Managing a doe to pack, milk, and produce kids requires a lot of time, energy, and almost mad scientist building a monster level obsession. There are thousands of qualified people to tell it like it is, but as the resident mad scientist for my herd I’ll tell you what I’ve done that works…and what I’ve done that resulted in a mistake not dissimilar to the catastrophe of an entire Transylvanian village being wiped out by a plague of mutant killer rabbits. Starting with the yearly grind to keep the herd going!

 

A GENERAL SCHEDULE FOR RUNNING THE HERD (metaphorically)

I have a basic 1 year time line I try to stick to with the herd, (not that I can always succeed at this when dealing with biological systems). More in depth details of my management system, (such as hoof trimming, FAMANCHA scoring, nutrition, and disease testing), can be found on other pages! 

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January – The month with so much snow you can’t really get out of the house

 Vaccinate does with a yearly booster of CDT 1 month prior to kidding; vaccinate non-breeding animals for CDT; rotate to a new dewormer for the new year; prepare supplies for does to kid out at the end of this month; test all animals turning one year of age for CAE, CL, and Johnes + at least one older retained goat who has not been tested in a prior year for CAE, CL, and Johnes

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February – The month when the ice and snow gets a little less insane

Start leash breaking kids; CDT vaccinate kids at 5 weeks of age

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March – The month when raising kids starts to get to you

Start hiking replacement packers in earnest; castrate bucklings not retained for breeding or packing after all CDT vaccinations are complete; CDT booster kids 3 weeks after their initial vaccine

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April – Yay! Stuff is melting finally!

Start taking replacement packers/hikers on trips by themselves, (no mom); Start shopping for a new breeding buck if needed; begin to weed out those replacement packers/hikers that are not going to work out as finished pack goats

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May – Wait…it’s starting to get hot.

Sell kids at 4 months that will not be retained for packing or breeding; order hay for next year; clean out the barn; end of hiking season in the southeastern United States because it is too hot! Dry off does this month or next month

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June – Go to the beach and let the goats have some summer vacation

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July – Get ready to breed!

Finalize arrangements for purchase of new buck or get old buck ready to go; give extra grain to flush does and bucks for breeding; make sure all breeding supplies are in stock; update registration papers as necessary for registered stock; castrate wethers retained for packing at six months of age; weigh doelings and separate out doelings that you don’t want to breed this year (doelings must reach 85% of adult weight to breed – I usually do not breed doelings till they are 1.5 yrs old)

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August – Start breeding season!

At the end of the month put buck in with does and watch for heat

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September – Get ready for hiking season!

Get supplies together to hike; start working again with new packers to remind them of their basic skills; watch for does that are beginning to breed; watch for buck going into rut and separate him from humans; vaccinate packers for rabies

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October – Hiking season begins

Continue to watch for signs of heat and breeding; start packing/hiking

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November – Wait…it’s getting cold again…

Up grain for pregnant does and growing kids retained to pack; send out blood tests to confirm pregnant does; separate buck out of herd at the end of the month and sale if not reusing; if unsure of kidding date purchase tetanus antitoxin to protect kids; decrease fescue content of the diet; boost pregnant does with selenium;

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December – Final decision time

Sale pack goats that are not working out as pack goats; put up for sale yearling packers ready to be hiked; decide whether to dehorn kids next year and make arrangements; buy goats a bag of alfalfa for Christmas

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For more on my management practices check my other pages!

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