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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
The KGBA is looking for a few volunteers for upcoming projects. If you are interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your availability. If you have certain strengths and would like to be considered for specific tasks, please let us know!
Here are the results of the NEO Kinder Show of 2021. Thank you so much to everyone that came out, participated, watched, or helped make this show a success. See you next year!
Jr. Grand Champion Doe: Kinder Korner Clover – Owned by Lisa LaRose & Kelsee Gibbs
Jr. Reserve Champion Doe: T&R Ranch Blue Star Holly – Owned by Treba Stevens
Grand Champion Doe: Brookside Acres Faith – Owned by Jennifer Sisco
Reserve Champion Doe: Brookside Acres Shade – Owned by Jennifer Sisco
Jr. Grand Champion Buck: Rustic Acres Kaiden – Owned by Duane & Kimberly Moff
Jr. Reserve Champion Buck: Rustic Acres Stormtrooper – Owned by Weingart Family
Grand Champion Buck: Black Mountain Kinders Lone Ranger – Owned by Duane & Kimberly Moff
Reserve Champion Buck: Kinder Korner Sawyer – Owned by Lisa LaRose & Kelsee Gibbs
Grand Champion Chevon : CJM Farm Groot – Owned by Weingart Family
Reserve Champion Chevon: Kinder Korner Remington – Owned by Lisa LaRose & Kelsee Gibbs
Jr. Grand Champion Doe: Black Shire Anethema – Owned by Jennifer Sisco
Jr. Reserve Champion Doe: Dyer Family Farms June – Owned by Treba Stevens
Grand Champion Doe: Kinder Korner Amaryllis – Owned by Lisa LaRose & Kelsee Gibbs
Reserve Champion Doe: Brookside Acres Faith – Owned by Jennifer Sisco
Jr. Grand Champion Buck: T&R Ranch Diesel – Owned by Treba Stevens
Jr. Reserve Champion Buck: Kinder Korner Buzz Lightyear – Owned by Lisa LaRose & Kelsee Gibbs
Grand Champion Buck: Black Mountain Kinders Lone Ranger – Owned by Duane & Kimberly Moff
Reserve Champion Buck: Derek’s Kinders SH Handy – Owned by Jennifer Sisco
Grand Champion Chevon: Kinder Korner Remington – Owned by Lisa LaRose & Kelsee Gibbs
Reserve Champion Chevon : Rustic Acres Whitey – Owned by Duane & Kimberly Moff
We’ve all heard it a million times – your buck is the most important animal in your herd. The buck contributes 50% of the genes of every kid he sires and determines the overall pregnancy rate of the herd. Good breeding stock is fundamental to a quality goat breeding operation. By choosing the right buck, you can improve conformation and increase milk production, growth rates, and meat qualities in the kid crop. Improving these qualities will not only make the kids more valuable, but will equate to a healthier herd that saves you money on feed, vet bills, and replacement costs.
It is also important to choose the bucks you believe will improve the breed in general! In recent years, we’ve seen an enormous upsurge in the Kinder breeder’s desire to produce quality animals that excel on the homestead, in the milk room, and in the show ring. Many Kinders now have improved milk production and conformation over some of the original animals admitted into the registry. Yet, there are still large discrepancies in the quality between various lines and herds and their offspring – so where do you begin?
Choosing a breeding buck can be very challenging. Every spring brings a surplus of bucklings, many of which will be sold as potential herdsires. They are all darling little boys, but how do you decide which ones will help you meet your breeding goals?
First, make specific herd and breeding program goals. Write them down! When I sell a goat, I ask the buyer what they want in their herd and, more often than not, they don’t really know. They might know they want a hearty, medium-sized, dual-purpose goat but haven’t given more thought to what else is most important on their farm or homestead. Considering YOUR priorities prior to purchasing a herdsire is critical when it comes to your overall success as a breeder.
To determine what you want, ask yourself some questions –
Do you want your does to raise their own kids without requiring additional bottle feeding? If so, you may not want a buck from lines that produce quads and quints.
Do you live in an area where parasites are a serious issue? Goats and herds that are resistant and resilient to parasites should be high priority, as should be breeders who keep deworming records.
Do you expect your goats to travel and climb over large, rough areas to browse? Then potential breeding stock cannot afford to have poor quality feet and legs.
Will you be hand-milking? Teat and orifice size might be very important to you.
It is easy to want it all, but be realistic and choose two or three things that are most the most important starting points, to you. Once you decide what your primary goals are, take a long, hard look at your does. What do you love about them? What would you like to change? You want your buck and his parents to excel in the areas that you want to improve. Once again, try to pick just two or three important things you want to improve on now; you can always work on other things later.
Now that you have decided which qualities are most important in your new buck, you can begin your search. Begin by finding breeders whose priorities and management style closely resemble your own. A breeder that is successfully managing their herd in the way you do or plan to should have offspring that will thrive in a comparable environment and should easily transition into their new home with you.
Ask lots of questions. Good breeders will keep good records on milk quantities, growth rates, ease of kidding in various lines, results for disease testing, show records, deworming records etc. and will be happy to share them with you. Never hesitate to ask for documentation to back up a breeder’s claims.
After finding a breeder or two that you would like to work with, it is time to pick your buck! Here’s where things get difficult – ignore their colors! It is always fun to get a goat that is super-flashy or your favorite color, but try not to let those things “color” your decision – haha! Assess the bucks by conformation first, paying special attention to avoid weaknesses already in your herd or doe. If the buck has been evaluated, make sure that an area where your herd is weak is one of the buck’s strong points. For example, if it is a priority to improve legs, look for a buck with an Excellent or Very Good in the General Appearance category and high scores in the legs and feet sections.
By now, you should have your choices narrowed down to just a few boys. At this point, research the relatives of potential herdsires. Relatives should be goats that you would love to have in your own herd. Never buy a buck from poor quality parents in hopes that he will be an improvement over them! Your potential buck’s relatives should be well-balanced with good conformation and adhere closely to the breed standard. Do they have the qualities that you listed as top priorities? Are they strong in areas where your herd is weak?
Additionally, remember that the most expensive buck is not always the best buck, and the most well-known herds may not be the best fit for you. Know the direction you are going with your herd and wait for the right buck. As with your entire breeding program, planning, time, and patience pay off in the end when choosing a herdsire.
By Sue Beck
In the world of livestock and perhaps especially goats, numerous mineral programs exist. Most folks offer a pre-mixed mineral and supplement lack as needed in the form of additives like kelp or through injections, boluses, gels etc. Some goat owners offer individual minerals free choice. The individual, free-choice programs are based on the idea that goats are nutritionally wise and can select what they need and when they need it. But is that true? How DO ruminants learn what to eat? Here’s what we’ve learned so far.
Taste is the most important factor in deciding, followed by texture and odor. Both formal studies and simple observations have shown that ruminants learn what to eat through social learning (observing and copying dams and herdmates) as well as from biological feedback after consuming those foods. That means that the animal learns primarily through trial and error. If it eats this particular shrub and experiences negative consequences (rumen upset for example) the animal will then, in theory, associate the taste of that shrub with the rumen upset and not eat it again, or at least not eat large amounts of it.
In my research, Dr. Fred Provenza and Dr. Richard Holliday are among the most avid champions of free-choice, individual mineral feeding and nutritional wisdom. Even their observations and studies on the topic illustrated that the animals did not seek out certain minerals until they were deficient, sometimes severely deficient, or imbalanced. This suggests that animals eat to correct, not prevent deficiencies. In a goat-specific study, Provenza concluded “that the relative amounts of different foods ingested within a meal, and the salience of the flavors of those foods, are both important variables that cause goats to distinguish between novel foods that differ in postingestive consequences” (8). In this study, goats were ate a shrub called blackbrush, both old season growth and current season growth. The current season growth has much lower levels of condensed tannins than old season growth. The animals did not differentiate between the two until they ate more current season growth than old in a meal, enough to acquire an aversion. Yet, taste and odor were still important factors to that acquired aversion. Read the full summary of the study here https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24242115/.
Animals do not “instinctively” recognize nutrients, but sodium is dissolved and absorbed so quickly it does appear instinctual. In early studies on nutritional wisdom, sodium was mixed in every mineral that was offered cafeteria-style. Proponents of nutritional wisdom and cafeteria-style mineral programs note this as a flaw and argue that it made it impossible for the animal to “associate feedback from the mineral with its flavor.” – “On Pasture: Can Animals Figure Out What Minerals They Need”.
To date, there are no studies proving ruminants can recognize minerals other than calcium, sodium, and phosphorus. Phosphorus deficiency often results in pica, or a depraved appetite that results in eating odd things like wood, bones, rocks, and even feces. There’s several interesting studies on mineral deficient animals in the sources, including a study in which phosphorus-deficient steers were eating rabbits and one in which calcium-deficient sheep would lick up the urine and feces of the animals in the adjacent pen that were in the non-deficient control group.
In an interesting case I found online, a goat owner fed her animals a popular mineral mix that was very low in zinc and very high in copper (a zinc antagonist) for several years. Animals began dying and were necropsied. Copper toxicity was ruled as the cause of death. What was interesting was that her goats were attempting to eat raw meat that was being fed to her livestock guardian dogs. It was hypothesized the animals were doing so because they were starved for zinc and raw beef is an excellent source of that mineral. To date, I have found no formal study on animals being able to select to correct for zinc deficiency, but that fascinating anecdotal evidence certainly points that direction and is worthy of further study.
Many goat owners believe that perhaps too often in the case of goats, palpability and curiosity trump need – I’ve personally experienced goats developing a taste for toxic plants, including hemlock – goats that were healthy and well-fed with an abundance of other forage and hay available but simply liked the taste of the dangerous plant. The aforementioned research suggests that might be the case sometimes, perhaps especially in the case of concentrates or tasty treats. Dr. Holliday notes – “I realize mainstream nutritionists tend to downplay or totally reject the idea that animals can self-regulate their nutritional needs. I admit that this ability may not apply to all situations and to every type of feed. Some feed items (grains and concentrates) may be so tasty that most animals would overeat if fed free choice.”
Nutritional wisdom is a fascinating, complex subject worth studying more, but at the moment the evidence points out that the nutritional wisdom of ruminants is limited.
By Kenda Shatswell
- Provenza FD, Lynch JJ, Burritt EA, Scott CB. How goats learn to distinguish between novel foods that differ in postingestive consequences. J Chem Ecol. 1994 Mar;20(3):609-24.
My husband and I have a little hobby farm so that I can raise goats. At least that may be how he thinks of it. He doesn’t raise goats, although he has done a marvelous job of building things for the goats.
But I raise goats. It used to be that goats were the ugly step-children of farming but no more. Now the number of cute baby goat videos rivals cat videos.
But you can’t have cute baby goat videos without the romance of their parents. If you like baby goat videos, you need to know about goats in love.
In our goat herd, we usually keep our buck separated from the does so we can control when the babies come.
One bright fall morning, one of our girls had put on her high heels, lipstick, and Chanel perfume before sashaying along the fence line she shared with Rocket the buck.
Rocket got the message: she was in the mood. Rocket was always in the mood, so with great excitement, he pushed his manly head through the fence to sniff her fragrance.
Hearts were drifting above their heads like hot air balloons. Once I caught sight of a little cupid figure floating overhead, I collected Miss Elinore and brought her into Rocket’s pen. She wiggled her hips and lightly danced from the gate to the fence line so that she could lean against Rocket.
He raised his eyebrows in glee and snorted words of love in her ear. He’d have brought roses and chocolate if he’d known. This was just what he had hoped for. Love was in the air.
Except for one problem: Rocket’s massive head was stuck through the fence.
He pulled and twisted while Elinore was doing a pole dance beside him. She whispered in his ear, gave him little smoochies, leaned against his rippling muscles. More and more hearts floated past his eyes.
Rocket began straining against the fence. His front legs were like pile drivers pushing into the ground. His cheeks would have turned red from the exertion if not hidden by that masculine buck fur. The fence bowed with his manly strength.
No go. He was stuck.
The love of his life was slow-dancing at his side, and Rocket couldn’t get his head out of the wire.
I’m not without compassion. I only watched this display for fifteen minutes or so before I went in search of some wire cutters.
I think Rocket’s first lesson of love was to avoid putting your head through places where it doesn’t fit.
But I learned something that day, too: it is unbelievably challenging to cut wire when you’re laughing that hard.
By Kathy Brasby
Disclaimer: The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by newsletter and blog contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the Kinder® Goat Breeders Association. Goat husbandry advice found in the newsletter and blog is not meant to substitute a valid veterinary relationship. Please request permission to share or reprint newsletter and blog posts.