At long last, our 2018 kidding season has come to an end. No more kids are expected this year, so I thought it would be fun to sit down and do a run down of this year’s stats, similar to what I did last year (on Facebook) but more in depth. So let’s get to it.
Last year I scheduled 107 does to be bred to 6 bucks. This was easily our most ambitious season. My breeding plans for the previous season show 92 does were scheduled to be bred, and the year before, 91. We used 6 different bucks, 2 for the La Mancha & Standards (Marty & Nobby) and four for the Nigerian Dwarf & Mini Mancha (Forest, Arby, Twister, & Oreo), plus 2 outside breedings. For the season before I used 2 La Mancha bucks and 1 Nigerian Dwarf buck, and for the 2016 season I used 1 La Mancha buck and 2 Nigerian Dwarf bucks.
2 does slipped their pregnancies. (Oddball & Penny) With a herd our size, it’s inevitable that some will slip their pregnancies, and it was two of our new ladies this year. Both slipped just a couple months into their pregnancies, and I decided to leave them open for the season, as breeding had already mostly ended.
1 doe passed away while pregnant. (Mocha) This was a very unfortunate loss. Not only was she very popular both on and off the farm, Mocha was carrying kids from an outside buck, so very disappointing on the whole.
8 does did not settle. (Avalanche, Connie, Dazzle, Fennel, Glitch, Mouse, Sunset Strip, and Suri) Sunset Strip and Suri are repeat offenders unfortunately, so I was not surprised. Avalanche raised twin doelings last year so her vacation is only mildly resented. Glitch and Mouse would have been first fresheners, and will get another shot this fall. Not so pleased with Fennel and Connie, who are now becoming over-conditioned since they aren’t producing. Dazzle unfortunately recycled over and over despite my best efforts, so I will be using some hormonal assistance this next season in an effort to get her back on track and settled.
1 doe was sold bred and kidded in her new home. (Sea Salt) I almost never sell bred does, but this was a special case where she was going to another experienced keeper. She had a nice set of triplets in her new home I believe. None of the following statistics include her – all statistics only apply to kids born on the property.
1 doe was purchased bred and kidded here. (Ivy) Just like I rarely sell bred does, I rarely buy them (especially so late in a pregnancy) but Ivy didn’t bat an eyelash and delivered big healthy triplet doelings almost exactly a week after arriving. She and her kids are included in following statistics.
1 doe kidded prematurely. (Witchcraft) I was sorely disappointed when Witchcraft delivered four stillborn premature kids. I suspect she was hit by another doe, and unfortunately none of her kids were viable.
The season opened on December 31st, 2017. While Witchcraft unfortunately lost her kids earlier in the month (December 25th) I do not consider the season officially opened until Sunshine produced the first viable kids. Seems those triplets just couldn’t wait for the New Year.
The season closed on April 24th, 2018. As usual, Sweet Teaz waited until breeding season was well over to cycle. She was bred once to Marty, after which she walked away unconcerned with further intimacy. This is par for course, as my records show she kidded last season on May 23rd, a full month after everyone else, and she also ended the 2016 season, on May 15th. I suppose I should be grateful she conceded to being bred for April this year.
We had a total of 215 kids hit the ground out of 96 does. Last season we produced 193 kids out of 86 does, and in 2016, 173 kids. I unfortunately don’t have the number of does that kidded easily accessible for 2016 (and don’t really want to count manually).
There were 106 Doelings & 109 Bucklings. Bucklings come out on top, as they often do, but it’s hard to complain about a nearly 50/50 ratio. Last year there were 108 Bucklings and 85 Doelings.
There were 11 stillborn kids. I am very pleased with the rate of viable kids this year. Note that this number includes Witchcraft’s four premature kids. We did lose 3 kids that drowned in the sacks as well, which is always terribly frustrating to have happen. This happens more often in high multiple births, where the kids are smaller and less likely to break the amniotic sack on their own and the mother is overwhelmed (or inexperienced) and does not open it either.
1 doe died due to delivery related complications. (Onzie) Unfortunately I have to plan to lose one or two does each kidding season. Giving birth is a dangerous thing to do, and often an older doe that looks very good for breeding season may not be as strong as I expected after birthing, so losses are a real part of kidding season. This year’s loss was a younger doe however, who unfortunately ruptured her uterus and bled out internally. Her triplets survived, and one remains in the herd.
The average length of gestation for the La Mancha was 147 days. I’ve noticed that the standard size does will tend to carry their offspring much closer to the 150 due date than the miniatures do. No doubt the higher rate of multiples in the smaller goats plays a part. Regardless, many of the La Mancha went all the way to 150 days, with the does kidding earliest at 144 days, and the longest gestations being 151 days.
The average length of gestation for the Nigerian Dwarf was 143 days. Note that this statistic is for viable kids, and so does not include Witchcraft’s premature stillborns. As usual, the Nigerian Dwarf on the whole kid much earlier in their gestation, so much so that I mark their due date at 145 days, as opposed to the standard breeds where I continue to use the accepted 150 days. The earliest kiddings took place at 142 days, while the longest gestation belongs firmly to Moony, who went an astonishing 154 days (the longest gestation of the year) before delivering gigantic triplet doelings.
The average length of gestation for the Miniature La Mancha was 147 days. Interestingly enough, even though the does I label as Mini Manchas are much closer in size to their Nigerian Dwarf parents, they tend to carry their offspring for the same length of time as their La Mancha parents. The longest gestation was 152 days by one of our larger “Minis” (who should honestly be in the standard category, now that I look at this list again), and 142 days for the shortest.
There were 24 Singles, 39 sets of Twins, 20 sets of Triplets, 12 sets of Quadruplets, and 1 set of Quintuplets. Twins reigned supreme this year, and we had more single births than I have become used to. Not that I am complaining – give me a big set of twins or a big doeling over smaller litters any day. But our girls do what they do, and it was Minx who produced a set of Quintuplets this year. As usual, it’s the Nigerian Dwarf producing the high multiples, but don’t count out the standard breeds – many produced triplets and one set of quads came from their camp as well. Last year there were 16 singles, 41 sets of twins, 17 sets of triplets, 8 sets of quadruplets, and 2 quintuplet births.
We retained 49 kids. This includes 24 La Mancha doelings, 3 Nubian doelings, 14 Nigerian Dwarf doelings, 5 La Mancha bucklings, 1 Nigerian Dwarf buckling, and 2 Nigerian Dwarf wethers.
We brought in 4 kids. This includes 3 Nubian doelings and 1 Nigerian Dwarf buckling. This brings us to 53 total kids on the property – this is a real year for growth, though of course, some will not pass my strict criteria as they grow and will move onto new homes over the next couple of years.
All in all, a really good season. It’s quite probable our next season may be even bigger, which reminds me that it’s now time to turn my attention to planning breeding. A goat keeper’s job is never ending!