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Emergency - Goat labor

Discussion in 'Emergencies, Injuries, Diseases, and Cures' started by Louannx, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Nov 26, 2018
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    Smart of you to realize that Coco is the dominant kid. Usually it is the larger bucklings that dominate their smaller sisters. The more the kids nurse, the more milk Dotti will produce for them. Some first time owners get worried and start supplementing with bottles and, while it makes the kids more attached to the owners, the doe's milk does not come in properly. Then the owners explain it by saying "she never had enough milk so we had to supplement". Unless the kids are getting too weak to nurse, you are wiser to let her supply catch up to them. Good going!

    You definitely want your goats to believe they are part of your herd. Not just part of the herd, but the Herd Queen. There is always a herd queen and a dominant male in every flock or herd species. The herd queen is one of the older does, usually the matriarch, and is dominant. She is the one that determines where the herd goes, what forage is safe for them to eat, etc. That is the position of supreme authority. The dominant male is the only male allowed to breed with the females in his herd. He is also the protector of the herd, as well as doing battle against interloping males. He has a small coterie of junior males that are allowed to remain with the herd as long as they are subservient to him. The dominant male can be driven out by a younger male, but the herd queen retains her position until she dies or is unable to lead the herd.

    Unlike sheep, goats will defend their herd if possible. Sheep will run before the predator which is how dog packs inflict such horrific injuries on an entire flock. I speaking from experience. Years ago I saw my goat herd form a defensive circle against a suspected predator. Kids are in the center, and the herd radiates out in order of younger to older females, surrounded by yearling to 2 year old bucks and the dominant male facing the main threat. All the older goats face outward against the threat. If the predator approaches too close, the dominant male will attack and drive it off. Behind the dominant male are lines of defense consisting of the younger bucks, the older females, the younger females down to defenceless kids. If the male is killed by the predator, usually the threat evaporates and the herd backs off and moves away while dinner is in progress. I had read about this behavior, and to see it in person was amazing. The "predator" was a young LGD I had just introduced and they did not know him yet.

    Back to your position in the herd hierarchy - you are the herd queen and must be dominant. Hail! Queen Louannx! :bow
     
  2. Nov 26, 2018
    Louannx

    Louannx Overrun with beasties

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    Good information! I almost started supplementing them but I turned to Google. I watch Brawn’s behavior and energy level. He is not gaining like Coco but he seems content and is all over the place jumping and climbing. I hold her udder 3 times a day to make sure he is getting his feel. Then I check his tummy to make sure. Sometimes it’s funny because he will fall asleep nursing and I got to wake him up. Warm milk! I keep Coco on one and Brawn on the other and the whole time, she wants his. But I keep her on hers. Maybe this is our bonding because they are so happy to see me and jump right in my lap.

    Interesting on the herds survival behavior. That would be pretty neat to see. But I hope I never have too.

    Sounds like you have your hands full with all your ewes (and goats)? Congratulations! I can not imagine at this time having more than one due at a time but I’m still very green. I am reading up on how to breed the goats and so fourth. I am thinking of breeding one month apart for Dotti and Joli in Starting in February. So the kids would be close on age but far enough apart. Still a work in progress and still reading. Wish me luck!
     
    B&B Happy goats likes this.
  3. Nov 27, 2018
    goats&moregoats

    goats&moregoats True BYH Addict

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    Congrats! and a wonderful job to you and BYH members
     
  4. Nov 27, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Hey there @goats&moregoats ! Good to see you/hear from you! How are you doing? Maybe a short update to your journal for us old timers?
     
    B&B Happy goats likes this.
  5. Nov 29, 2018
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    You are doing a great job with your goats!

    Everyone breeds for different times for different reasons. I like breeding everyone at the same time to get it all out of the way at once. I don't have a problem with bad winter weather since we are in Southern California, and I have a good barn. On the other hand, if you like spending the individual time with them, breeding for 3 weeks apart would be fine. Make sure you know the breeding cycles for your breeds. Boers will mostly breed year round with less problems with heat affecting the buck's fertility. Dairy breeds have a definite seasonal breeding period when the bucks come into rut and the does start to cycle. Swiss breeds have a tighter seasonal cycle of fewer months in the fall, while Nubians can start cycling in August and go on through February. Many does in a herd will adjust their breeding cycles to come into season around the same time. The time between estrus cycles is 3 weeks give or take a day or two. If you plan to breed for about a month apart, watch to see if both girls come in to season around the same time. Then you can plan the second breeding for 3 weeks later.

    Just know that late February through spring is not a normal breeding time for goats. That is their normal kidding time. Goats have a gestation of 155 days. Although the Boers will often breed out of season, it depends on the bloodlines. Some are active out of season breeders, others are not. You might want to breed in early or late fall next year for kids, depending on how early in the year you want them born. Once you are breeding each year and are selling your kids, you will want to plan their arrival to coincide with the best pasture. It is cheaper to raise them on pasture, and the mamas milk better. Or you may want to plan kidding so the kids have gained a certain amount of weight for sale t certain times of the year.

    If you are planning on keeping any bucklings, make sure you castrate or band them by about 1 or 2 months old. Wethers will grow just as well with less possibility of accidental breeding. You will want to make a plan for selling your buck kids too. Check around for livestock auctions I the area. I used to sell all my bucklings at 2 months of age without castrating them, and they sold well, especially around Easter. Unless they are on pasture, there will be no profit in growing them larger, and a lot of expense.