You may have heard the “Does’ Secret Code of Honor.”  I know this is dealing with kidding, but I have decided they have a seperate, as-yet-unknown code of honor for breeding season as well!  You see, last year, in hopes of avoiding the crazy stories I’d heard about, I did an even crazier thing and bought a buck (go ahead, hold your nose and say “EEEEWWWW!” now).  Except for the putrid aroma that drifted throughout the neighborhood and caused all the neighbors within 1/2 mile radius to hate us, life was so easy when it came time for breeding.  The buck would stand on his side of the fence, while the does paced up and down their side of the fence, wagging their tails, crying for love.  Because of the double row of electric wire, no breeding could happen until I brought the doe over to the bucks pen for servicing.  It was the picture of controlled-breeding perfection.  I witnessed every breeding, every heat cycle, and was left with two satisfied goats when it was over, one of which went on to produce adorable babies 5 months later.

 

Then, the crazy buck ran out of does to breed at my house, and lost his mind trying to get to the does across the street.  He began jumping every fence and gate and overcoming every strand of hotwire we had on the place.  Thus, his last day here was spent literally tied to a tree to keep him away from the neighbors screaming girls, until the new owner could come and pick him up.  You can read more about our last few weeks here and here.

This year, I decided to do it the more common way.  First, I brought a cute little descendent of Elvis (the goat, not the singer) to stay for about 2 weeks, to fully cover Latte’s cycle window, and to hopefully figure out Faith and Joy’s cycle as they flirted through the fence.  Well, I made the not-so bright decision to house Latte with the buck, mainly so I didn’t have to worry about him pulling any of Stallion’s fence-jumping antics, risking my other does from getting bred by him.  Of course, this meant I never saw Latte get bred.  I can only hope for now.

Faith, on the other hand, was considered a success, as I no doubt witnessed her in full-on heat while he was visiting.  I marked the date, then, as her next cycle approached I watched her like a hawk.  On day 18, I took her to Stallion’s new home to be boarded for a few days.  (Wouldn’t you know, he is now comfortably housed behind a puny, little 3.5 foot fence, and stays put!  Blasted buck!)  Though the breeding wasn’t witnessed, all signs pointed to her having been bred the next morning.  Stallion was all over her, and then by that afternoon, he had lost interest completely.  And she smelled to high heaven like he had been all over her.  We left her for a total of 5 days, ensuring full-coverage of the expected cycle, then brought her home.

A few days later, she started becoming unusually talkative.  Over the next 2 days, she started talking with increasing decibels and frequency, until last night, she literally SCREAMED, frantically pacing her pen for a solid 30 minutes.  I went out to milk and feed as usual, and she was flagging her tail like crazy and literally threatening to mount me as I milked (thank goodness her head was nicely captured in the stand!).  She was acting like she was clearly in heat and looking for a buck.  Yet, it made no sense.  I double checked my calendar, and everything seemed right for her to have already been bred.  Then, I remember what happened last year.  SAME thing!!  She cycled every 3 weeks like clock-work until being accidentally bred when Stallion jumped that fence.  Then, EXACTLY 7 days later, she seemed to come back in heat, and allowed herself to be bred again.  Of course, she delivered a single, large doeling smack dab between the two due dates, so I don’t know which breeding caused her to conceive.  Now, this year, she seemed to be cycling in 3-week intervals, I am fairly certain she got bred, and exactly 7 days later, she acts in heat again.  Naturally this time, I didn’t have a vehicle to get her back to Stallion.  I am HOPING with severe intensity that, since the same thing happened both years, it is just early-pregnancy hormones throwing her for a loop, and maybe this will be her way of telling me she conceived.

Don’t be fooled by that innocent face–the little stinker!

UUUGGHH!  These goats can certainly drive a person crazy!!  They have human insanity down to a science!!  It only makes it worse this year that I am in such a rush to get them bred, so all babies are on the ground with enough time for me to get them registered before we move (required for tattoo and ID regulations for transporting interstate).  So, in order to attempt to bring some closure to the situation, I am going to pregnancy-test my goats this year.  Yup, you heard right.  I don’t have time to play this year.  I considered milking through, but with so many variables next year, I decided against it. Latte has hit her 30-day post-breeding mark, required for the test, and I have seen no signs of heat.  We will be drawing blood this weekend to submit for the test.  I will watch Faith 3 weeks from now, make arrangements if need be for her to return to Stallion, and preg-test her as soon as we pass the 30 day window for the suspected breeding.  Then, sometime in the middle of all that, I will be shipping Joy off to a buck to get bred.  I haven’t yet decided which one I want to use for her.  I also haven’t seen any signs of heat out of her yet, so I don’t have a clue when she’ll be ready.  Then, I have pretty much decided, I am buying a spring buckling to take back to the farm with us.  It will complicate things a little, trying to keep him seperated, though I plan to also keep most of kids/wethers next spring to help us clear land back at the farm.  Thus, he will have plenty of company.  Then, I will use him for breeding next fall, and then figure out what I want to do with him the following year.  I will pray that his smell will not be too intense come fall, and I will try to buy my neighbor’s affections with lots of eggs and whatever other farm surplus we can come up with.  Boy, come breeding season, you really have to pick your battles–with the main choice being between stinky bucks or crazy does!

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