If you're looking into Boer goat breeding, one of the top questions to raising Boer goats for profit is simple: what's the best age to breed them?
In this quick guide we cover the best Boer goat breeding ages for bucks and does, and throw in 5 handy tips for breeding your Boers.
Let's jump in!
One of the essential things to master when raising or farming goats is breeding. The goats need to be healthy so that they can reproduce properly. Most breeds also have a set goat breeding age. Most kinds of goats have a specific age when they reach puberty and when they can mate.
First time breeders are encouraged to do as much research as possible. Speak with other farmers. Find a mentor. Finally, with the help of a mentor, choose your animals carefully.
A quality buck and quality does will be an investment, but they will be the foundation of the herd. It can be tricky to find a reputable breeder, but it is worth it to avoid the headache of having a weak, unhealthy goat. It is generally good practice to avoid the sale barn.
Boer Goat Breeding Age: Does and Bucks
The burden of producing quality offspring is typically in the Boer buck. Does, on the other hand, gain a reputation for having easy pregnancies, kidding with little assistance, and whether they are attentive mothers. Their milk, at least in the early days of the kids’ lives, is the primary means of their growth.
Good breeders typically keep good records of the lineage and reproductive records of breeding stock which helps you know what to expect when you bring the animals home.
Bucks are typically more expensive than does so it’s prudent to be more careful when choosing one. Request proof of fertility and any pertinent breeding records to ensure that the buck is a purebred Boer. Also ask for health records and if the breeder has proof of the condition of the buck’s progeny.
Physical fitness is important when choosing a buck. For breeding purposes, the buck needs to be virile enough visit all the does. Obesity can negatively impact fertility, as well.
Since Boer goats tend to put weight on more quickly than other breeds, it is considered a better guide to breed by weight than by age. Bucks reach a weight of 32 kg as early as 3 to 6 months; this is considered puberty. Most bucks can already be used for breeding as young as 5 to 6 months, though some prefer to wait until they are more mature to begin breeding.
Boer does can be bred at 6 months. However, breeding the does before they reach the proper weight (generally around 80 pounds) can stunt their growth and lead to reproductive problems. A common age for breeding is between 10 and 12 months.
Having does reproduce too early can lead to pregnancy or birth difficulties. The most common complication of a young doe giving birth is that of an abnormally positioned kid. This can lead to the death of both the kid and the doe.
Most Boer does are “retired” by 10 years old, but if properly cared for and only bred once a year (thus giving the body more time to recover between pregnancies), she could potentially be bred longer than that.
The average pregnancy lasts five months. While it is possible to breed Boer does twice a year, not all does will take to a pregnancy again so soon after kidding. This is completely dependent on the individual does. Some will be ready to breed and some will not.
The most accurate way to determine pregnancy is to request a blood test or ultrasound. To determine possible kidding dates, visit http://abga.org/abga-education/gestation-calculator/
5 Tips for Effective Goat Breeding
1. Buy a Pair
Goat breeding for Boers typically starts by buying the buck and does. Experts recommend that first-time breeders start with a ratio of 1 buck for about 20 to 30 does.
The quality of kids depends on a large part on the buck. This is the reason why champion bucks can cost several hundreds of dollars. When looking at bucks you’re thinking of buying, check thoroughly before making a big investment. Make sure that the buck is not overweight. They need to visit all of the does, and that involves a lot of walking. Fat can also restrict the testicles and make it harder to produce sperm.
Does also need to be healthy to produce good offspring. If possible, choose one that has produced kids before. Check the records of the breeder to make sure that they can produce and support multiple kids.
2. Check the Weight
Even though Boer does reach puberty earlier; that does not guarantee that they are ready for reproducing. Instead of age, breeders recommended monitoring the weight of the goats to make sure that they are ready.
Goat breeding too early can stunt the growth of the does. This can also cause problems such as dysocia, which is when the kid cannot get out due to a small birth canal.
Compare the weight of the prospective dam to other does in the herd. If the weight is about 60% of a full-grown doe, they are ready to mate. Most boer goats reach this weight at 1 to 1 ½ years.
3. Don’t Breed too Often
Boer goats are able to reproduce often. But frequent goat breeding (such as 3x in 2 years) can damage the health of the animal too much (especially since they tend to produce multiple kids).
Taking care of kids can be exhausting. One easy way to manage resources and time is to synchronize the breeding. This means timing mating so that all the does get pregnant and give birth at around the same time.
5. Flush the Does
This process increases the chances that the does can create multiple offspring. Flushing involves feeding the does the best pasture around 4 weeks before breeding season. This conditions their bodies to handle multiple offspring and increases ovulation rates.