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Goat breeding questions (ages, breeds, what to do w/ kids, etc.)

 
Lynn Jacobs
Posts: 40
Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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Hello! I've been reading through all the goat topics, but none seemed the right spot to ask my question(s).

We currently have 10 Saanen goats. Three are the mothers, currently milking twice a day. Of the seven kids, two are wethers with the plan to butcher them eventually. My husband and I are not the owners, but we are the farm managers and so are responsible for all animal care, though we won't get to have the final say in all matters of course.

I do not know when the kids were born, but all but one female seem pretty small to me, too small to breed this next month. I'm waiting to hear from the owners about ages, and we have to figure out a way to weigh them all. I'm reading in several places, in addition to going into my memory banks from 10 years ago when I had my own LaMancha goat, that does should not be bred until they are 70+ pounds, which would mean around 7 months usually. (Pygmies are different, obviously.)

I also am not certain of the real goal for this herd, other than to have plenty of milk for our own consumption and the possibility of making cheese or other products for sale at some point. I'm not sure if they want to expand the herd by keeping all new kids, or sell all of them.

The stated plan is to "rent-a-buck" for the month of December. Originally it was arranged to bring in a Saanen so the kids would all be purebred, but since this isn't a registered herd there is now the question of bringing in a Boer goat instead, to have a mixed breed. I was told to just put the buck in with the herd for the entire month, and separate the one milker who is to be retired. I've been reading and thinking a lot and my inclination is to put the buck out in the pasture with the horses and only let the females out who are old/big enough to be bred, and only when they are in heat. This would 1. give me control over who gets bred, and I don't have to try isolating one goat within the smaller goat pasture; 2. allow me to know specifically which goats were bred on which dates so I would be more certain of EDD; 3. keep the buck from infecting my milk supply with his smell

Okay, so my question here is this: If the plan is to sell the new kids, would pure Saanens be better/easier to sell, or the mixed dairy/meat breed? I'm thinking the market would probably be mostly 4H children, but having never participated in 4H I don't know what would be more desirable.

Also, am I wrong to want to hold off on breeding small females? I'm thinking if I can pick them up then they just aren't big enough!

Any advice, questions, comments are welcome!
 
Lynn Jacobs
Posts: 40
Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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Well, I heard from the owner about some of the birthdates, but then I spoke to the previous owner today and discovered that new owner doesn't have his facts straight. The one doeling that is bigger was born late April, which would put her at 7 months now and therefore at an acceptable age for breeding, since she is also good-sized. However, the other four were not born until early June which would mean they aren't even 6 months old yet. I have to figure out how to tell him that I cannot, in good conscience, let any of them out with the buck. It's irresponsible, IMO, to breed them too young/too small.

Also, the question of what breed of buck to get was a moot point, since the owner had previously made arrangements for a mixed dairy breed buck to be "rented". (The owner's mother is trying to take over since he moved out of town and left us in charge.) Apparently one of the smaller doelings is to be given to the buck's owner as payment for the breeding services. I guess if I can manage to keep her unbred, then the buck's owner can decide whether to breed her later or not.

 
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