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Basic Concepts In Goat Breeding


This article discusses the basic principles in goat breeding, which will serve as the foundation in understanding reproduction among goats. It will hopefully enable you to apply breeding technologies in your farms. This article aims to help goat raisers understand the reproductive phenomena in goats , properly select male and female goats qualified for breeding, time the breeding of your herd to most opportune periods; and strategize on ways to prevent the occurrence of inbreeding in the farm.

1. Sexual Maturity and Breeding Age:

  • Native female goats reach puberty at 4-5 months of age.
  • Purebred stocks on the other hand, manifest puberty when they are 6-7 months old. At this age, they should not be allowed to breed, as it can stunt their growth and produce weak and lighter kids.
  • Start breeding your native does at 8 months of age and when they weigh at least 20 kg; upgraded does on the other hand should be bred at 10 months of age and when they weigh at least 25 kg.
  • Make sure they are in good condition, preferably gaining body weight at the time of breeding. This can be done by flushing the does several weeks before and at the time of breeding by feeding high quality, lush pasture and giving additional concentrates or protein supplements such as copra meal and soybean meal. This practice will increase the number of eggs released by the ovary and the chance of having twins/triplets.
  • Bucks to be used must be 8-10 months and weigh at least 25kg if of the native strain and 30kg if graded.

2. Estrus and Breeding

  • A phenomenon that indicates that a doe is receptive to mating called Estrus or heat in goats may last for 1-3 days and may be observed any time during the day. Estrus period usually ends after 18 hours from the onset. If the female fails to conceive during this period, estrus will return 21 days after.
  • Encourage the does to come into heat by introducing a buck or placing the doe near the buck.
  • An alternative is to rub a piece of cloth on the buck’s head behind the horn area where musk glands are located, and bring the cloth to the doe. Let her smell it for several minutes once a day.
  • Estrus can also be induced by decreasing light and temperature simulating the short-day periods, which encourages heat cycles.
  • The common manifestations of estrus are:
    1. swelling and redness of the vulva
    2. mucous discharge from the vulva
    3. flagging of the tail
    4. nervousness and bleating
    5. mounting and being mounted by other does
    6. frequent urination
    7. lack of appetite
    8. standing heat
  • Breed females only when you observe “standing heat”. If estrus is observed in the morning, allow the male to service the female right that morning and repeat in the afternoon.
  • Breed females only when you observe “standing heat”. If estrus is observed in the morning, allow the male to service the female right that morning and repeat in the afternoon.
  • Ovulation in goats occurs 33 hours after the onset of estrus.
  • For maiden does, allow two services, although females can be impregnated at one service as goats are generally prolific. Breed the doe upon observation of standing heat and repeat 12 hours after. In all cases, breed the doe again if she is still in heat 24 hours after the first breeding.
  • Allow the buck to have its first service when he is 8 months old
  • Breeding load at this time must be limited to 20 females. The number of services can be increased gradually beginning at 1 year old. Breeding load is the number of services. At first service, ratio of 1 buck: 20 does is recommended.
  • If hand mating is practiced, allow the mature buck to have only a maximum of 4 services per week. The buck and one doe at time are brought together for servicing
  • Never allow bucks to run with the herd to prevent some of the doelings from being bred too young.
  • You can keep your buck as long as it is productive provided that he is not allowed to breed his own offspring to prevent inbreeding.
  • Aside from purchasing a new breeder buck, you can also exchange or loan bucks to other farms so that other goat raisers can avail of the genetic superiority of the buck and inbreeding is prevented.
  • Keep breeding records indicating the identification of the doe being bred, date of breeding and the identification of the buck used.

3. Gestation and parturition
  • Gestation in goats lasts for 147 to 155 days with an average of 150 days or 5 months.
  • Separate expectant females from the rest of the herd about one week prior to delivery. Keep them in separate paddock/pen for closer observation.
  • Watch out for possible signs of approaching kidding:
  • The udder and teats enlarge two months before kidding
  • Doe becomes nervous and bleats low
  • She appears hollow in the right flank and definitely hollow on both rumps
  • She may paw her bedding around
  • The doe becomes more and more restless and lies down and gets up; then lies down and strains slightly
  • At first breeding, the conception rate is normally 90%. This increases up to 95% on succeeding breedings.
  • Kid size at the first kidding is 1.5; for succeeding kiddings, it may increase to 1.7
  • Wean kids from their dam when they reach 3 months of age. One month after weaning, does can be prepared for the next breeding.

4. Inbreeding
  • Inbreeding is the mating of closely related individuals (e.g. sire father-daughter). It is considered disadvantageous to the offspring as this may facilitate expression of undesirable characteristics
  • Prevent inbreeding by avoiding female animals from being serviced by their father, son, or brother.
  • Ensure that your goats are properly identified and record of their ancestry is kept.
  • Also change your bucks every 1.8 years either by swapping with other good quality bucks from other raisers or buying replacement breeders.

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