When fall arrives, our thoughts turn to breeding season and yours should too! We have a “heat sheet” that we share with our new goat families. It is an easy way to track their estrus cycles which are about 3 weeks apart. When a doe comes in to heat, we write it down on this sheet and whether she was bred at that time or not. If not, then we can see the date three weeks ahead and can look for signs of estrus then. It helps us know when to plan to breed the doe. If you are bringing your doe to someone else to breed, then you can easily see when to get her to the breeder just before her next cycle starts. You also want to decide when in the spring you want to have your kids born. The normal gestation for an Oberhasli doe is 150 days, give or take 5 days. We’ve had kids born 10 days early and 10 days late with no problems, but this is not very common.
To tell if your doe/doeling is in heat, you would watch for the following signs:
Being more vocal and friendly than normal
Constant flagging of the tail, especially when you let her smell a stinky rag that has been rubbed on a buck in rut
Enlargement of the vulva and/or any discharge showing
A temporary change in eating habits
One or all of these signs may be seen. As soon as we notice the doe is in heat, we put her in a pen with the buck of our choice for a few minutes. When the buck has bred her, we put them back in their separate pens. This is called “hand breeding” and gives us the exact date that the doe was bred. We then watch for signs of heat 3 weeks later to make sure that she does not cycle back into heat. If she does not, then we can be pretty sure that she is bred and can mark down a due date on our calendar. If for some reason she does cycle back into heat, then we just repeat the process again with the same buck as before.
Watch these youtube videos!
Part 1: Does in heat
Part 2: The Date