Monoestrous Breeding Season
Goat breeding season is nearly upon us! If you are looking forward to having kids in the coming months along with delicious goat's milk, now is the time to start paying attention to the behavior of does. Monoestrous goats should be coming into season soon as cool weather and shorter days trigger their cycle. By taking note of the following signs, you will be ready to introduce does to the buck in a timely manner in order to breed successfully and have kids in about 150 days.
During breeding season, the doe typically cycles every 18 to 21 days or thereabouts. Though there is some variation amongst does, that is a good general rule to follow. However, if you are not sure whether your does are cycling, all you have to do is keep an eye on them and sure enough, they will let you know.
Photo: Karen's Garden
Probably the most easily noticed sign of a doe ready to breed is a flagging tail which is sometimes accompanied by discharge. Essentially the tails of does will wag and flag to indicate readiness. This is done to convey to bucks that they are interested in mating and to basically issue an invitation. Present as well may be vulvar swelling and reddening as well as discharge that is thick and viscous, appearing clear or whitish in color.
Another classic sign of a doe ready to breed is a change in behavior. You may actually see your does take on some buck-like behaviors such as beginning to mount one another and vocalizing like a buck in rut does. There may also be some spitting and lip curling as well to indicate breeding readiness. Play fighting also begins to appear amongst does that are pastured together. They will rear at each other and issue head-butts and in general play like they are kids again.
Then, of course, there are the does that simply tell you when the time to breed has come. These ladies will become very vocal in addition to showing physical signs of cycling. They will call and call (and call!) for a buck, sometimes during their entire cycle if demands are not promptly met. It is goats such as this that often get bred first as their persistent vocalizations can be a bit nerve racking and giving in may be the only way to quiet things down once again.
The buck, too, will do his part to let you know when the does are in season. For example, bucks will begin to aggressively challenge fence lines that are shared with does as the breeding season nears. In response to this behavior, does will reciprocate with their own challenge. This comes in the form of butts to the fence with tails wagging and flagging away as they eagerly await the attention of the buck.
Although behavioral changes such as these tend to indicate breeding readiness, it is important to get to know what is normal breeding behavior for your goats. Sometimes a change could indicate another illness or issue going on, so pay close attention to goats during breeding season in order to come to know what to expect from them as well as what could potentially be abnormal or cause for alarm.
Are your goats showing signs of breeding readiness as shorter days are upon us? Do you also have goat babies on the brain? Tell us about it in the comments!