By Cader Amato Boer Goats Stud
The ideal age to start breeding goats is at 12 months of age. A young buck of 12 months old can be given 20 mature does to start with. A Mature buck can be given 50 does at a time. It is best to keep the bucks away from the does and only introduce to them to the does at the time of breeding. During this period, the bucks are separated into different pens, where they will receive their daily ration of feed, hay, and water. Each buck will be given a selection of does allocated to him. The tag numbers of each doe must be recorded together with the buck’s tag number in order to record the correct history of the kids at the time birth.
During the breeding period, the Bucks will remain in their allocated pen for a period of 45 days. During the day, the does allocated to the buck will go out grazing and only come to his pen at night for mating. With this system, the buck will cover more does throughout the night and be able to rest during the day. A Doe’s heat cycle is every 21 days and this lasts for 72 hours. The reason the buck stays with his allocated does for 45 days is that if the buck misses her on her first cycle, he will be able to mate with her on the second cycle. Once the 45 days are done, the buck is removed but the does will be monitored to see if any come on heat again. The remaining does that were not service will be given back to the buck.
GESTATION AND KIDDING
The gestation period for does is five months. Once kidding commences the does should be put into individual kidding pens where she can bond with her kids for 3 to 5 days., Thereafter the doe can go out grazing and return to feed her kids at lunchtime and the evening. The does must be looked after well during this period, a supplementary feed can be given once a day. The kidding pens must be kept clean at all times. The kids should not be let out during the first two months, this keeps them safe from predators and helps them to build their immune system.
At birth, the umbilical cord must be treated twice a day with an Iodine solution until it falls off. This prevents any diseases from entering their bodies.
At four weeks of age, the kids receive their first pulpy kidney vaccine. This vaccine must be repeated four weeks later. The pulpy kidney vaccine must always be
given first before any deworming is done.
Two weeks after the second vaccination of the pulpy kidney has been done. The kids must be dewormed for milk tapeworm. Once this has been done the kids can out grazing with their mother for a period of one month. This is to lessen the stress at weaning time.
When the kids are three months of age, they must be weaned from their mothers.
The does return to the main flock and are given a rest period of one to two months before they are mated again. During this rest period, the does can regain their condition.
Pulpy kidney & other diseases – All goats should be vaccinated before the rains to avoid pulpy kidney and other diseases. Speak to your local veterinary supplier for assistance on their products.
Abortions – Vaccinations must be done six weeks before mating. This must only be done to empty does. Please consult your local vert for assistance.
Vitamins – All goats must be given Vitamin A, D & E, Vitamin E- Selenium, twice per year
Deworming – Get to know which parasites affect your area, do regular Dung samples to know which parasites are affecting your flock at the time and treat accordingly. Rotate your deworming medications, many dewormers contain the same active ingredient and this can lead to resistance. Only give pregnant does deworming medications suitable for them.
Dipping – weekly dipping is advised. Goats are very susceptible to heartwater. Get to know which ticks are prevalent in your area. Work closely with your local Veterinary officer.
Rainy season – for those in the highveld check regularly for foot rot. Ensure that the goats have adequate shelter from the rain.
it is important to read the labels and buy medications and dips suitable for goats.
Images by Julie Havercroft and Anisha Cader