The average goat is bred every year so that they will “freshen” or become ready to milk. Once bred, the farmer will be faced with a future kidding. Well, kidding can be very hazardous if you live in a climate that has below zero temperatures during its winter months. These temperatures are certainly not conducive to a safe and happy kidding for your dairy animals. So what can you do about it; especially with a breed that doesn’t have certain times that they can be bred but instead can be bred all year long?
• Try having a separate enclosure for your buck (intact and breed able male goat). Or some people choose not to raise and keep breed able male goats, instead they time a visit to a local farm that does. Then you can more easily control when breeding takes place so that there is less chance of loss of kids because of inclement temperatures.
• Learn and live by, for breeding purposes, what the gestation period is for your type of goat. This will help you to more readily plan breeding and kidding to occur to more coincide with your climate. For Nubians, the normal gestation period is five months; but it may not be the same with all goat breeds so do your research on your particular breed. Once you figure out the optimal month in spring for kidding to occur in your area then count backwards five months. This will give you a better shot at a safe and happy delivery.
Being a dairy goat owner has many rewards. But losing a kid due to a poor breeding plan can be avoided with a little work. The normal thought is that a spring birth is desirable so that your doe can be milked throughout the year until the next late-fall, early-winter breeding time. Normally, a dairy goat will continue to give milk for three hundred days and then begin to slack off, or slow down. It’s as if they’re trying to give you the hint that, hey, it’s close to time to breed. So don’t despair when they start slacking off during milking time, they’re just trying to help you pinpoint the right time for a successful spring birthing. Most farmers allow some time after their goats start to slow down on milking for them to build up nutrients, usually a few months off is recommended before breeding.