Proper care of both female and male goats is an essential aspect of goat production. This includes strategic vaccinations and dosing, supplementary feeding, selection of breeding stock, kid rearing and weaning.
Management of females (does)
Young females should be mated from the age of 12 months. Good nutrition ensures that the animal grows faster and ready for mating. It also increases fertility and litter size. If young animals are mated when they are very young (less than 8months) they will remain stunted the rest of their life and will have poor reproductive performance. A well-managed female can produce kids for about eight years.
Pregnancy in goats lasts between 145 –150 days (five months). A mature female can only mate when she is ready (on” heat”). The heat period lasts between 24 –26 hours. During this time she should receive the male. The presence of the male in the flock triggers heat. Coming on heat also depends on the nutrition of the animal. Signs, which may indicate that the animal is on heat:
- Shaking of the tail
- Mounting other animals
- Seeking males
- Continuous bleating
- Mucous discharge
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Pregnant females should be separated from the main flock for close monitoring, at least two months before kidding. This also reduces the loss of kids. At this stage, they will need quality feed supplements to enhance feed reserves in the body. This will ensure a healthy kid and enough milk.
Management of males (bucks)
- Male goats are known to be fertile at an earlier stage than females. In such circumstances, males have to be raised separately from females to avoid unplanned mating.
- Bucks have to be kept in good condition and fed at all times.
- Bucks can be selected at an early age. A male kid born weighing about 2.5kg or more kg could be selected for future breeding. Heavier and fast-growing bucks should be selected. Select bucks from twin births so as to increase the chances of twinning.
- Males not suitable for breeding should be castrated or culled.
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