The success of a breeding season can depend hugely on correct preparations. Starting now should allow sufficient time to have everything in place to optimise reproductive performance. Some of the important factors to consider are:
The first step in preparing for the breeding season is selecting and removing does are not going to the billy. Reasons for this could be poor production, disease, repeated health issues or lameness, producing poor kids or personality traits such as bullying.
Select your best goats
Obtaining high quality replacements from your best goats is the priority, so these animals should receive particular attention to ensure they are in top condition prior to breeding.
Condition score has a significant effect on pregnancy rate and litter size. Go through your goats and segregate any that are thin. This should be done at least 8 weeks before breeding to allow them to put on sufficient body weight.
If browsing naturally outdoors, goats can regulate their mineral intake and deficiencies are rarely a problem. However for housed stock with a controlled diet it is vital to ensure that breeding animals are receiving adequate levels of minerals to achieve peak reproductive performance and strong, healthy kids.
Check the feet of the breeding does and treat any animals showing signs of lameness.
All animals should receive a booster shot for clostridial diseases every six months. One prior to the breeding season and another 4-6 weeks before kidding.
A faecal egg count should be carried out and a worm dose administered if required.
All of the above are also important for males. However it is important to check out the ‘business end’ of the billy. The testicles produce the sperm and should be large, symmetrical and firm - like a clenched bicep. The spongy epididymis runs along the testicle and is where sperm is stored. Any irregularities in either may indicate a problem.