For many goat owners, fall is breeding season - a busy and exciting time around the farm!
If you are planning on breeding your does any time soon, they should be in top form. This means making sure they are in good weight (see previous article on body scoring your goats), free of heavy parasite loads and ready to start making strong, healthy babies. Below are some other things that should be considered before breeding...
Healthy goats start with healthy feet. Your goats should be on a regular trimming schedule, and making sure feet are regularly trimmed during pregnancy is more important than at any other time. Because Kinders often have multiple kids, they carry a large amount of weight throughout pregnancy. Leaving hooves untrimmed during this time can cause irreversible problems. Hooves often grow faster during pregnancy, so closely inspect your goats' feet every week.
Goats should always have access to free choice minerals, but some areas are so deficient in certain minerals that they can not be completely replaced by free choice minerals. In those areas, extra supplements need to be given during pregnancy to avoid health problems with does and newborn kids. If you are not sure whether or not your area is deficient in anything, ask your local veterinarian.
Finally, stand back and look at your goats. Consider how they look and act - do you have nagging concerns about any of them? Does something seem a little bit off in a certain doe? Now is the time to treat any issues you think might be present, rather than risking the possibility that they worsen or become untreatable while your doe is pregnant. Cutting
corners on herd health can cause major problems with your does, their births and their kids.
Preparing your goats for breeding season is easy, and the benefits are huge. By covering these few basic items, you will ensure a happier, healthier breeding season for your entire herd, and more time to enjoy those sweet little kids when they finally show up!