I know, you think Iíve forgotten how to spell "you". What I am thinking about is the longing
love song that was popular years (century?) ago. By this time, on our farm, we have all the
does bred that we want to breed. We did this back in Aug. to please our customers for fair
goats and mature breeding stock by next yearís breeding season. Trust me, it wasnít to please
us, because who in their right minds enjoy sitting in a barn when itís six below zero waiting for
a doe to kid? But, thatís another story.
What we are hearing now on the place is all the replacement young does coming of age and
coming in heat. How do we know they are coming in heat? Thereís an awful lot of tail wagging
and down right yelling going on in the young doesí paddock. They want a boyfriend and they
want him right now.
Now, I know many goat breeders get real technical when it comes to the signs of a doe in heat.
They check under the tails, note any swelling or discharge, carefully write all this down in a
journal. Thatís just too up close and personal for me. I have a hard enough time taking
temperatures without running around and checking under tails regularly.
If their tails are wagging and they are not a dog, then they are in heat. I like to keep it simple.
Then when you add yelling to that tail wagging and they are not caught in a fence or itís not
feeding time, then itís a no brainer. They are in heat.
I realize that not all does yell when in heat. A few of mine are so quiet when they are in heat
that you walk by and say, "What was that? Was she just in heat?" And thatís about as long as
their heat cycle lasts. You have to have a real savvy buck to get these girls bred.
But, many of my does have Nubian in them. They are talkers whether in heat or out, they just
like to talk. They make comments about everything and itís usually at the top of their lungs. I
had a Boer breeder come to our place once to buy a couple of percentage does and she said,
"Anything with Nubian breeding is loud." All I could do was cup my ear and say, "What??"
Mainly because my girls were making loud comments right then about the guests on the farm.
We also got into Angoras years ago, only have a few left now, and they were so quiet. You
never knew they were on the place. It could be feeding time and they would just stand there
and stare quietly at you. It was very unnerving. The Nubians in the upper field would be
bellering their lungs out at feeding time telling you to hurry up.
Right now I am watching an 8 month old 64% Boer, 18% Angora, 18% Nubian (did I tell you I
keep a close count on percentages?) making huge leaps against a wooden gate, yelling her lungs
out because she is in heat. Her tail is wagging so fast she may become the first goatcopter and
fly right out of her pen. Why is she attacking this one particular gate? The rest of the paddock
has a hot wire on the inside of the fencing to keep the does off the fence and this one gate
doesnít. This gate also leads to a large aisleway that is against the buck pens. Sheís in heat, but
sheís no dummy. And her voice is loudly bouncing off these West Virginia hills, only 18%
Nubian and she has the full range and vocabulary of a purebred Nubian.
You find it odd that I would hot-wire the does paddock? These does get deadly serious when
they are in heat. Sometimes a hot wire wonít stop them. I had a beautiful herd of fullblood
Angoras; I also had Nubians and a Nubian buck. I kept the Nubian buck in his own pen with
just three strand electric wire. There was no way he was going to touch that wire.
I looked out the window one day and here came one of my Angora girls, out of her pen, ran
through the buckís electric fence and was bred before I could get outside and stop her. He just
stood in the center of his pen (he wasnít going to touch that wire for nobody) and waited for
her to come to him. These does have nerve.
Soon, I will have at least 22 other young does bellering at the top of their lungs and creating
enough wind draft with their wagging tails that I will have to tie things down in their field to
keep them from blowing away. Why not just go ahead and breed these young girls? They are at
least 100 lbs., good healthy, chunky girls?
Last year we kidded from Jan. through most the summer. Thatís a long time to go without
much sleep. My girls like to kid at night, day, evening. All we were doing was kidding. Iím a
worrier; I have to be at these kiddings. We couldnít get any projects done, couldnít even take
day trips away from the farm. My conversation had gone down to a one-syllable word, not
words, because from lack of sleep I couldnít put two words together that made sense. My
mom thought it was an improvement, but thatís beside the point. I felt like something that the
cat wouldnít even drag in.
Then to add insult to injury, when these later kids were up for sale, what comments did I get
from people? A bunch of whining, "But, I wanted to have something I could breed this year
and I want to breed in August."
So, we want to try and get our kidding over with by February so we can complete some
projects and not age a couple of extra years from not getting enough sleep all summer. Itís true,
if bred now these girls would give us April kids. Nice warm April with moderate temperatures
of 30 degrees. No frozen toes in six seconds flat.
But, I know these young girls. Theyíll give us twins or triplets and only have milk for one kid.
Then Iíll have to bottle feed over 22 babies. Ha! Iím getting enough sleep now and I can see
through their ploy. Lee and I need a break this year. Maybe next yearís replacement does can
talk me into it.
Until then, get the earplugs, turn up the radio, and let Ďer rip, "Iím Calling