Most people here in the desert start breeding their goats in October. They dry the pregnant ladies up in January, and kids are born in March. I think that practice originated in colder climates. The kids are born when the weather is starting to warm up. There is plenty of grass for everyone to eat, plus the kids are not as cold. Then when the herdsmen start milking the mommas in April, they are not as cold either .
But I have never raised animals in country like that, so I have not adopted that way of thinking. In the desert; late February through the end of March is spring. It becomes summer sometime in April.
My thinking is simple. I want the freedom to sleep in during the holidays. When I am working, I would rather not be out there doing my milking chores at 3:30 in the morning. The coldest months of the year in the desert are December and January. It would be nice to sleep til 4:30 am on those days.
So I am breeding my does in August, or September. They will be dry in December and January. The kids will be born in late February just in time for Spring time in the desert.
When I asked buck owners if I could pay them a stud fee now, they looked at me like I was nuts. “Don’t you know when you are supposed to breed?” they said. “Nobody does that?” they said.
So, I decided to get my own goat. (ha!)
I looked around and here is what I found. It costs about $100.00 to leave a doe at a farm for a month for breeding. During that month, I do not get to enjoy the rich goat milk. Sometimes the farmer on the stud farm is not good about milking the doe out for you every day, so when she comes home, she is close to empty. So now there is not much milk for the whole 5 months of pregnancy. I have 2 does that give me a total of .75 gallons of milk per day. Goat milk goes for around $10.00 per gallon around here.
It would cost me $200 to breed my two does. I actually have another doeling who will be old enough later to be bred. Now that is $300.00 per year to keep my 3 girls in milk. Then there are 5 months instead of only two months that we are actually out of milk. The milk loss is .75 gallon per day X 30 days per month X 3 extra months ( if they come home dry), multiply that total by $10 per gallon and you get $665.00 per year for two does. I am not saying that I sell my milk, but that is the estimated loss per year. This equation is for Steve’s benefit. He is a business man after all and I have found that I need to do a cost analysis before I present anything to him.
When I started looking into bucks; several issues came up. I wanted a blue eyed, dark haired boy. I just love the way that looks. I found several lighter colored bucks, but nothing that really caught my eye.
Steve was really concerned too. “Bucks are mean”, he said. “Bucks are stinky”, he said. Both of us have always heard that the presence of a buck on the farm causes the girl’s milk to be full of hormones-giving it a “goaty” taste.
Well, after finally convincing him that it would be much cheaper and more convenient in the long run-I finally pulled the trigger. No- I did not shoot anything.
I bought a blue eyed, dark haired boy with an impressive pedigree. Though my current does are not registered, I can possibly earn or barter his stud fee with friends who do not want to keep a buck.
Bucks are generally not mean, but tend to be very friendly. Bronco Billy was a bottle baby; so he is very, very friendly. It is true that they stink-especially when they are dating. They have their own brand of musk, and they like to pee on their face to attract the females.
But I will get back to you on the milk thing. I have been told that if the doe is in heat and there is a buck nearby, the hormones go wild. But that is not very often. If it proves to be true, I will just keep Bronco with the pregnant does until I can keep a wether for him to be companions with. A wether is a male goat that is missing his testicles. Like a gelding horse. They are even sweeter than a buck, they do not stink and they make great companion animals. Sorry, special check keeps trying to auto correct it to weather.
I will give Bronco some time with Bambi first. She is the matron on the farm, and is most eager to teach this young man about how to romance a real woman.
Once he gets a chance to perfect his “moves” I will put him in with Elsa, she is bigger because she is a small Nubian. I bred her to a Nigerian last year, but it took some creativity on his part to make things work.
I will keep you informed about the dating games on the farm.