To plan your does’ visit to a buck for buck service OR to get ready for AI, there are a few things you can do to ensure optimal timing and success. The most important consideration is to ensure that you know when your doe is ready and receptive! You have two options for getting the timing right: observe and mark heat cycles OR synchronize your doe using hormones.
Observe Heat Cycles
If your does’ heats are noticeable, you can watch for signs of heat and mark your calendar to pinpoint a good time for your buck visit. Heat signs seem to be stronger and more noticeable in the fall. Signs of heat in a doe include the following:
- Swelling of the vulva
- Seeking the buck or showing interest in a “buck rag.” (If you do not have a buck, please ask someone who does have a buck for a “buck rag” that has been rubbed on a buck to pick up his scent.)
- Standing for mounting by the buck, a teaser, or even other does
- Urinating frequently
- Flagging tail
- Vocalizing, often loudly (some does do this; others don’t)
- Presenting mucus discharge that appears crystalline at the beginning but may have a cheesy appearance near ovulation time
Synchronize Your Doe
If you have difficulty identifying your doe’s heat cycle (some does are subtle about their heats; others are foghorns), or if you wish to synchronize your doe’s heat cycle to an alternate date for your preferred buck visit or kidding schedule, hormone therapy for estrus (heat) synchronization can be a valuable tool, allowing you to time your does to be bred and to kid closely together.
You’ll need a few items to follow the recommended protocol, and while the initial investment may be considered steep, it works out to be under $20 per doe to synchronize. (Prices quoted were found on valleyvet.com at the time this article was written in 2017):
The hormone progesterone is required to bring a doe into heat. While no current sources of this hormone are currently approved by the FDA for goats, CIDRs are approved for use in sheep and are being used for goats. The use of CIDRs in goats has been demonstrated to efficiently induce and synchronize estrus and ovulation during the breeding as well as the non-breeding seasons.
According to the website published by its maker, Zoetis, “The Eazi-Breed CIDR Sheep Insert is a convenient and effective method for inducing estrus in production animals and contains the natural hormone progesterone. Intra-vaginally placed CIDR’s release progesterone at a controlled rate into the blood stream.”
When this article was being written, Eazi-Breed CIDR Sheep Inserts were listed $124.49 (20 count – $6.22 per doe). An Eazi-Breed CIDR Sheep Applicator on valleyvet.com is a $9.99 one-time purchase.
Lutalyse for Cattle, Swine, and Mares is $19.99 (30 ml) and is a prescription that your vet must write before your order can be filled (15 doses – $1.33 per doe).
P.G.600 Swine Vaccine is $43.95 (5 doses – $8.79 per doe).
This minimum purchase total with shipping was $220.92.These products will enable you to synchronize a minimum 5 does at a rate of $16.34 per doe (not including the applicator or shipping).Additional supplies can be purchased as needed. Please keep in mind that the use of CIDRs, PG600, and Lutalyse in goats is extra-label drug use, and you should consult your veterinarian if you have concerns.
While there are a number of protocols that are referenced, the current protocol recommended by BioGenics is as follows:
Day 1: Insert CIDR.
Day 14: Inject IM 2ccs of Lutalyse
Day 15: Pull CIDRs and immediately inject IM 1-1/2 cc’s PG 600 (ensure to mix powder with sterile liquid per instructions first).Freeze any leftover solution for future use.
Day 16: Waiting day – do nothing. They should go into a raging heat.
Day 17: At the same time of day the CIDRs were pulled/meds given, check to see whether the does are in heat. If so, proceed with AI or take to buck.
Day 18: Reserve this day in case it is needed to continue checking for heat – AI should be done by end of day depending on the time you gave Lutalyse, pulled CIDR’s, and gave PG 600.
The Lutalyse injection and the PG 600 injection must be given at the same time both days to secure a better chance of a successful AI.
If artificial insemination is used instead of a buck, insemination should be performed approximately 48 hours after CIDR removal or within 12 hrs after onset of estrus.
The CIDRs should not be re-used for health reasons.
Leftover PG 600 can be frozen, but it can be unfrozen only once. If it is refrozen a second time, it will not work.
Timing your does’ heats can be extremely helpful if you are trying to prepare for efficient breeding without a buck conveniently on site. For more about artificial insemination, including instructions, tips, and available Kinder buck semen, see https://biogenicsllc.com/kinder-sire-directory-domestic/
For additional reading on other methods of inducing estrus during the non-breeding season, please visit the link below: https://goats.extension.org/season-impacts-reproduction-out-of-season-breeding/
Also, please visit the link below for a better understanding of hormonal control of reproduction in goats: https://goats.extension.org/reproductive-biology-goat-reproductive-physiology/
By Kirsten Simons
References (peer-reviewed abstracts):
- E.C.Bowdridge, W.B.Knox, C.S.Whisnant, and C.E.Farin.2011.NC Synch: A protocol for ovulation synchronization and timed artificial insemination in goats.J.Anim.Sci.89 E-Suppl.1:658.
- http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/training../ reproduction.html#seas
- Whitley, N.C., C.E.Farin, W.B.Knox, L.Townsend, J.R.Horton, K.Moulton and S.Nusz.2011.Comparison of two ovulation synchronization methods for timed artificial insemination in goats.J.Anim.Sci.89 E-Suppl.1:658.
- Reference: Whitley, N.C.and D.J.Jackson.2004.An update on estrus synchronization in goats: a minor species.J.Anim.Sci.82: E270-276E (Proceedings); http://www.luresext.edu/goats/training/ reproduction.html
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