Learn Synchronized Breeding

November 27, 2009

Dr. Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, Professor, Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, North Carolina State University, will be the guest speaker at the SVMGA business meeting Thursday, December 10, 7 p.m., at the Halifax County Ag. Marketing Center.  Dr. Luginbuhl, an extension specialist in meat goats, will focus on the importance of synchronized breeding of meat goats.

Some SVMGA members have heard Dr. Luginbuhl present programs on meat goats at various seminars and consider him an outstanding speaker.  His topic is one that SVMGA members have suggested may help the association better meet the demands of buyers.

The following are excerpts from a 2002 Animal Science Facts publication, “Preparing Meat Goats for the Breeding Season,” published by Dr. Luginbuhl:

“Breeding in a very important aspect of any meat goat operation. But preparing the breeding does and buck(s) for the breeding season could have a large influence on the outcome and the profitability of the operation,” begins Dr. Luginbuhl’s article.

Failure to reproduce, low twinning rates and problems with milk may result if does are too thin or overly fat, the publication continues. “Overly fat does can suffer from pregnancy toxemia (ketosis) or dystocia, but fat does are rarely a problem.”

“Body condition, refers to the fleshiness of an animal. Simply looking at a goat and assigning it a body condition score can easily be misleading. Rather, does should be handled physically. The easiest areas to feel and touch to determine the body condition of an animal are over the ribs, on either side of the spine. In well-conditioned goats, the backbone does not protrude and is flush with the loin.”

Dr. Luginbuhl’s article explains that if the animal’s ribs are not visible and it has a smooth coat, then more than likely the doe will be in good condition. The body of does that are in relatively poor condition will look “angular.” Their rib bones will be visible and the backbone and edges of the loins will be sharply pointed and easily felt.

“Producers should develop an eye and a touch for the condition of their animals and strive to maintain a moderate amount of condition on their goats. The ideal body condition just before the breeding season can maximize the number of kids born.”

The animal specialist writes that the body condition of the buck is equally as important in the breeding process. When bucks are overfed, they may not have a desire to breed. On the other hand, he says, “bucks that are thin at the start of the breeding season may not have sufficient stamina to breed all the does.”

Increasing the amount of feed or forage approximately one month prior to putting the buck in with does that are not in the best of condition, will help these does put on weight and signal to the animal’s body that she is able to raise several kids. These internal signals help raise ovulation rates and can help to increase litter size.

“Does in extremely good body condition will tend not to respond to flushing,” says Dr. Luginbuhl. “Flushing can be accomplished by moving breeding does to a lush, nutritious pasture 3 to 4 weeks prior to the introduction of the buck. This cost-effective flushing method is underutilized in the Southeast where forage is abundant.

“The ‘buck effect’ or segregating the does from bucks is also crucial in the development of the sound (synchronized) breeding program,” the article continues,  “Other important measures will affect breeding indirectly, such as trimming feet, the grouping of animals, de-worming, and vaccination. During the breeding season, does and bucks should  be joined for 40 to 45 days, which is the length of time necessary for breeding does to complete two estrus cycles. A ratio of 20 to 30 does per buck is recommended for best breeding results.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear more interesting facts about preparing meat goats for breeding and synchronizing the breeding of your goat operation. Mark your calendars for Thursday, December 10, 7 p.m.

For more information, please contact Linda F. Wallace, director, agricultural marketing, 434-476-3066 or lfw@halifax.va.us .

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