Udder progress-pregnant?

ByFaithFarm

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We recently became goat farmers-and even more specifically, bought a standard lamancha /Boer mix doe. She’s 3; has had two sets of kids in previous years.

She was in with a Sannen buck for a month prior to our purchase, but was not seen being bred, so wasn’t guaranteed pregnant. So, of course, I can’t help guessing and wondering and tracking her udder. 😬

Opinions, please...
 

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Ridgetop

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What dates was she actually in with the buck? "Recently" is not specific enough information to judge possible pregnancy. Since you seem to be saying that this is your first goat, I am sorry to tell you that she does not look pregnant to me. In addition, it sounds like she was exposed to the buck in January or later.

I was a Dairy Goat leader in 4-H for 18 years and have raised dairy goats, Boer goats, and sheep for 30 years. I hope this doesn't sounds like a classroom lecture, but I like to help newcomers understand as much as possible so they become successful with their livestock. You enough information to be successful.

This is a long explanation, but it will help you to understand why throwing any dairy buck in with any dairy doe any time of the year will not always result in a pregnancy. It only results in kids if the buck and doe are together at certain times of the year. Here is why:

First, your doe may be 50% Boer but the other 50% is LaMancha. While pure Boers are supposed to breed year round, LaManchas are an annual breeding season breed. That means that after several more infusions of Boer blood her 85% - 90% Boer great grandkids might breed year-round, but your original 50% dairy doe never will.

Second, you say she was recently exposed to a Saanen buck and you hope she is pregnant. What recent months was she exposed? It sounds like the recent months you are referring to are the early spring months. Again, Saanens are an annual rutting breed. This buck will not breed out of season. In addition, Saanens have one of the shortest rutting seasons of all the Alpine breeds.

It is important to understand the breeding and rutting cycles of all breeds of goats. If you want to breed meat goats all year round, I suggest you buy purebred Boers with a written owner history so you can see the breeding and kidding dates.

I don’t know who you bought her from, or what they told you. They might not know themselves and just be repeating what they were told. However, if the Saanen buck was with the doe during the spring of 2020, which seems to be the case since you are looking for kids now, I would say with 90% certainty she is NOT pregnant.

So, Goat Estrus & Rut 101 –

Normal dairy goat breeds breed only once a year. This includes the Alpine breeds, Saanens, Toggenburgs, and Oberhaslis. These four breeds have the shortest cycles starting in September and ending in December. Occasionally you might get one that will breed to either side of those months epending o the weather, but rarely.

The dairy breeds with the longest estrus cycles are the Nubians, (and to some extent the LaManchas since they are a made breed). Nubians begin their breeding cycle the middle of August, and continue breeding through January – giving you 2 extra months of breedability. LaManchas fall somewhere between the Nubians and the Alpines in breeding length.

These cycles pertain to bucks that come into rut during that time. If they are not in rut, they will not breed or be fertile. They are related to deer, and are only breedable in rut. During rut the buck produces a strong odor which attracts the does. He smears this stink all over himself through his scent glands located on the backs of his knees and on his head. During the rest of the year the buck produces no odor and his hormones are somewhat dormant. When in rut, the buck is aggressive, stinky and completely ruled by his hormones. When out of rut, the buck is odorless (if bathed and shaved after rutting season), docile, friendly, and makes a sweet pet for the most part. This is why ADGA dairy goat shows only have buck classes in spring and summer when rut is over.

The does begin cycling slightly before the bucks commence rut since their odors are what help trigger the rutting cycle. Their cycles are controlled by daylight hour length. At the days begin to shorten, the does come into estrus. They recycle every 2 weeks until they are bred and pregnant. The normal gestational length is 145 to 155 days. They will not rebreed until the following autumn when the days begin to shorten again.

Your doe is 50% dairy and 50% Boer, the buck was 100% dairy. If they were not together during the fall months, there will be no kids this spring or summer. If they were together during the spring and summer months there will be no kids this fall or winter either because they are ANNUAL breeders and were not together at the right time. (Unless you live in the southern hemisphere when everything I have just written will be the opposite!)

Now, as to the 50% Boer of your crossbred doe. If she were 100%, or even 90% Boer, she might come into estrus during the rest of the year. Not all Boers do. This is why if you want to breed year-round, I recommend that you ask to see both the breeding and kidding records. By comparing when and how often the doe was exposed to the buck with when she actually kidded you will be able to identify if she is a true out of season breeding doe, or if she is more seasonal in her breeding and kidding patterns.

Now, as to the buck – if you want to breed out of season, and have a doe that cycles out of season, you must also have a buck that will be in rut all year round. Most Boer bucks are willing to breed all year, but some are more fertile at certain times of the year. Excessive heat can make an older buck become infertile until the weather cools down.

I hope this will help you and other beginners understand the biological requirements of breeding. There are several parts and they must all be met in synchrony to produce kids. Once you do that, nature will do the rest, and you will be overrun with goats like the rest of us! LOL.

I hope other members will chime in with more information. I want to say that my experience is with standard dairy breeds and Boers only, so I have no information in Nigerians, or the mini breeds.
 

frustratedearthmother

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Agree that dates are important. If she cycled late and there was a willing buck around - she 'could' be bred. There is definite udder development and it's not happening for no reason at all. She seems pretty lean, but it does appear that she's a little heavier in the last pic. I wouldn't count on a baby, but it could happen, lol. Perfect answer, huh?

I have one doe left to kid this year and she isn't due until July.
 
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Jesusfreak101

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She really thin for being pregnant. Most of the ones i have had that are pregnant look like they they are so fat they might explode. So that is concerning that she so thin. Are you currently milking her? How old is She? Have you had a fecal done? Was she wormed? How is her appetite? Do you feed grain?
 

ByFaithFarm

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Thanks for all the helpful info!

We have only had her for 4 weeks. According to the seller she was casually (large herd on large pasture) put in with the Sannen buck for the month prior to our purchase.

We didn’t purchase her with any particular focus on a pregnancy, we just knew it was a possibility.

She is 3. As mentioned, she was on grass previously, with small amounts of other supplemental foods. We put her directly on forest forage (we have a loooot of forage, due to having recently purchased our wooded acres). She is moved (along with our two mini lamanchas) every other day to new forage. She eats very well; the forage and the alfalfa and scoop of sweet feed she gets nightly.

We felt she seemed a little scrawny when we first got her, but thought that might be due to being on pasture (instead of forage, which we understand to be their preferred food). We feel like she is filling out a bit. We are noticing this week that her right side is a bit more prominent than the left, and of course there is that udder that has to be growing for some reason, right?

Thanks so much for helping us become better educated! You can research for years, but only experience can really help you “see” some of the things you need to know to be good at animal husbandry!
 

Jesusfreak101

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You will also see there rumon thats a good sign. Oh and some minerals (depending on your areas mineral content of soil) she need are copper, selenium(expecially when pregnant deficiency cause all sort of problems with kids and biryhing). Viatimen b is good for helping boost their appetite, I would also give her a probotic paste to help. I dose all my goats but expecially my does with it. Copper bolus for all twice a year helps alot. You can give her sunflower seeds and also beet pulp helps them weight wise. She not in bad condition from what i can see. I have a doe when we first got her, her coat was really rough almost like pigs hair after minerals and forage and grain over time she back to have a nice soft coat. I like to suggest the minerals and vitamins because when i start i hadn't a clue about all of it and I lost a kid the first year to unknown reasons and since i am big on minerals and vitamins and thank fully have lost anymore kids. This is only my third year with them so i am pretty new to them.
 

Jesusfreak101

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No problem, goats are lots of fun. And there alot to learn which i am crazy about animal research so that's part of my quite time from the kids lol
 

Ridgetop

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Thanks for clarifying dates. Since she was in with the Saanen buck during the end of April and most of May, it is unlikely that you will be having kids. If she was with the buck in May she would not be due until September so would nit be showing any udder development until a month or so prior.

Since she is 3 years old I assume from the udder that she has previously freshened (had kids) at least once, more likely twice judging by the udder. Her udder looks like a normal dry udder on a doe that has freshened twice before. My ewes that are dry now all have similar looking udders to hers.

If she was thin when you got her, which she looks to be in those pix, and is now getting good nutrition, she will be filling out normally. Her udder may also fill out a bit. Remember that being 50% Boer she will not have the lean and angular physique of a 100% dairy doe, Boers are heavier boned and muscled in proportion, and also are often slightly shorter than standard dairy goats.

Jesusfreak is absolutely right - Definitely worm her and get her on a mineral supplement. Do you plan to breed her? She will need to be in good condition to be bred. She will start to cycle in August-September. You can start looking for a buck now. If you want meat, find a Boer buck to breed to. Since she is half dairy you might be able to get a fair amount of milk from her for household use.
 

ByFaithFarm

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She was thin when we got her, we felt. We are maintenance deworming with DE, and she has access to a mineral block.

Here is today’s photo...seems like she might be putting on a little weight (nutrition-wise, not particularly pregnancy related)?
4F5E8B29-25BC-4D0F-8435-B7E87AA7C343.jpeg
 
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