My goats are 4-legged stinkers is what they are. Since I started learning about goats, I have heard/read many times how a goat runs on it’s own schedule, likes to “tease” its owner with pregnancies and kiddings, likes to cause mystery and create chaos. Of course, anyone with any sense knows even a goat isn’t that capable or intelligent! They are just animals, albeit loving and social ones. Right?
Yeah, right! This year, I have learned goats can run the show whenever they want to!! Or at least that’s the way it seems these days. For example, after all I learned my first year in goats, I was determined to have their nutrition right and everything set up for an easy breeding season this fall. I was planning to use 3 different, beautiful, registered Alpine bucks out of excellent bloodlines for my 3 registered Alpine girls. I was going to stagger their breedings (3 does) so we were never without milk in the spring (like last year), I was going to start breeding early so all kids were going to be on the ground well within time to get them registered, health inspected, scrapie requirements met, and so they were old enough to be drinking lots of milk during the move so I wouldn’t have to stress about a regular milking schedule during mid-May when we were moving. It seemed like a perfect plan.
Have you ever heard the phrase “You plan, God laughs!”? Yeah, I now think “I plan, the goats laugh!”
Breeding season arrived. The first breeding between Latte’ and Marcus in September didn’t take. The second breeding between Faith and Stallion in October didn’t take. The second attempt for Latte and Marcus in September proved they were completely uninterested in each other. All bucks and does had proven fertile in the past, so I was baffled. In late October, I hadn’t figured out my spring doe’s (Joy’s) cycle, so I sent her to live with a gorgeous little pied buckling named Blue (“Elvis” is his sire, so his name is “Blue Suede Shoes”). In mid-November, Faith came back in, so I took her back to Stallion and witnessed multiple breedings. In December, Joy tested pregnant (thankfully, lest I throw in the towel and forget goats all together! AAGH!). I was running out of time, as all goats were supposed to be bred by the end of November in order to have babies on the ground by the end of April. Then, in the first few days of December, Latte cycled again, so I rushed over to Marcus’ house. He had been leased out and wasn’t available.
Next life lesson in goat raising–desperation results in extreme measures!
I decided since Marcus wasn’t available, I would use the little pied buckling Joy was bred to–Blue. Have you ever heard that you should never lead a cycling doe past a mature, stinky buck if you plan to breed her to a younger, less stinky one? Yeah….turns out that’s true! Next to beautiful Alpine Blue’s pen was a pen that contained a massive, ugly, stinky, fully mature, red Boer buck, in all his blubbering, spraying, rutty, regal-ness (is that a word?). ICK! I was reminded of why I sold Stallion! Latte got one whiff of that big boy and told the little guy to bug off! She wanted nothing to do with him! I panicked. I told her there was no way on this earth she was gonna get her wish, I was on a time crunch, and she needed to cooperate. I even thought about standing near the big boy’s fence to try to block the view, but then realized I would only succeed in tempting him to pee all over me. I begged, I pleaded, and I finally resorted to holding her while the little guy did his deed.
Just slap me straight if ever think to do that again. Double ICK!
Since I was holding her, it was hard to tell for sure, but I think he bred her a couple of times. Some time later, the owner came home, and helped observe, but said it was really difficult to tell if he was connecting. Latte kept using her tail to cover up, but then acting like she had been bred. My friend, the owner, also observed the longing in Latte’s eyes for the horrid boy next door, and convinced me to give in and let it happen.
Remember, I was desperate. I need kids, so I can get fresh milk, because I have no idea if I will be able to breed them next fall! I need kids to provide extra mouths to eat the brush on my new property before it overtakes our farm!! I was desperate and knew this could be my last chance. I relented.
I took Latte next door, and created 2 very happy goats–a beautiful, well-bred, registered Alpine doe, and the other an ugly, smelly, gigantic, beastly Boer buck. (Sorry to offend you Boer owners! In fact, this boy is also well-bred, from excellent blood lines, and has produced a number of excellent 4-H progeny. I just don’t like Boers!) When the horrible promiscuity was finally over, I asked my friend, “What Now?” My doe had potentially been impregnanted by either or BOTH of 2 totally different bucks within 30 minutes. She told me I would have no trouble telling who sired the kids based on their structure and particularly their ears. If the kids prove Alpine, I can still register them. If not, I get to use them as brush-clearers for a few months and then eat them. Guess I can live with that. Not that I have a choice now that the deed has been done.
So, now we are into January. Joy is almost 2 months pregnant, looking thick in the middle (don’t tell her I said that), and due in late March. Faith is apparently NOT pregnant still. I may try to breed her again, may wind up milking through (I’m not confident she will cycle again), or, there is a possibility I will trade (or sell) her for another Alpine doe that is pregnant and due in April. A friend is in love with Faith, and I am in love with her doe, so it seems a good trade. It is up to my friend at this point since Faith didn’t get pregnant. Latte is unknown at this point, but I am hopeful. Unfortunately, despite my planning and best efforts, she would be due to deliver about a week before we move, meaning there is no possible way to get them registered. In fact, the vet will have already been out to take care of all health inspections, permits, scrapie registrations, etc. long before they will be born. I know of cases where kids have been born IN the trailer, so I am hoping that any official will see the kids are clearly brand new and let it go. Not much else I can do at this point.
Goats….remind me again how I got into this addicting mess?!