Monsoon Season is my favorite time of year here in Arizona, the grass comes out of hiding, the goats get to browse, and our road turns into a river, making it appear as though we go mudding every day before work. Recently I had the rare opportunity to spend all Sunday at home with the animals. I let the chickens out of the coop and my growing bucks out of their pen. They were all hanging out together under the mesquite tree, enjoying one another's company. I was glad the battery in my camera was charged!
In regard to breeding season, I have made my plans and they are being executed. I really hate having kids born late in the season so I am experimenting with my buckling and their young age. Timmy was born mid March and Marcus was born early April. So as of August 15 they are only about 5 months old. I decided to try since they are my only bucks, in my defense, they were already starting to "act the part" on each other, so I think the hormones are kicking in at least. I have noted that they do not have the "buck" smell that most bucks have, the one that seems to taint the milk and that makes my mother run from them when they are both out.
I am fairly sure that Marcus has already been successful with Jane, he is also in the pen with Fly By, although I'm not certain she has been bred yet. She is young, but she made weight. I'm expecting Jane will be due on January 13, 2014.
Since I work full time, I am unable to watch the actual servicing. Instead, I have to watch their mannerisms and determine the status. I wish I was able to do AI or one-day servicing, but I am not yet able, so I stick to the 30-days-with-the-buck and watch as best as I can when I am home.
And just for the record, does anyone feel as though they are playing musical pens when breeding season comes around? I am constantly playing out different pen situations as I have a large pen that is split into three sections and another that is separate from everything (my quarantine pen). It's like that riddle with the farmer who has to move the hay, the goose, and the fox across the river, but, because the boat is small, he can only do one at a time. He can't leave the goose with the hay or the fox because he'll either eat the hay or get eaten by the fox. I can't have the young doelings with their dam since they will drink her milk, nor can I have them with the bucks because they are too small to risk breeding. I can't have this doe in a pen adjacent the bucks as I risk milk contamination. And, I must separate the bucks when breeding so there is no question of the sire. Exhausting, but a real-life riddle.
Why do I feel the need to continually shop for goats on the Internet? We are driving on the road to Mississippi to see family and in between playing with the baby and taking turns driving, I'm googling Nubians. Today I found that my husband's family lives fairly close to 2-G Farm and Pruitteville, might be calling them in the not-too-distant future.
My head has been spinning with breeding season. The hardest part for me this year has been waiting on the bucks to grow, they were born mid-March and early April, so they are just starting to take an interest in what they were brought to the ranch to do. I excited, but I hate that I won't have any January babies. I might get lucky in February, but the jury is still out.
In an ideal situation I keep one goat in milk through November and December, that doe kids in early March. The others get dried up in November so they have 2 months off before kidding in late January or February. In Southern Arizona the weather never really gets too cold to be dealing with kids, if it's still a little brisk I put out a heat lamp like I use for the baby chicks. That with straw and they are peachy. I had my babies in late March and early April this year and it felt too late, my last goat kidded in June, that was rather odd and has really thrown off the cycle. I think this fall and winter I will keep Anabell in milk and breed her for March babies since she kidded so late. Then the others I will shoot for early February kids. The boys started "practicing" on each other so I feel they have earned the right to give things a go with the ladies.