January 10, 2013

Breeding Plans - Awry Again

Why again? Because this isn't the first time things haven't gone according to plan. The first time was when we had zero success trying to breed Kinders. Now we have five goats, two bucks and three does: a Kiko buck for my two Nubian does, and a Pygmy buck for my Nigerian. Eventually we'd like to have only one kind of goat, a dual purpose Kiko-Nubian crossbreed that I'm calling "Kikobians." We really like Gruffy however, our Pygmy buck, so we keep him as companion to Elvis. Since Ziggy, my Nigerian Dwarf, is our only source of milk right now, for the time being we have four breeds of goats. And if we're going to have them, we might as well breed them.

Kiko buck in the foreground, Pygmy buck in back.
Elvis (foreground) & Gruffy (in the back). Wondering where the girls are.

Hopefully breeding is working according to plan. Both of my Nubian girls have had dates with Elvis, our Kiko. Ziggy has gone into heat several times, and each time I've put her in with Gruffy. Unfortunately, she doesn't care for Gruffy; she has a definite preference for Elvis. Considering their size difference however, I worry that a cross between these two would result in kids too large for little Ziggy to deliver without difficulty. Hence she cannot have the man she wants.

Ziggy went into heat again the other day. Again, I dragged put her in with Gruffy. Of course Elvis was watching and had much to say about it. To keep distractions to a minimum and everybody's mind focused on business, I separated these three by putting Gruffy and Ziggy in the woods, and Elvis in the front pasture. That's two fences and the buck pasture separating them. Satisfied with that arrangement, I went back into the house to paint the bathroom ceiling.

The Girls are more interested in something else.
Ziggy and Lily on the left, Surprise on the right.

Fast forward. I go out to check on things. I see Gruffy in the woods, but he's not hounding Ziggy as per usual. I wonder what he's staring at. A few more steps and I see what it is. It's Elvis in the woods! With Ziggy! Elvis had easily cleared two, 4-foot fences to get to her and was now busy keeping Gruffy away.  I can only guess as to what else has been going on.

Well, I went to fetch Ziggy who had had enough of the whole thing and was ready for her grain. Now I'm left to ponder the condition of all three of my does. Last year I blogged about a much anticipated kidding season, only to be disappointed when neither of my does was pregnant. It's impossible to verify without a blood test or ultrasound, and the fact that Surprise has become very thick around the middle may only be a very full rumen. Or fat. Her anticipated due date would be mid-March, assuming she settled. She hasn't gone into heat again, but I'm not counting on anything this year. Goats do have minds of their own.

Breeding Plans - Awry Again © January 2013 


  1. Oh, love always finds a way! ;) Too funny how you caught them frolicking in the woods.

  2. While it's possible that Ziggy/Elvis kids would be a bit large, most times they accommodate themselves to the size of their mom.

    Start checking Surprise for an udder. She should start bagging up mid to late February. That's really the best indicator. Also, the vulvar area gets quite swollen and brightly colored (at least in sheep - I'm assuming it's similar in goats, since the same hormones are involved...). That's another indicator.

    It's hard to get them to do what you want them to do, but then, they are goats...

  3. Ahhhh bucks are so clever:) dad and I share a buck when all his 12 momas are bred we bring Mr.billy over to our farm .he had 13 babies this past fall.we have 5 momas for now but seems all took and Mr.billy needs to head back home. can't wait for spring babies. That Mr. Billy , He is a true romeo stud:)( Spanish buck)

  4. Morning Leigh,
    It sure sounds as if your male goat had other plans :-)

    I find when I don't have high hopes, things actually happen and I don't get disappointed.

    I'm praying you have yourself some babies soon!!!

  5. Jaime, oh yeah, it was a hoot! ;)

    Laura, that's assuming he could hit so low a target, LOL. Nigies usually have multiples, which would help. She was pretty riled up herself however, so she may not have been cooperative due to the boys arguing over her.

    The thing about Surprise is that she never really dried up from two years ago. She still has milk. Every couple months or so I've emptied her out, but she has always filled back up again. I didn't know about the vulva. I know sometimes does don't bag up until after delivery. I probably will do the blood draws myself, and send the samples to BioTracking..

    SmithGang, Gruffy needs some of that Romeo factor! I think that's part of his problem, he's a bulldozer in the love department. Elvis though, has a little more finesse in his approach. LOL Glad to hear you're going to have kids this spring!

    Sandy, all my goats have other plans, LOL. What you say is so true about hopes and expectations. Especially when it involves animals. They never fail to have a different opinion. :)

  6. I had the pleasure of cleaning out the goat pens during the Love Boat run this year. One of the little Pygmy bucks tried courting me because I was the New Doe in the pen. The does in the other pens found me particularly interesting that day. It was only when I got home, that I realized how smart he was.

    He had rubbing against my glove which kept him from rubbing against my leg. When I got my gloves and boots out of the car, I caught wind of his Essence of Romance. He had been sending love letters to the ladies in the other pens! He would have needed a step ladder. The reality is that only a chastity belt will keep male goats from breeding if they want to!

  7. LOL guess you can't stop true love!

  8. Nigerians are good at keeping you guessing. I have three right now that are wider than they are tall. I thought they were bred 8 months ago, but they weren't. So the buck has been in with them all this time, and now I'm not sure WHEN they're due.

    Or like you said, maybe they're just fat.

  9. Barb, that's a Pygmy for you! They are very affectionate goats, even when they aren't in the midst of breeding season. (And then they don't scent you so badly LOL). We didn't have success breeding our Pygmy buck to our Nubian does, but lots of folks do, even when they aren't trying for a match. Some bucks are both persistent and clever. :)

    Stephanie, or raging hormones!

    Oh Catherine, I can so relate! That was the situation we had last year, pregnant looking does that weren't the least bit pregnant. I may send off some blood samples this year, just so I know for sure!

  10. I'm sure it will be fine. I had a pygmy doe get serviced by an Angora buck once, by accident. We didn't find out until she was a few days before birthing. She survived as did her kid.

    Have you had Gruffy's fertility checked? If he has a low sperm count or hormonal issues, it may account for the lack of interest by the does.

  11. Do you Mousse Elvis? I swear his hair looks like it has been coiffed!

  12. I was wondering about Gruffy's ability to perform also. I don't know if he has the goods.

    I hope that Elvis was successful for you though. Hoping for cute kids.

  13. Apparently, you can't stop love! Let's hope that all goes well in the breeding department on your farm. You need a good year! I am not familiar with the Kiko breed, but I adore Elvis' pompador!

  14. Nina, I've questioned Gruffy's fertility for some time. I know he's got the hormones, they're raging. But I'm not sure if he can deliver. I know he annoys the does by charging and tackling them when I bring them to him. One of the Nigerian does I had awhile back was very interested in him, except I wasn't ready to breed her. She stood with her rear end up against the buck fence for hours and he was more than willing, but he couldn't negotiate that obstacle.

    Barb, LOL. That's how he got his name!

    Renee, I'm hoping for cute kids too. Dan and I are discussing what to do if Ziggy doesn't get bred this year. Not sure I'll go to the expense of testing his sperm count, but the minis aren't realistic for us anyway.

    Susan, apparently! The Kikos are a meat breed developed in New Zealand. Not as popular as Boers, but much more handsome. :) Pompadours aren't typical, but Elvis has a striking one, doesn't he.

  15. I wonder if the matchmakers of old experienced the same frustrations as you with your goats?

  16. Can't wait to see what "drops" in the spring!

  17. Ahh, the fun of dealing with hormonal goats! When I had my Angora goats, my buck (Maynard) would breed all the does, though I never actually saw him in action, just the results 5 months later. One doe, Dee, he would court. I could always tell when she was pregnant, because he would quit letting her have first dibs at the grain pan

  18. I'm just plain dumb about some things. Would using a cheap pregnancy tester work on a goat?

  19. Judy, it's probably the same across the board! But who knew goats could be so fussy.

    Janice, LOL. Well put.

    Sue, that is so funny about Maynard and Dee. I read on a goat list that one gal says she knows when all her does have been bred when the bucks lose interest in all of them.

    Riverhauler, actually, I've wondered the same thing! I saw some cheapies at the $ store. The trick would holding the stick under the goat when she pees. :)

  20. Awww. You can't stop love, can ya? Darn pesky goats anyway. We just had a "date" here for one of my gals and...seriously? I couldn't keep the two apart. It was ridiculous. I'll be crossing my fingers that your breeding plans will eventually go according to plan. Until then...keep writing really entertaining blog posts for me to enjoy with my morning cup of joe. ;)

  21. Oh, Leigh! That is a great story! Here's hoping all your girls are bred and have safe, healthy deliveries. All my eggs are in one basket this time, and I'm a bit nervous. I preg-toned her and it was positive, but I don't have enough experience using it to be confident in my abilities as machine operator.

  22. Amy, goats definitely have a mind of their own! I'm certainly hoping I have kids to show in a couple of months.

    Michelle, whats a preg-tone? I hadn't heard of that. We're almost at the end of breeding season anyway, so except for Ziggy, it's about too late for the others anyway. Hopefully we'll both have kids to blog about this spring!

  23. It's an ultrasound machine that gives an auditory signal when it's waves encounter a fluid filled uterus. You have a window of time where it is accurate. The pregnancy needs to be far enough along to have detectable fluid levels, but not so far along that the kids have displaced too much of the fluid. The only way to get a false positive is if you accidentally aim the probe at a full bladder. The instructions actually suggest you "have the doe urinate prior to the procedure" (Ha!) to prevent false positives. Here is the website: http://www.rencocorp.com/preg-tone.htm

  24. Interesting! I can see how this would be very useful. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it soon. Sounds like you need more goats to get plenty of practice. :)

  25. Ha! No thank you! LOL! Not any time soon, anyway. I *just* sold four in a deliberate cut back. :-D

  26. All of this is probably not funny from your side of the fence, but over here? I'm totally laughing! Thanks for sharing...


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