Breeding season for goats is always an exciting time on a farm. Visions of little goat kids running around, jumping, and yelling at the top of their lungs as they look for their mamas is enough to make anyone want to give breeding a try.
Breeding goats can be stressful, especially on our herd. Today we will talk about how to prepare your goats for breeding season with natural support.
If you have dairy goats, you also need a breeding season to keep the milk supply going. This is something I really didn’t realize when I first started out. And the thought of breeding goats and kidding them can be pretty stressful.
That stress isn’t just to us, however it’s to our herd as well. Preparing everyone by encouraging them to be healthy and to have a strong immune system is the best way to get your herd ready for breeding.
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It’s true that baby goats are adorable, but breeding season can also be stressful. Stressful for the doe, the buck, and even the owner. Ensuring your animals are in good health is an important step that should not be overlooked. The healthier your herd is, the more they can handle the stress that breeding brings. This will keep them from getting run down, sick, or overrun with worms.
Before we dive in, let’s go over a few things.
How long is a goat pregnant?
A goat’s gestation (or pregnancy) is 148-152 days. This is important to know since you want to be sure your kids arrive at the time you want them to. We prefer to have our kids when the weather is a bit warmer, but there are others who prefer to have their kids in the middle of winter. Knowing when you want your kids is the first step, and you can then backtrack from there.
If you want to know when your does will have their babies, you can use our Goat Gestation Calculator HERE.
This useful tool can help you pinpoint your birthing window so you choose the best time for breeding.
As I said earlier, on our homestead, we breed our does in the fall. We like to have our babies in the spring after the deep cold of winter is done. This is easier on the does, the kids, and even us. So, for that reason, our breeding window is from October to December. Having a few months open for breeding is a good idea, just in case things don’t “take” the first time around.
More Breeding Help:
Once you have your timeline established, you will want to count back another month or two and use that time to prep your does for breeding. Just like with any animal, breeding can be a stressful time and can take its toll on the does and bucks rather quickly. For that reason, we like to make sure our animals are in the best shape possible.
On our homestead (and in our home), we have adopted a more natural approach. We like to encourage health as much as possible so we are not spending our time treating diseases. Providing our goats with clean and safe environments, incorporating rotational grazing, and giving fresh water are all important parts of this.
For many areas, this is not enough to ensure your herd is healthy and immune-strong. If you live where there is a mineral deficiency as we do, you will also want to supplement with minerals to help boost your herd’s health.
To help give you the best information possible, I have invited my good friend Kristie from Land Of Havilah Herbals/Farm. She is my go-to girl when it comes to natural support and treatment of our animals here on our homestead. Since we started herbal health and support, our animals have never been healthier, and our milk has never tasted better.
Tracy Lynn: To start, I would love to know why you decided to adopt a natural approach to the health and support of your animals.
Kristie: My son was sensitive to cow milk from the store, so I purchased our first doe in milk. We already chose natural options for our family, so I did the same with our new herd. I earned my Master Herbalist and Aromatherapist certifications several years later, which has helped me to apply that knowledge to our herd/animals as well.
Tracy Lynn: What is your favorite herbal product and why?
Kristie: That is a hard choice. I have two formulas that I absolutely will not be without: Our Parasite Formula and the Vitalerbs Formula. They go hand in hand. If you are struggling with parasites in your herd, there is an underlying cause for that which is generally either nutritional deficiency, immune deficiency, or both.MenuProducts SettingsPreview Get Code Add Text and Featured Product Options Clear All Search Add Manna Pro Goat Mineral Supplement – Made with Vitamins & Minerals to Support Growth & Development – Contains Ammonium Chloride – Microbial Blend for Digestion – 8 lbs https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51XvMtXxPlL._SL500_.jpg LBH Market Little Giant Mineral Feeder 3.5 Qt with Fasteners for Goats and Horses https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/313cLyxwPwL._SL500_.jpg Ridley 10993 18LB Goat Care Pail – Quantity 1 https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/419cvqGKgzL._SL500_.jpg MUYG Himalayan Salt Lick Natural Minerals Block on Rope for Horses,Cattles,Deer,Goat and Other Livestock Long Lasting Original Pink Salt Lick (2.4-3.3 lbs) https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51Dh8kg9NCL._SL500_.jpg 5228 characters Import Code Copy to Clipboard
Manna Pro Goat Mineral Supplement – Made with Vitamins & Minerals to Support Growth & Development – Contains Ammonium Chloride – Microbial Blend for Digestion – 8 lbsLBH Market Little Giant Mineral Feeder 3.5 Qt with Fasteners for Goats and HorsesRidley 10993 18LB Goat Care Pail – Quantity 1MUYG Himalayan Salt Lick Natural Minerals Block on Rope for Horses,Cattles,Deer,Goat and Other Livestock Long Lasting Original Pink Salt Lick (2.4-3.3 lbs)
Tracy Lynn: Breeding can sure take its toll on our goats; do you suggest any herbal support we can begin now to help our gals be in top shape?
Kristie: The most important thing that we need to cover to prepare for breeding, is to make sure that their nutritional needs are being met. I use Vitalerbs Formula along with two or three additional herbs to increase their access to copper and selenium since we are in a deficient area of the country. I may also add a high-quality wheat germ oil for the does, if needed. Wheat germ oil is a “placental glue” and also supports our girls nutritionally, which helps them conceive and carry the pregnancy successfully. If there is a concern about gluten with the people in your household, consider using Hazelnut oil in place of wheat germ oil.
Don’t forget your bucks! I make sure that my bucks are given Vitalerbs to ensure that they are adequately nourished and ready to service the does at the proper time. I have more information about natural raising on my website: www.landofhavilahfarm.com.
I also keep a close eye on my bucks during breeding season – they are under extra stress at that time, so parasite bloom can sneak up on you, and you can end up with a problem on your hands. Make sure to check their eye membranes for anemia, and get your hands on them at least a couple of times a week to monitor their body condition (weight). Here in Michigan, my bucks get long, thick coats, which can hide a loss of body condition until it is quite advanced. Get your hands on them to check their ribs and the fleshing behind their front elbow to judge body condition.
Being able to talk firsthand with a certified Herbalist is so valuable, and I hope it gives you a good overview of the benefits of natural support.
So many times, we think if our animals are not sick, then they must be healthy. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
With goats especially, it can be hard to know there is a problem before it’s too late. The “hands-on” practice that Kristie gives above is an amazing tip we should regularly do. Know your animals from head to toe so you can more easily recognize when something is off.
Once I started a natural support approach to raising my animals, the quality of my herd increased more than I thought possible.
Educate yourself, find support from people who know, and be proactive with the health of your animals.
More Goat Breeding Resources:
“Several years ago, we started our very first website. I had done lots of research about how I could raise my animals naturally and I desired to share that information and explain how we implemented those things here on our farm. Since I place a high priority on education, we started the Natural Raising section of our website to help others in their quest to be more natural in the way they raise their animals. Over the years, people started emailing and asking about where they could purchase the herbs that I mentioned, and there were times that they came back asking how to use the herbs that they had purchased, but they had the wrong herb or the wrong form of that herb. I started wondering about how we could meet the need and help people throughout the purchase process to ensure that they got exactly what they needed. We wanted to provide one place that offered a large selection of single herbs, Dr. Christopher mixes, empty capsules, encapsulators, tinctures, salves, etc. at good prices, and we wanted to know that the herbs were efficacious and FRESH, SO I started Land of Havilah Herbals. Online classes were recently added to our website as well, where I teach the safe and efficacious use of both herbs and essential oils for both animals and humans using the knowledge that I’ve gained as a Certified Master Herbalist/Aromatherapist.” www.landofhavilahfarm.com