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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone around here has tried using the harness for the buck with the crayon in it.

I got one for my buck and it seems to fit well. Of course there is green crayon everywhere now, especially all over his front legs.

When do you put this on your bucks? Do you wait for a doe to go into heat and then out it on him?
 

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I have one but I never use it. I had too much trouble getting it on and with the high temps it was getting everywhere. I have heard of people just putting the some kind of marking dye between the bucks front legs instead of the harness and that working just as well. The harness is meant to be put on before you release you buck into the pasture/pen with the does. If you know your doe is in heat you don't really need the harness just look for the dirty tail area
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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The biggest problem with them is, lets say a doe has her head in the feeder and is eating and the harnessed boy comes along and just jumps up on her even though she isnt in heat. Now it looks like she was breed but wasnt.
 

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I tried one several years ago and will never go without after that. Kidding season is stressful enough that not having an exact breeding date is not something I want to add to the equation. Now if you only have a couple does and want to watch for heats or use cidrs to synch them and hand breed the does of course a crayon would not be needed. But if you are breeding say a group of 10 to whatever then to me it is necessary. We feed and do inspections on animals twice a day and there have been plenty of heats that I never saw but the doe was covered in crayon to know she was bred.

Now of course you can't just put one crayon on and call it good for the next month. I have found switching colors every 4-5 days in the first two weeks with a group takes care of the short cycles. Meaning if you put 10 does in with a buck at least a couple will come right in within 24 hrs. Sometimes that is there actual heat, usually that is just the effect of being with a buck and there actual heat will be around 5-6 days later. So on day 4 I will switch colors so I know if she gets covered again and will then record the second date as the breeding date.

For the fear of a buck sneaking up on a doe and or the doe is stuck etc. Trust me you will know when those things happen as opposed to an actual breeding. The crayon marks will slide off to the side of the doe as she gets away or turns at very least if stuck. When a breeding takes place it is solid color on top from tail to the top of her hip.

When you switch crayons it is also a great time to adjust straps and make sure the fit is good and isn't rubbing your buck raw anywhere. Never had any issues with that personally but I try to not leave a crayon on for than 4-5 weeks without giving them a week or so without it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So do you wait until you think they are close to standing heat or do you just leave it on them? I do not keep my buck separate from my does.
 

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I used one last year, loved it, EXCEPT it left big sores on their arm pits. I did go ahead and swap out bucks every 2 weeks to let the one heal. It was great, but I still knew when my girls were bred before I got the thing. I can not for the life of me remember who told me this, so sorry Im not giving you credit :) but what they did was get back chalk, you could even use the one from the harness, and they put a line down the does back all the way to the tail, when the buck breeds it get smeared and rubs off on the buck as well. As for when, if he is with the girls but it on now :)
 

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Since there are different harnesses from different sellers that do the same thing but will fit a little different, I will say that I have used the nylon one from premier 1 supplies. Tried the cross your heart last year and didn't like the fit as well. Even tried it on three different bucks but ended up going back to their nylon one.

If the buck is with the does year round then I don't think a harness would work. Especially with boers that cycle year round you would have to have it on him all the time. Or until you are sure every doe is bred. Then by couple weeks after the first one kids you would have to have it on him again. Can't really give breaks because who's to say the night you take it off won't be the night a doe comes into heat.

Maybe someone with more experience keeping the buck with the does all the time will have an idea I'm not thinking of. I keep them separate so when it is time for a group to get bred I put the harness on and put him in there and record all dates and marks. Then confirm with ultrasound 30 days later to be sure the dates are right.
 

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We used one just the first 3 weeks we put the buck in and it helped with the due dates a lot, ofcourse if someone got missed or came back into heat we would not have an exact bred date on them. I liked it a lot. No problems with it, other then the buck did rub off a big chunk of the crayon on a tree, but left enough for it to still work. We are going to use them with all our bucks this year. That was our first attempt, we borrowed one from a sheep farmer that wanted us to try it. we were going to order some from Premier.
 

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We've used the nylon harness from Premier too, with mixed results. It's waaaay too big for the yearling bucks, so you have to get creative with a thread and needle or zip ties. We had a problem with it rubbing sores as well, and didn't use it again after the first year because of that. If I had more time and gumption I'd try lining it with some sheepskin to give it some padding.

We were able to buy markers that were designed for different temperatures and had varying degrees of softness, which helped reduce getting the color everywhere you don't want it.

I really didn't see much benefit to the marker/harness unless you've got a large herd or one that you don't observe on a daily basis. The girls are typically in standing heat for 12-24 hours, and the boys really starting paying attention to them a day or two before that. We've just got in the habit of jotting down who the boys are paying attention to, the date, the buck, and whether or not the girls were standing to be bred at the time. It's pretty easy to go back and look at those dates and figure out if it's taking multiple heats for a doe to be bred, etc. For the most part we do run a buck with the does year round- we do have a separate "nursery" group, but once kids are weaned those does will go back in with the main herd.

You won't get the exact kidding date this way, but how often does anything give birth on the exact due date? You'll have a general idea of when to expect kids to hit the ground, and most does give enough advance warning that you'll know when to really start keeping an eye on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the replies. Your collective experience is a real resource for me. I'm sure this harness thing is total overkill for my little herd of four. It's my first time with goats and since they are all crossbreds, I have no idea when to expect them to go into estrus. I'm sure next year this will be a lot simpler.

I do look at them twice a day but not much on the middle of the day.

I've had the harness on him for a couple weeks now. I got this one from caprine supply. It is a nylon strap harness and so far it is not causing him to have any sores. It does seem to loosen a lot and he's not the easiest buck to catch and restrain while i tighten it.

I am in Florida so I picked the crayon type for hot climate. The marker still gets on a lot of stuff and even a couple of my turkeys have marks on their backs. Go figure. It's already time to put in a new marker just from him rubbing it on his legs when he's lying down.

I'll let you guys know how this works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So just an update on this: the harness I bought from caprine supply was just a pita. It had to be tightened everyday I guess because of all his fence rubbing. My buck is a real jerk so this was not fun doing by myself. Occasionally I would just find it in a heap in the middle of pasture. He finally damaged it beyond repair and I threw it away.

So now I'm using the raddle powder. One of my does just kidded but she had to have bred before the whole harness thing because of the timing. The raddle paste is a little annoying because of how frequently you have to apply it.

I may say forget all this and learn a. I.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I just can't do that. It does sound easier as far as breeding dates, but the rest of it sounds like a total pita. Not to mention the lack of grazing space he would have after he ruined the small paddock he was in from not being able to rotate him, the extra cost of hay for him, higher risk of parasites, on and on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok I decided to try it. I put him behind some premier 1 electric netting. He was not happy about being separate, but he has not tried to get through it. From what I've read, this will not be enough when one of them goes back into estrus. We'll see.

So I have some questions about this. When do you put them back together after a doe kids? Right now I have a doe with two 4 week old kids that I am milking once a day. I have two other does that I think were bred but it's too soon to tell. One of them just peed in front of me so now I'm wondering if she really is bred.
 
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