Breeding season 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.
If you have dairy goats you also need breeding season to keep the milk supply going.
Yes, does need to be bred in order to continue making milk.
You would be surprised how many people ask me that. 🙂
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Breeding season can also be a stressful time for both the doe, the buck and even the owner. Making sure your animals are in good health is an important step that should not be overlooked.
A goat’s gestation (or pregnancy) is 148-152 days. If you want to know just when your does will have their babies you can use our Goat Gestation Calendar below.
This useful tool can really help you to pinpoint your birthing window so you choose the best time for breeding.
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 just 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 is also a good idea just in case things don’t “take” the first time around.
Once you have your time line all set 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 do not spend our time treating diseases. Clean and safe environments, good quality hay, clean fresh water, and a balanced feed all are an important part of this.
It is true that most goat owners do this as well, unfortunately, we have found that this is not enough. Especially if you live in a mineral deficient area like we do.
Luckily there is more you can do.
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.
Hi, Kristie! I am so excited you are here!
To start I would love to know why you decided to adopt a natural approach to the health and support of your animals?
Thank you for the invitation, Tracy, I’m happy to be here!
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 also apply that knowledge to our herd/animals as well.
I just love that you dove head first into education! There are so many herbs out there it can be quite intimidating when you first get started. I am happy to have your site for helping me to learn just what I need for my own herd and why.
What is your favorite herbal product and why?
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, or immune deficiency, or both.
Yes, I have to agree. I love both of these products and attribute them to the positive change in the health of our animals.
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?
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 couple 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.
Thanks so much for the reminder Kristie! You can read how to help prepare your bucks for breeding here.
These are such great and valuable tips!
Being able to talk first hand 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.
Happy Breeding Peeps!
“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[thrive_leads id=’6437′]