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The ideal age for a dairy goat breed is at about 18 months, or the fall of their yearling year. Boers, if they are big enough, can be bred at the end of their first year, if they have reached over 80 pounds. One of the resons for waiting is so that they can store clacium and minerals in their bones as once they quit growing this process slows way down.

Goats should be bred by the time they are three years old as they are at risk for liver problems if bred any later than that.
 

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sweetgoatmama said:
Goats should be bred by the time they are three years old as they are at risk for liver problems if bred any later than that.
This is the first time I have heard this mentioned... could you elaborate a bit more on this? Are there any other things to watch out for in first time breeding of older does?
 

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THis is one of those things my vet who is a small ruminant specialist has said is possible. If you are going to factor in all possible problems this could be one of them. ALso, the older does seem to have more problems kidding sometimes as their pelvic ligaments are more fixed and less stretchy.

Not saying it will happen just that it could. I sometimes wait till the end of their two year old year but all things equal, wouldn't wait till later than that.
 

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About mixing breeds, the Alpine is smaller than her kin, maybe normal. However in looking around trying to choose a billy to breed with her some day, or even if I should.
At ksl.com in the classified area they have a goat section, there is currently a laMancha billy at 250+lbs, averages kids growth to be simular, with good attitides, and so forth.

In breeding, I would think that Size, endurance, and strength would be important.
I think a larger breed, the better ?
Can you breed to get some to like water crossings better lol or is that just trainng ?

As I am in the Middle of Utah, we have high desert area 5000ft but still 90's hot. And the mountains where much cooler.
The Saanens, seem to do better on overcast days, in the higher up areas.
I was thinking with the Alpine doe, mixing with either a Saanen, or LaMancha..

What have you Masters of the Goat Packers, in breeding, and actual usage found to be a hardy overall good mix ?

All replys would be good... I do have some time as the Alpine doe should be 2 this year, not sure when... but in the Fall to be safe.
Is there a breeding season for goats, or is it anytime kinda thing...?
And how long is the usual pregnancy as it would be better to try to time it in the spring, after the hard winters.

Ok, lets see what you with experiance have to offer me the green horn packer....
:D
 

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Most of the dairy breeds are seasonal breeders. Boers, Spanish and Kiko supposedly will breed year round. Gestation/Pregnancy is on average 150 days but they can go as early as 145 days to as late as 155 days. We had our doe bred in late Oct last year for late March kids and that seemed to work pretty well. We get some pretty cold, snowy winters here.

The tricky part if you don't own your own buck is timing. A doe is normally only in standing heat for 24 hours or less. She'll show signs of being in heat for a couple days before though. Being noisier than usual, bossier than usual, will flag her tail a lot, may try mounting other does and will have a slight discharge. Unless you get one that has silent heats and doesn't really show any signs at all. Some people leave the doe in with the buck for an extended period of time (from a week to six weeks) but then you don't have an exact due date. It's better if you know your does cycle because then you will know for sure what date she is due.

You can breed for temperament as well as conformation, size etc. If your doe is on the small side though I wouldn't go with too large of a buck. Supposedly they won't have babies larger than they can handle but I know in other animals this can be a problem as the baby can be too large to pass through the birth canal causing delivery complications. Selective breeding is actually a pretty slow process. It can take numerous breedings/generations to get the final product you were initially breeding for.

As for which crosses work best for packgoats. I'll leave that to the more experienced packgoat breeders to answer since I am still experimenting with that one in my own herd. I am real curious to see what some of the crosses are and the what and why of the breedings.

Geez... didn't mean to write a book but hopefully that helps some.
 

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also,

before you think about breeding, read tons of material on birthing problems in goats and raising lambs. Everything can go well but IF it something goes wrong, it goes REALLY wrong - one of the laws around goats, anyway.

Also think about how you want the kids to grow up: dam raised, bottle fed, mixture of both.

Is the doe CAE-negative, CL-negative? Do you have the time to properly (!) bottle-feed kids over weeks resp. months if she's not?

and a lot of other things to consider, as well.
 

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I breed dairy goats for milk mainly.. and the general rule is 80 pounds or one year.. whichever comes last. meaning is the doe reaches 80 pounds at 8 months.. wait till shes one year to breed her ( aka have her freshen as a yearling for seasonal breeders like alpines) or if shes a year and still only weighs 65.. wait till she hits at least 80 pounds ( meaning wait till she's two to have her freshen)

and if she's a smaller doe.. i would breed her to a buck around the same general size, or one known to throw lower birthweights on kids. i think crossing the alpine with a saanen would be good.. since the breeds are around the same general sizes.
 

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This is interesting reading. I just purchashed what I hope to be a good breeding and milking doe. Mother was a huge Saanan and the buck was a big Lamancha with a pinch of Alpine. I will be looking around my area for a good big buck to breed with her.

I hoping for a big Saanan/Alpine cross.
 

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Make sure anything you propose to use for breeding has been tested for CAE and CL. Too many potential breeders have ended up having to put to death kids that cam eout wrong.

If you have a very large doe then bigger tends to be better, but there's a lot more to packgoats than size. Temperament, soundness, length of useful life, all play a part.
Also, a breeder who is serious will have started with goats that are from a herd that has been looking for and culling for the same attributes as you want.

My original genetics can be traced back in a direct line to the 1940's so have been culled for every possible thing including, how fast their hooves grow and how thick their hoof walls are. You might get lucky breeding with the buck down the road but with a history you have some guarantees of making a good packgoat.

If you aren't willing to do your homework about kidding and diseases of does, then you won't be ready when it happens. Kidding is not for the faint hearted. When things go wrong they go really wrong and often even the vet can't get there fast enough to fix it.

Charlies and my goats are Boer/Saane and ALpine, and now some Ober and Lamancha thrown in. But the base was boer saanen with the longest legged goats we could find, which is not easy with Boers.THen we bred back to 1/3 to 1/4 Boer to keep the muscle and bone size and add bone length and energy.

The fourth generation of this cross started giving us goats that had that Goatfeathers' look, long and BIG!
 
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