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Discussion Starter #1
Well that is the question : )
I have 7 does. Three of them are between 17 and 19 months old. The other four are 4-5 years old. Three of the older does all had bucklings this spring. One doe didn't get bred last year. I'm not sure if I should breed them this fall or not. I sold my Boer buck in the spring since he was too closely related to one of the young does.
I guess I could try to lease a buck for a month or so this fall and get them bred. If I choose not to breed them at all, is there any problem with waiting until the young does are nearly three years old to kid for the first time?

If I decide not to breed any this fall, then in the spring I will buy an unrelated buckling and a couple of unrelated doelings to bottle feed.....cause ya' know, ya' got to have babies in the spring time!

Forgot to add, my one Alpine/Nubian doe will probably milk through next year so milk is not a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's an idea. My neighbor has a Nigerian Dwarf buck and I might be able to arrange to use him on the three youngsters. I don't really want any dwarf crosses, but it might not be a bad idea for FFs. The older gals could take a year off. I'm still thinking it over....
 

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What are the reasons for NOT breeding them? IMO every doe should be bred every year because otherwise they're just freeloading. As a buyer, I want to buy from a herd that breeds its doelings on time (only acceptable dry yearlings are doelings born mid-late summer) and breeds their does every year. (exception being owner or animal illness) If that's too much work or too much milk, then my opinion is to own less goats. I *hate* letting animals that are valuable and potentially productive just sit around. :p (this doesn't go for pets, of which I admittedly have a couple myself - but I don't breed them so they don't require hardly ANY input AT ALL - pretty sure they're indestructible. :D) If they don't take for whatever reason, they better be indispensable and worth the effort/time/space keeping them till the next year - thus far, I've just sold them if they're testing open when it's late in the breeding season and they *should* be bred. Sale barned a doe who milked 10lbs/day at peak as a FF. Would have loved to freshen her again but she was in with the buck with a marking harness, kept changing colors... and tested open. She was a good producer but not genetically my most important animal, so I sent her on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well the only reason for possibly not breeding them is "me". With my life as it is, working so much (6 days a week), taking care of DH (had a stroke years ago and can't do anything) being so busy and pushed to the limit. I just considered taking a year off from some of it. But....I do love baby goats! I personally would keep all of my goats forever, even if they were never bred again. I would also keep all my birds even if I never got another egg : ) I don't mind all the extra work of does kidding, I like it in fact. But I am often exhausted. I guess the real question is, would it do the younger does any harm to wait another year?
 

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I agree with Clovers_Clan I would reduce your numbers if you are feeling overwhelmed. As far as holding the younger does over another year...I would be more likely to breed them and hold your older girls over personally. Could you possibly keep all your older girls milking through or have you already dried them up?

Another idea..do you bottle raise your kids or dam raise? If you bottle raise you could breed everyone and let half dam raise then dry them up once they have kidded out. I would think 1 year wouldn't hurt and it doesn't sound like you are looking at keeping up with a huge dairy production. I know what it feels like to be burned out and I admit I have done this once or twice. I normally bottle raise but some years I have allowed the does to dam raise, I milk for a month or two and then I dry some of the older does up. I haven't done this in years but once or twice it has been needed for a season.

The real question is do you see your life loosening up in the next year or two? If not I highly suggest you cut back a bit because adding is always easier than selling. I cut back on my herd this past year from around 22 down to 12 and it is the best feeling ever! I can always breed or buy to add more (already thinking about all that jazz) but for now I get a much needed break and I can enjoy my goats again.

Justine
 

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Oh about the does being bred Nigerian Dwarf as a FF I love doing this. They have such an easy kidding and if heaven forbid something goes wrong you are dealing with smaller babies :). Well unless you have a doe like my 10yr old doe who just has to much room in there and then small babies can get tangled up :rolleyes:.

Justine
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm only milking the one doe, she will milk through if I want her to. But we only use about a quart of milk a day. I give the other gallon I get to my chickens and cats everyday.
The other two that kidded this year were a Toggenburg that dam raises her kids then dries up with out any problems and remains trouble free until the next kidding. And a Boer that raises her own kid with out any help from me. My other doe is Saanen who didn't get bred last year. When she does kid I let her dam raise unless I want all that milk for some reason (like the calf I raised last year). She dries up without any problem as soon as I need her to. Two of the youngsters are half Boer/half dairy and one full Boer, if they are bred they will all only dam raise.

So if I do breed them they won't be much trouble.....unless something goes wrong and there are a bunch of babies to bottle feed...or someone gets mastitis or something else goes wrong. You know how it goes. I don't mind one bit sleeping in the barn while waiting for does to kid (I sleep best in the barn!) and I like to bottle feed babies too.

Its actually the rest of my life that's overwhelming. The goats are the best part of every day for me. I'm sure some will relate. The very reason I keep goats is because I enjoy them so much. Sure a little fresh milk is nice, having some kids to sell in the summer is nice too. And now that I have completely given up on weed eating the goats are taking care of the fence lines for me. Here's a picture of them cleaning up the driveway area. If I had to do it, it would never get done.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I think I have made up my mind. The goats ARE the best part of my day. That's it!

I will stick only to raising a few babies next spring and not get into any other animals. No calves or pigs or anymore poultry. I'll see if I can lease a buck for October or November and get at least some of the girls bred. And maybe breed the youngsters to a dwarf buck for this first time. Thank you everyone for letting me kick things around a bit. I love my goats. I can't imagine what I would do without them!
 

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Legally blonde!
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Sometimes all you need is a listening ear :). I do want to let you know that if you need to there is no shame in letting a doe or two go to a new home. I love my herd and they are one of the best parts of my day as well but when I had too many they became a stress instead of a joy.

I am glad you where able to come to a decision though that works for you :).

Justine
 
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