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Discussion Starter #1
To be a first freshener? I have a Nubian doe that is 3 years old, and has never been bred. Should I bother trying to breed her this fall? Are there any pitfalls to breeding an older doe for the first time, the way there are with women who delay childbearing? Thanks for sharing your wisdom:)
 

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I'd go for it if you're willing to make sure you'll be there for the kidding. Make sure she is not the slightest bit overweight, too. I had a doe that was first bred at three years. She didn't have too many problems. Oh, and don't feed the doe grain until after kidding, to make sure the kids are as small as possible.
 

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Any healthy doe can kid. I had an alpine doe that kidded for the first time at 6. I personally know many others that had no problems at all. I have does that have kidded (not as first freshners) into their teens. Plenty of people hold does over and don't breed them until they're 2, and if they don't take, then 3, with no problems. I can't imagine why a 3 year old would have more problems than a yearling - which isn't even close to being full sized.
 

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We have a doe, who despite running with bucks almost 7 out of every 12 months for two years never settled and delivered. We gave her one more chance and she delivered twins as a three year old. She has since delivered two more sets of twins since. Her daughters all settled to kid as yearlings, thus far.

I took in a herd with does who had not been bred in 3-5 years, depending on the doe. There were two 5 year old Nubian sisters (and their wether brother). They kidded for the first time at five. One had triplets and the other twins. The doe who had triplets had twins this year. The other doe had other issues last year and never settled. Another of the does was a first freshening 3 year old Alpine doe.
No problems with any of the deliveries.

The concern with open older first fresheners is too much fat build up around the reproductive tract and the udder.
Make sure she gets lots of exercise.
 

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I had a nub/ boer doe that I waited until she was 3 and she *was* over weight some.. and she ended up dying giving birth, she had 3 easily and i helped her with them, then she layed down and and was still crying and pushing i ran and get my neighbor.. ( cow guy) and he helped her have baby 4 we rubbed her sides and there was STILL one more in there... we couldn't get it out... we Tried and Tried... and all of her babies died but one... i'm sure this probably has nothing to do with her age... but i was just sharing my story on it...
 

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It is amazing how much like human women goats are. If she does not ever kid, and she lives out her natural life, she runs a higher chance of breast cancer...just like a woman. So I'd try to get her to kid, but do it like it is done for an older woman, giving more attention to the process and also trying to be present to help if needed at birth.

I would not be feeding her much more than good quality hay, browse, grass and maybe a little alfalfa pellets. Lots of grain makes for bigger kids, and you really want to try for a lower birth weight in any first-timer.

Also, look over her conformation. Is she of medium or larger frame? Does she look narrow or wide in back? Also like a woman, a goat's body frame and "pelvic width" make a difference in ease of delivery.

Good luck. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, everyone. Carly is on the smaller/medium side, so I thought I'd find a pygmy buck and go for kinder kids. It seems that the kids would have smaller birth weights, if you can extrapolate from cattle breeding. Isabella here is a kinder, and I really like her size, especially since dd wants to show the goats for 4-H. DD's not very big herself!

Carly was getting dairy pellets when I got her, but I'm weaning her off. She doesn't "look" fat, but I've got plenty of pasture/browse for her, and she's not on a dry lot any more. I'm thinking about 1/4 to 1/3 cup just to train her to the milk stand when it's time, and then playing it by ear based on her condition as her pregnancy progresses.

Sound like a good plan over all?
 

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Sounds good to me. Remember to mess with that udder pre kidding so she gets used to it, too! hehe.
 
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