View Full Version : A little bored--looking for opinions on a goat related question

Jun. 15, 2012, 07:23 PM
I'm home sick, so a bit bored, but I've been hemming and hawing about breeding one of my goats, so I thought I'd for other opinions.

In addition to my horse business, I breed Nigerian Dwarf goats. I have 3 bucks and 7 does, and I absolutely adore these guys. It's an absolutely awesome little side business.

I love all my goats, but one of them, my doe Cloudy is just the goatie love of my life. She was one of the first Nigies I ever got, and she is everything that I love about the breed--she is a lap goat, an exceptionally kind, funny, and peaceful personality. She is a good specimen of the breed, and has a decent show record, but she is one of those that outproduces herself--she just hits it out of the park every single time. Her kids have always sold like hotcakes, because they are colorful, have fab temperaments, and the doe kids all are huge producers (this is a dairy breed) with fab udders.

In 2009 she kidded two doe kids, and a wether. I kept one doe kid, and sold the other two (shoulda kept the other doe kid, but I had a waiting list). Then in 2010 she didn't get pregnant and I faced the possibility that she was done, breeding-wise, and I then called up past purchasers to see if anyone was looking to sell their Cloudy daughters, no takers.

Then, she got pregnant in 2011 by my buck, and while she was pregnant I kept saying to myself, "this is it, and I'll be grateful for what I get". And she hit it out of the park again: QUADS, two boys and two girls, all spectacular. I kept both girls, and the boys were sold before I could even take pictures of them.

She's 8 now, 9 in 2013. That's sort of late middle age for a goat.I know of goats breeding until they are 10 and 12.I had planned on retiring her from breeding and letting her live out her days as a pet here. Now I'm wavering, wondering if I should breed her just one. more. time. And keep any and all doe kids.

Other info: the last few weeks of her pregnancy and the labor were a bit tougher on her than other years, however, she had quads, which she has never done before, so I can't say that it was harder on her because she's older, or because she was cooking four of 'em in there. However, after the labor, she bounced back great, and looks super, and never lost any weight, even while nursing all four of the buggers. Vet, when I spoke with him, gave me a green light based on his exam of her, but did mention she was getting long in the tooth.

The quality of her babies, and my desire to build my program and future kids around who she is and what she produces.
Cons: She's older, and I don't want something to happen. (though of course something can happen whether they're older or not).

I'd like at least one more daughter of hers. But I'm not sure that's the right call.

So the questions, if you made it this far:

1) SHould I breed her again.

2) If I do breed her again, should I breed her to one of my other two bucks (so I don't end up with too many full siblings, which is cheaper and easier, but I do worry about in-breeding down the road), or should I try to get her to an outside buck, so that any daughters are outcrosses to all three of my bucks.

Thoughts? Silly, I know, but it's making me crazy, LOL.

Jun. 15, 2012, 08:59 PM
I just think she's too old. Not late middle- aged, but pretty much old.
Maybe Dwarfs live longer than the big boer types?
My goaties are 12 and 10 yrs old. I wouldn't breed my old gals, but then I have no desire to again.
Get an outside, super quality buck if you do.
Gee, I don't know, just hope you get more feedback before you go ahead :)

Jun. 15, 2012, 09:11 PM
If she is holding her condition well and has no health issues I would give it a try. Maybe an outside buck who is known for a smaller birthweight baby , who is refined in the head and shoulders so birthing is as easy as possible. If she has 3 or 4 this time you could always bottle 2 of them to make it easier also. We raise Boers and I have a Nubian who will be 7 next year and I plan to keep breeding her because so far she is doing great.

Jun. 15, 2012, 09:11 PM
It would depend on her condition - there is no way for me to be able to make a clear judgement call without being able to see and observe the doe.

For some, 8 years old would be retiring age. For others, they can happily kid again.

Most breeding does die due to kidding-related issues.

If she is in good condition and special attention can be paid to her diet, mineral intake, selenium, copper, etc etc, then I would do it.

Otherwise I would retire her.

ETA: I have a Nigerian Doe in amazing condition who is 7 this year and she will certainly be bred with everyone else in October. She is my best doe and I am praying for some doelings. I have her granddaughter who was born this year who is simply amazing.
Good luck!

Jun. 15, 2012, 09:29 PM
It sounds like you really love Cloudy—since she is older, and since she kidded with quads last time (and could well do so again), I'd say don't. You've already got three good daughters, right? You could always send one (or all) of them to a very good outside buck to bring in new genetics.

If you did breed her, it could be a rough pregnancy. She could have three or four bucklings! Most importantly, you could be facing some big regrets if something goes wrong.

Jun. 15, 2012, 09:31 PM
P.S. Some background on me: I have a 10 year old Saanen doe that I last bred when she was 7. I absolutely adore her. I also own her daughter whom I bought back when we decided Missy was done, as I didn't want to let those genetics go.

Jun. 16, 2012, 10:02 PM
Thanks all for your thoughts, I'm definitely on the fence, though I do believe the Nigies have a bit of a longer life span than the larger breeds.

I've sent emails to two fellow breeders who I really respect to get their opinions (one who I know has multiple 10 to 12 year old does breeding), and I plan on talking to my vet again before I do anything. And I do have a bit of time, I probably wouldn't be looking to put her in with a buck until September.

She just looks so great right now, frolicking around with her daughters, and my others, and I'm a little heart broken to think of no more cloudy babies. But I do adore her, and I know I'd be heartbroken if something happened to her.

(BTW, one of the reasons I breed goats is to keep myself from breeding horses. If you think I seem neurotic about this, you should have seen me breeding horses :winkgrin:)

Jun. 17, 2012, 12:22 AM
Hijack alert. How long to pygmies tend to live? I have one who is at least 13 but looks like she died three years ago and forgot to tell her. She is still fat as ever but hobbles around like she foundered in all four feet. She needs blankets in the winter now or else she shivers. Is she ancient or just crippled?

Jun. 17, 2012, 05:01 AM
Hijack alert. How long to pygmies tend to live? I have one who is at least 13 but looks like she died three years ago and forgot to tell her. She is still fat as ever but hobbles around like she foundered in all four feet. She needs blankets in the winter now or else she shivers. Is she ancient or just crippled?

I knew a Pygmy who lived to be eighteen.

Sounds like she may have CAE which is a form of arthritis.


Or she may have foundered at one time. Or may just have a different form of arthritis.

A fat goat is not a healthy goat - goats develop fat around their internal organs first, so a goat that is visibly fat is...really fat! Of course, you may just be seeing a healthy rumen and not actual fat, especially since Pygmies are cobby little boogers. No way to know without actually seeing/touching the goatie in question.

Good luck!

Jun. 17, 2012, 09:21 AM
I have had her since she was two months old and have yet to feed her so the weight thing is what it is. Her legs kind of bow out. She still wanders around when she feels like it and can get moving at feed time when she scavenges for dropped grain. I bought her a goat mineral block type thing a few years ago that was supposed to be everything they needed but ended up throwing it out a year or so later untouched so it is possible she has had some kind of mineral imbalance all these years that has resulted in her being messed up in her legs.