We recently held a family reunion of sorts. Our goat herd was founded in spring 2008, and around this time last year we hosted a Boer buck from Goatsbeard Farm for a few weeks to allow breeding with our two does. As expected, Garlic bred successfully, while Gloria wanted no part of it (she’s never been pregnant in her four years). Five months later, the first two kids to be born on-farm arrived, and having been growing fat and happy all summer.
Now it’s time to start the cycle over again, as goats come into heat during the fall, for short periods of a few days about every three weeks or so. We waited out Garlic’s first few cycles, as we want to kid later in spring when the weather is warmer, aiming for a late October breeding. By Friday evening, she was showing signs of heat, so as soon as we got back from market Saturday we ran over to Goatsbeard and borrowed their Boer buck, Squire, for a few days’ visit.
Of course, this gave him the chance to meet his offspring from last year’s fling (not that he really knows the difference). In the photo above, Squire is the large fellow stargazing in the background, with (from left to right) kid #2, kid #1, Garlic, and Gloria completing the picture. #1 in particular takes after his father, though Joanna prefers the solid-colored head on #2.
The major difference between father and sons relates to essential equipment, as both kids were castrated young, due to their destiny as meat. Intact bucks smell and taste awful. These two, on the other hand, will be fat and tender when butchering time comes very soon.
Garlic was happily receptive to Squire’s presence, and they had two days together before her cycle ended and she lost interest. Hopefully they were successful; it’s very hard to judge a goat pregnancy. If she comes back into heat in three weeks, we’ll have to try again, but if she doesn’t show signs either way we’ll have to wait and see whether things develop. A lot is riding on this, as breeding is necessary not just for next year’s meat supply, but for next year’s milk production. We’re also hoping for at least one doe kid this time, whom we can raise as another breeder and not just meat.
And so, just like our recent planting of garlic, the breeding of Garlic is already getting next year’s season underway.