You want to run a goat farm and have kid goats in your future, but how do you go about producing those kid goats?
Goat breeding sounds simple, but there are many different aspects that you need to review before you get any goat kids on the ground. This goat breeding 101 guide is going to cover the basics.
Goat Breeding Age – the Best Age for Breeding Your Goats
First off, what age are goats ready to breed and when do they need to be retired from the breeding business?
We will start with the bucks. Larger breeds may take longer to become mature, but for the most part bucks can start breeding does around the time they turn 5 months old, but it is recommended to wait until they turn 1 year old to have them start breeding:
“At 1 year of age, the buck should service no more than 10 does at a time (in one month). When he is 2 years old, he should be able to service 25 does at a time. At the age of 3 and older, he can breed up to 40 does at one time, as long as his health and nutritional needs are met” (Goat Extension, 2019).
As long as the buck has good motility and is in good health he can continue breeding for as long as you want.
Does also have different age requirements when it comes to breeding.
Like the bucks, the breed can determine when they are mature and can typically start breeding around 5 months old, but are recommended to wait till they are 75% of their mature weight till they are bred:
“The doe kid may be able to reproduce at three months of age, but should not be allowed to do so, as her growth may be permanently stunted. To prevent this, buck kids should be separated from doe kids at an early age.
If breeding doe kids is postponed much beyond 10 months of age, they will be less productive. Older kids are not as easily settled at first breeding and may have lower lifetime productivity” (American Dairy Goat Association, 2019)
As long as the doe is healthy and in good reproductive health, she can be bred till she reaches 10 years old and sometimes older.
Goat Breeding Season in the USA – When Is It?
In the USA goat breeding season is typically from late August to January. You can, however, trick your goats into breeding at other times of the year. This is done with the use of lights to manipulate them into going into heat.
Goat Breeding Calculator – the Best Breeding Calculators and Calendars on the Web
Depending on when you want your does to kid will determine when you have your does get bred. So you will need to plan your breeding accordingly with a good calculator or calendar.
The American Goat Society has a fantastic Goat Breeding Calculator that you can use to pinpoint the days that you will want to have your does bred.
Another tool that can greatly help you is a Goat Breeding Calendar like this one on Amazon for $14.
Goat Breeding Supplies – Your Complete Supplies List
To be successful in goat breeding, you will need to have supplies ready to go. Each of these supplies serves a certain purpose and can improve your chances of a successful kidding season.
Here is a list of recommended supplies for breeding season:
- Dewormer- you will need to deworm your goats 3 weeks prior to breeding season to help them be in the best physical shape possible. Using Safeguard Goat Dewormer may be exactly what you need for $30, especially since it has multiple doses.
- Marking Harness- If you are breeding your goats at pasture you will want to put a marking harness on your buck so you can tell what day he bred your does along with which does he has gotten. You can buy a Marking Harness for $26.
- Marking Crayon- A marking harness will need a marking crayon so that it will be complete. You can buy a set of 3 different Marking Crayon colors for $20. Having different colors can enable you to see which bucks have gotten which doe.
- Goat Record Book- Keeping good records of each of your goats will help you know what your goats need as well as when their specific due dates and past health history. You can buy a Goat Record Book for $10.
Goat Cross Breeding – Everything You Need to Know
There are many different methods to create your goat stock. Each of the methods has its own set of pros and cons. One method that you should look at along with the others is crossbreeding:
“Crossbreeding is most often practiced by “commercial producers’, those who are involved primarily in selling goats for meat. They need to use every tool that can increase production and production efficiency if they raise goats as an enterprise to create revenue for the household” (American Institution for Goat Research, Getz, & Fort Valley State University).
You can also go to the American Institution for Goat Research website to research more about crossbreeding and other breeding methods.
Goat Breeding Video – the Best Breeding Videos on the Web
To know what correct goat breeding looks like you will need to learn how it takes place. One of the ways you can learn is through videos.
Goat breeding videos abound on the internet, but few of them are quality. Some people post videos of animals breeding to be disgusting, so you need to be very careful about the goat breeding videos you choose to watch.
Here are some quality goat breeding videos that are made to be educational:
Goat Breeding Software – Computer Programs to Make Breeding Easier
At some point you may get too many goats to keep track of on paper effectively. This is where technology comes into play. There are many different software options on the market that can help you keep track of each of your goats.
Here are some different software options that you can take a look at:
- Agritec- This software can be put on help you keep track of up to 100,000 breeding females. There is a free trial that you can use to see if you like it. Once your free trial is over, the monthly charges vary based on the number of breeding females you have, if you choose to go with their ultimate plan with up to 100,000 breeding females costs $12,470 a year.
Farmbrite- This software helps you keep track of your livestock of different species as well as your crops, your online farm site, your equipment, and more. Farmbrite also has a free trial that you can use to try it out. If you decide to go with it there are a few different plans for you to choose from. It can keep track of unlimited animals for $550 a year.
Easy Keeper- This software is similar to the other programs. It also helps you keep track of your goat genetics and milk production. The yearly performance subscription plan costs $297. There is no information online that says how many animals you can keep track of with their plan though.
FarmRexx- This software is similar to Farmbrite. It helps you keep track of your animals, crops, equipment, pastures, and more. There is a free trial that you can use to decide if it is the right one for you. The website, however, does not say how much the monthly charge is for the software. It also does not say the maximum number of animals that it can monitor.
AgSights- This software helps you keep track of your goats’ pedigrees, genetics, and progeny. There is no demo for this software, and it has individualized pricing so you have to contact them to find out what the cost would be to use on your goat farm.
Goat breeding does not need to be difficult. By following sound principles of goat breeding and being a lifelong learner, you can make your job of breeding goats much simpler. As you do this you will be able to enjoy newborn kids every kidding season and know that you played an important part of them coming into this world.
- American Dairy Goat Association. (2019, December 04). Dairy Goat Breeding - American Dairy Goat Association. Retrieved July 29, 2020
- American Institution for Goat Research, Getz, W. R., & Fort Valley State University. (n.d.). Genetic Improvement and Crossbreeding in Meat Goats Lessons in Animal Breeding for Goats Bred and Raised for Meat. Retrieved July 29, 2020
- Goat Extension. (2019, August 14). Goat Reproduction Puberty and Sexual Maturity. Retrieved July 29, 2020