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Dairy Goat A to Z: Breeding, Kidding and Milking

| 3/30/2017 10:03:00 AM


From Your Own Hands: Self Reliant Projects for Independent Living

Most dairy goat breeds have a clearly defined breeding season and will go into heat during the fall and early winter, generally from August to December-January. Gestation period lasts around 20 weeks, so kids will be born in late winter and early spring. If you have several goats, you can schedule breeding so that, for example, some of your does are bred in August-September and some in December-January. This way the milk production of your herd will be a lot more consistent and you’ll have milk practically year-round.

The natural breeding pattern for goats is to kid once a year and, though some people breed their goats twice a year, I don’t think it’s good practice or healthy for the doe.

Whether or not you keep a buck is a decision depending on the size of your herd, your facilities, how much you’re ready to handle and what other breeding options you have. I wouldn’t advise new goat owners to keep a buck, as they can be very rambunctious and difficult to control, especially during rut.

In fact, I’d say that ideally, people just starting out with goats are best off with getting 2-3 does that have been bred or are already in milk. This will give you plenty of time to grow comfortable around goats, learn to milk and handle them, etc, until the next time they need to be bred.

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