Happy Fall, goat sponsors! Here we are in November and we have already made it through yet another milestone on the ranch - goat breeding season!
The breeding season started strong this year and went by very quickly; it began with the first “goat date” being held on October 1 and within 1 week 31 of our 40 does had already come into heat and been set up with their debonair bachelor buck.
By the end of the second week, 36 of the does had had their dates. That is over 75% of the entire herd being bred within just one week and 90% within two weeks of the start of breeding season! If you would like to know more about the breeding season, read all about it and watch our video featured in the Breeding Season blog on our website.
For current goat sponsors, here's a list of the 10 does and their breeding season updates:
- Wanda - She had her goat date with Steve on October 10. Based on our data, her 2023 due date will be March 8.
- Stephanie - She had her goat date with Smooth Criminal on October 15 and has an expected due date of March 13, 2023.
- Turmeric - Turmeric had her date night with Smooth Criminal on October 20. Her due date is March 18, 2023.
- Bella - She was bred with Smooth Criminal on October 9 and has an anticipated due date of October 9, 2023.
- Poppy - Poppy had a date with Smooth Criminal on October 6 and is expected to give birth on March 4, 2023.
- Kimchi - Kimchi had her date with Steve on October 7. She's due March 5, 2023.
- Betty Lou - She had a romantic date with Lilikoi on October 8 and is due March 6, 2023.
- Mary Anne - Mary Anne also had a date with Lilikoi on October 2 and is due February 28, 2023.
- Paprika - Paprika went on a date with Smooth Criminal on October 3. She's due March 1, 2023.
- Sorrel - Sorrel and Steve got hot and heavy on October 3. Her expected due date is March 1, 2023.
While it is common for the does to have their heat cycles together, this is still an uncommonly fortuitous start to the breeding season which will result in an equally swift start to our kidding (birthing) season next March.
Each doe has an average of a 149 day gestation, so this sets us up to have 90% of our kids born within the first two weeks of March next year. This will mean lots of hard work and late nights for the goat crew next March, but we always find this time of year to be extremely rewarding as we help our beloved does bring the next adorable generation forth.
Now that we have made it through our breeding season, we are swiftly approaching another milestone in the herd; the end of milking season.
Every November we call our milking season to an end so that we can give our now pregnant does a bit of a rest over the winter months, which allows the doe’s bodies to use all their nutrition for growing next year’s healthy youth.
For now, the next two weeks will be filled with just once per day, rather than twice per day, milkings. This decline in the number of milkings signals the doe’s bodies to begin to produce less milk. That way, by the time November 15th roles around, we are able to stop milking them completely.
Over the first week following the end of milking we will observe the does to make sure none of them are uncomfortable as their bodies adjust to the end of milking season.
After that, it is all just relaxation over winter, during which they will spend the majority of their time sunbathing, browsing their pasture, munching on delicious hay, and hiding from the rain in their cozy hay-filled barn.
Pictured above: Smooth Criminal and Steve snuggling before the start of breeding season. Apart from breeding season the bucks share a large pasture where they live harmoniously. During breeding season the bucks tend to be more dominating and aggressive toward each other so we separate them into their own "bachelor pads".