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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I debated whether to post here or in goat management but my herd is commercial Boers and my market is meat so decided to try here.

I just had a 7-year-old Boer doe drop twins. She did, once again, a great job. She delivers easily and is an attentive mother. However, she was exposed to the buck from August to December and was the very last to conceive - in late December. In general, I have not had good luck with older does (I had a Boer deliver her last kids at age 13 so not afraid to let special does go long). Older does seem to have more fertility problems and are more likely to have delivery problems as well: kids birthed breech or tangled up or head back, that sort of thing.

My question really is: what criteria do you use in moving on breeding stock? Do you use a general age rule? Do you wait until they have a troubled pregnancy? And would you consider this doe's late conception as troubled? I'd appreciate any discussion. Thank you!
 

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I personally don't go by age, at least generally speaking. I've had a doe kid at 11. Despite the fact she went through and kdided perfectly I retired her.

Generally though, I go by how they handle pregnancy. If they go through keeping good weight, not getting ill or having problems. Kidding fine with little to no problems. Being able to raise kids without losing a huge amount of weight, or not producing enough milk.

If I breed a doe over 6-8 years old, and she has problems during labor(bad positioning/difficulty pushing) I give her one more time. If it happens twice she is gone.

Edited to add
I wouldn't see late conception a huge problem unless it happens next year/next time you breed her. Sometimes problems other than age can affect this. Mineral deficiencies, heavy worm loads, and other things such as chlamydia (at least in my head it did) can also effect this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SandyNubian - thank you! Great input. I may let her go another year. She's a nice doe and has done so well this year with kidding and caring babies. Good input on the late conception, too. Thank you!
 

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I too go off of condition mainly. If her kids just seem to suck the life out of her, she doesn’t bounce back fast after kids are weaned, and or the kids just are not growing as well as the does pervious kids, then I retire them. Last year I had a doe that I chanced even though it was against my “rule”. She was 9 and I never got a doe out of her. Even pulling the doe kid and just giving her a single I ended putting her down when the buck kid was 2 1/2 months old. So I won’t do that again.
We have this same rule with out cattle. My 18 year old just had a calf. A friend of my moms she goes off age. At age 7 they leave. She doesn’t want to wait for the point they are down in the dumps or wait and see if the calf is crap before she moves them along. One Boer breeder I know of, she sells at 6. I’m assuming she has the same reason as my moms friend.
I have had does up to 11 and have honestly never had them suddenly have kidding issues or could I pin point conceiving early or late being age related. I have noticed that when I have the buck with a good amount of does, the does seem to always come into heat at once. The more dominate does settle first. I have watched them and those does can get quite nasty at other does to keep them away from the bucks. My lower ladies are always the ones that kid a lot later then the others
 

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I know goats who have been bred well into what is considered "old age" and done better than any other doe. So I think it is based on condition, how well they deal with kidding, etc. I would not send a perfectly high performing healthy doe away just because of a number. That's all it is.

Now, if you really want my opinion (which no producer on here would), I do not believe in getting rid of goats for these purposes. But that's just me -- big 'ol softie. When I have a larger farm one day I will surely call up for some connections with breeders and accept those old lads! But for now, I just have to encourage people that when you do sell your goats, if it matters to you, is it possible to aim for a "good home" that doesn't land a death sentence? I am truly curious, I'd like to be educated on this subject... do you need to send them out for meat because you need that profit? Or would you send them to a pet home, other farm, etc. if you had the chance? NO JUDGEMENT, WHATSOEVER. That is not who I am or what I aim to do.
 

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No that is a very good question! I’m going to give my point of view on this ;)
There is only so many good pet homes out there. Sure there’s a lot of people willing to take a free goat. But is she going to be bred anyways even though her body can no longer take it? Or are they ones that they think they can toss with their lone horse and just ignore it, or one I saw they wanted a friend for their dog to play with (cringe). A few years ago I had such a sweet old lady, she was still “good” but when my sister bought some doelings she I gave her that old girl to kinda keep the kids in line and show them the ropes. She was 10 and I knew she only had so long left and this was a good option for her.
Last year someone wanted a goat because they lost one goat and just had a lone goat. I had a free Martin, it was my sons show doe so very much loved. I was going to give her to them until I sat down and read all the posts, and thank goodness someone had asked questions and gave suggestions! A dog got the one goat. Someone mentioned that the dog would be back. They said they had the fence fixed all is well. Someone said buy hot fence for the outside so the dog can’t dig back in, they didn’t have the money for it :(. They did not get my goat! I know it seems cruel to rather have the goat that has done nothing but good to you sent to butcher but a fast death is so much better then a slow one or being abused in any way.
Another thing is most people want a sweet goat as a pet. The one I mentioned above was NOT a sweet goat. She wasn’t mean, you had to really work to get your hands on her and she was not overly cautious about her horns when she was trying to keep you from catching her. She would not have made a good pet. She had fantastic kids. A great producer and mother but no way would anyone be happy with her as a pet.
 

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I'm wondering if you, @KBrasby, have regularly followed the practice known as flushing (feeding so to encourage the release of multiple eggs)?

If this is so, then it may explain why you have not had great success in older does, as most of her eggs would have been released already...

Note, I'm not criticizing this practice. But it does have very pragmatic consequences...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm wondering if you, @KBrasby, have regularly followed the practice known as flushing (feeding so to encourage the release of multiple eggs)?

If this is so, then it may explain why you have not had great success in older does, as most of her eggs would have been released already...

Note, I'm not criticizing this practice. But it does have very pragmatic consequences...
@mariarose Thank you. I have gently flushed my does. Mostly upped their slight grain ration a little bit and made sure they had ample time after weaning babies. I hadn't considered if flushing would affect older does. Most of my problems with older does has been difficulty kidding: kids coming tangled up or head back or a lot more breech. Do you think flushing could cause a later conception? I hadn't thought of consequences. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I too go off of condition mainly. If her kids just seem to suck the life out of her, she doesn't bounce back fast after kids are weaned, and or the kids just are not growing as well as the does pervious kids, then I retire them. ...
I have had does up to 11 and have honestly never had them suddenly have kidding issues or could I pin point conceiving early or late being age related. I have noticed that when I have the buck with a good amount of does, the does seem to always come into heat at once. The more dominate does settle first. I have watched them and those does can get quite nasty at other does to keep them away from the bucks. My lower ladies are always the ones that kid a lot later then the others
You make an excellent point about condition. The older doe I mentioned has a bit more trouble traveling with the herd since she'd older. She's the last one to come in from pasture for evening feeding (they all run in but she runs slower.) but her condition is very acceptable. I guess I wanted to avoid future problems by retiring her before she gave me problems.

However, she has been such an excellent mother this year - top notch - that I'm pretty sure she's going to get to stay on. All my does are great mothers but she has been the best one this year - experience, I suspect. Thank youj.
 

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I have not thoroughly read every response but what kind of minerals and supplements do you offer? How often are they giving birth? What is your stocking density? If I read your post correctly, you see a lot of problems with your older girls. Seven years old really isn't very old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have not thoroughly read every response but what kind of minerals and supplements do you offer? How often are they giving birth? What is your stocking density? If I read your post correctly, you see a lot of problems with your older girls. Seven years old really isn't very old.
Good questions. My herd of 15 adults has 7 acres of grassy pasture and access to minerals free choice at all times. There's more grass out there than they can keep up with. I do supplement with copper and selenium. The does kid once a year. The herd gets alfalfa during the winter months but free-choice pasture all summer. I don't really grain them -- just enough so they come up to the corral and are used to my presence. This doe is in good condition - as is the entire herd.

My younger does kidded this year without any problems. The only kidding problems I had this season were with two older does - and none with the younger, including four first-time yearlings. The doe in question did a great job and I'll probably keep her as I read responses and give her more thought. She's done excellently.

Thank you for your ideas.
 

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Nice to have you here! While I had goats, I spent all summer looking carefully at each individual, trying to make up my mind which ones to keep over the next winter. I made a list, with all the names in a queue order. Age counted in years was not important to me, but general health, as well as temper, and production.

My main purpose with having goats was the sheer joy of being with them, which of course influenced my choice of criteria a great deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was also going to say "They need more cobalt probably." but Karen beat me to it. So that's 2 votes for cobalt.
I've never used cobalt. I did a quick search and learned it's Vitamin B12. I try to avoid blocks but this one is OK for goats? Is a cobalt block a cattle product?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The only thing that I could add is that maybe the older does need a little more in supplements than the younger. Replamin Plus is a good one and easy to administer. I'd also suggest a cobalt block.
Thank you. I hadn't thought of that. Do I use the Replamin Plus as suggested on the tube? Or is there a higher dosage in this case? I will definitely add that to the older doe's regiment.
 

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Yes, cattle, but good for all ruminants. Don't get caught in the "It must be only labelled for goats" trap. The cobalt salt blocks are usually coloured a very pretty blue. Many people who are experiencing reproductive and/or growth difficulties in their herd see it ease when they give cobalt.
 
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Replamin Gel Plus is usually given 5 cc for 5 days straight, then 5 cc for 1 time a week. You still will need loose mineral, iodine (Replamin has none), salt. Cobalt salt blocks have iodine.
 
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