you bring the buck to your doe in heat. If he mounts her and she stands you should see the buck do a little dip with his back legs. That indicates a successful breeding. If she doesn’t stand or he isn’t finish the job I can promise you won’t be getting any goat babies.
A second indicator is if your goat goes into heat again. If it’s not a full 21 days then the previous cycle was a false heat. NOW your goat is ready to be successfully bred. Get that buck back!
Other indicators are much later in the pregnancy. Your goat may get fatter (which mine tend to do even without being pregnant). She may develop an udder (which apparently mine do even without being pregnant…). Nearer the end you can feel the babies kicking and moving in her tummy. The rumen (on the left side of the goat) can feel suspiciously like baby movement. Feel on the right side when checking for movement. Unfortunately, this isn’t foolproof.
If you absolutely need to know which does have taken do a blood test. If you send in a blood sample to Bio Tracking you can find out in just 30 days whether breeding the goats took or not.
As tempting as the blood test is, we always took the wait and see approach. Don’t get caught by surprise! Write down a due date 145-150 days from the last date they were exposed to the buck. Here’s a due date calculator from American Goat Society. It is important to know how far along your goats are because they do need slightly different care while pregnant. (Related Post: Basic Goat Care Pregnancy and Kidding).
What signals do you use to tell if breeding the goats was successful?
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