Figure your Kidding Dates from the Breed Dates
There are several ways to manage your breeding. One option is pasture breeding. To pasture breed you just put the buck out with the does during the month that you want them bred, and expect that he will get the job done. He generally does. Sometimes, a buck in a pasture breeding situation will expend all his resources on one doe by breeding her over and over. Then, when another doe comes into heat, he doesn’t have anything left for her. That is why it is a good idea to leave your does in with a buck, if you are pasture breeding, for over 40 days (long enough for at least two heat cycles). This gives the buck another shot if he missed one the first time around.
Another option is called ‘hand breeding’. In this method, you put your buck in a sturdy pen next to the does. Putting a buck that has not been near the does before, into close contact with your does may stimulate them to come into heat. When a doe is standing at the fence wagging her tail and kissing on the buck, even though the rest of the herd has gone out to eat, she is in heat. Put her into his pen, let him breed her twice, then remove her. This works very well if you have people around to watch and be sure you catch the does as they come into heat, and if your does come into obvious heat.
My favorite breeding plan is a combination of the above options. I like to move the buck into a pen right next to the does at the first of the month in which I want them to be bred. Then, I hand breed any doe that comes into heat in the first two weeks of the month. Any remaining does that are scheduled to be bred in that month, that have not been hand bred by the second week, are then put into his pen. The marking harness is put on the buck. When I see a doe has been marked, I pull her out of the pen. This gives me nearly exact breeding dates on most of my does and keeps them on my schedule.
The normal gestation time for goats is 145 to 155 days. Most goats will kid between 149 and 151 days. The last month or two before your doe is due, you should raise the sugar content of her feed a little to avoid pregnancy toxemia and to help her kids to grow to their full potential.
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