Our two does, Buckets and Tsarina, were born June 1, 2009. We bred them the first time in April of 2010. We knew only what we had read about breeding so we were kind of winging it. We want you to know a little more than we did.
The First Time Being Bred (First time freshener)
We looked for a buck to breed our does with and it turned out to be a more difficult task than we had expected. From everything we had read if you have dairy goats you should find your stud from a line of good milking dairy goats. There are supposed to be records to prove this fact. Ummmm Yeah, not around here anyway.
We definitely wanted certain traits in the sire of our kids but as for milking records we kind of gave up on that part. We decided we would be the start of the milking records with our does and what ever sire we ended up with that met the color pattern, eye color and height requirements.
We had opted not to keep a buck for several reasons but mostly because they can really stink and they can make the milk stink too. (or so we have read and been told). We have never kept a buck on site for longer than absolutely necessary. Our little bucklings that were born to our does were bartered off as soon as they could be weaned.
I actually ended up finding our buck for hire quite accidentally. I was at a knitting group when one of the ladies mentioned she was going to turn one of her bucks into a wether (castrate him) because he was a dwarf and kept getting "a hold" of girls that were not dwarfs.
My ears perked up when she said dwarf. I asked what kind of dwarf he was and she said I don't know he was given to us by a local radio personality and they didn't know much more than that about him. She said I was welcome to take a look at him and decide if he was what I wanted and they would turn him into a wether after I was done with him.
I went and checked him out and measured him. He was definitely a Nigerian dwarf goat but he looked a little big for the bred, at least when you eyed him he did. I had read that the buck should be no taller than 23 inches to the shoulder to be within "standards". He was just under 23 inches so he was okay that way. He had nice coloring and was a very stout little fella. He had green eyes and we had really wanted blue but if we were ever going to get some milk than we had to give on something at this point. Like I said, we were new to breeding at that time.
We agree that we would pick up the sire, Freddy, the following weekend. Wow was it different having a buck in the yard. Freddy was anything but good mannered. He would charge me, grunt at me and just stink up the whole place. Poor fella, it wasn't his fault he was just a bad mannered, never trained, stinky fella that wanted some love........
So we put him in the girls and.........well........I don't know what we expected. I knew there we certain signs to show if the does are in estrus such as:
- needy baaing
- excessive tail flapping
- slight discharge
- watch our video
So what else did we need to know?
- a Nigerian dwarf goats goes into heat or estrus every 18 - 21 days
- estrus lasts usually a few days
- the doe will only "allow" the buck during standing heat
- standing heat can be a short as a few minutes to several hours
- Don't blink or you will miss it. We weren't sure if Buckets was actually bred or not until we noticed some signs of her being pregnant the first time
The Second Time Around
The girls were milking away from September of 2010 through August of 2011. We decided it was time to breed the girls again when the milk production pretty much dropped in half.
We had gotten a little experience under our belt from the first "encounter" of the goats so we knew a little more what to look for. I placed an ad for a sire this time. The response to the ad was actually astounding. Breeders sent pictures of their bucks and I made arrangements to look at those that looked like ones we would be interested in. We decided this year we were going to go "young and inexperienced" as compared to last years "older and experienced" do to a young buck being easier to control.
Now there are of course advantages to having an experienced buck -
- you can see what kind of kids he "throws" or sires
- he knows what to do
- he knows when to do it
There are also disadvantages for the experienced buck also -
- They are strong and can be hard to handle
- They stink
- They have some very ugly "goat habits"
We picked a 6 month old buck who's parents were on site so we saw what both of them looked like. His mother was also being used as a dairy goat, although the owners did not keep records. (We will definitely have to talk about records later). It took 4 people to catch the little guy that was not socialized to people but I figured a few weeks with us would help that. A buck only need be 2 months old to perform his breeding duties so a 6 month old we figured would be able to figure it out. We got him home in what I would say was just in time because Buckets was exhibiting all the signs of being in estrus.
Immediately Buckets was very interesting the our new guest and he ran straight for her. He went from crying non-stop about being taken from his home to "See ya later, I see a girl!"
Buckets showed a lot of interest in our little guest for about 3 days and then completely ignored him so I am hoping that is a sign that he did his job. We have our little guest for up to 3 weeks and then will have to renegotiate from there. We only paid $50.00 for the stud fee for up to three weeks. Tsarina is being so show some interest in him now. Initially, Tsarina had no interest in him other than to be annoyed when he came around.
Once we have some idea of if they were actually bred or not than we will track the days to know roughly when they will kid. It is also important to know when they "stood" because it is good to give the does a rest (a period of time they are not milked before they kid to allow their bodies to recoup and store strength for birthing). The recommended rest period is at least 2 months before kidding. It takes a lot out of a little do to produce milk and they really need a break before birthing. No all people give their does rest but there are also people that breed there little goats 2 or more times a year.
Cross your figures and wish our little visitor luck...................