With all this talk about sheep breeding groups, I have left our poor LaMancha dairy goats out of the equation. Even though we have very flexible fencing and paddock areas, I have been scratching my head over how to get the goats together as a group with a buck, and just let them get down to business. That’s what we have done in the past few years and it works like a charm.
Traditionally, instead of keeping a buck, most goat keepers get their girls to another farm and pay to have the does bred as they come into heat. It’s problematic for us, since we both work and can’t just drop everything to get them to another farm, so we obviously need to keep a buck around. But with only a small pen inside the greenhouse available, we decided to wait until we saw signs of a doe in heat (difficult to miss with most!!!) and then put them into the pen with the chosen buck, let them have a day together, and then put them back in their usual grouping. When I wake up in the middle of the night and hear a doe calling, and come out in the morning to her plastered up against the fence, bleating and wagging her tail like a frantic flagger at the boys, it’s a pretty clear sign! This has worked for most of them, but Elf and Rhubarb may have silent heats. I haven’t caught them yet. So all but those two have been bred.
Elvis was extremely laid back and easy-going last year after we got him in with the does. Like the year before, when we had Stinky Pete, everyone was happy and well-mannered. I was able to walk amongst them with no trouble, feed them, check on them, etc., no problem. Well that was then, and boy, this is now! Elvis was fine until he had a visit with 2 does and then had to go back into the buck/ram pen. His world came to an end, and he lets us know it, every time we are out there. Oh my! And after he went to the trouble of peeing all over his face and rubbing it in the dirt… all dressed up and nowhere to go! He has decided that I am the cause of his frustration, so I can’t go into their paddock anymore… he jumped on me and almost knocked me down, making chortling noises the whole time. Do I look like a doe? After milking, I may smell like one to him maybe! No one I know can stop laughing….