Volume 13, Number 12
||This Month in Ag Connection|
Goats: Breeding and Kidding Management
Goats are seasonal breeders, meaning that they have a period of time during the year when they do not cycle and cannot be bred. The natural goat breeding season is from September through February. For this reason, goats are considered “short-day” breeders. During the breeding season, does will cycle and come into heat every 18-22 days.
This period of heat, technically named estrus, is when the female is receptive to the male for breeding. The heat will last 18 hours on average, and ovulation occurs 12-36 hours after the onset of heat. Signs indicating a doe is in heat are bleating, tail wagging, reddening and swelling of the vulva, discharge from the vulva, frequent urination and feed refusal.
A doe should reach 65-75% of her mature weight before being bred, and a properly fed doe should reach this weight at 8-9 months of age. Bucks reach puberty at 3-4 months of age but should not begin breeding until about 6 months. One buck can breed 2-3 times per week for the first 6 months of age and 20 times per week thereafter. It is important to maintain good herd health by administering yearly tetanus vaccinations, establishing a deworming program and maintaining hooves of all animals.
Gestation length of goats is approximately 5 months. This needs to be considered for deciding when to breed does. If a doe shows heat at the beginning of the breeding season in September, is bred and conceives, then she should kid in January. Kidding at that point of winter would not usually be ideal for this part of the country. It might be more feasible to breed does in November, resulting in a kidding time of March.
When kidding time is approaching, it is essential to be watchful. Keeping detailed records of heat and/or breeding dates can be very beneficial. Hand breeding can assist in more accurate record keeping, but for many producers it is more efficient to turn a buck into the pasture with the does. Common signs kidding time is approaching are the doe becomes withdrawn, bleats more frequently, eats less and has a white mucus discharge.
It is very common for does to have a smooth and uneventful delivery, but in the case of difficulty, it is important for you to be ready with help. Does have 2 kids on average. It is essential for kids to receive colostrum as soon as possible. Colostrum is the doe’s first milk that provides immunity.
Dairy goat producers typically begin the weaning process at 2 weeks of age by introducing the kids to hay and grain, with the goal of completing weaning at 6-8 weeks of age. (either from mother or bottle). At weaning time it is advisable to tattoo for identification, clip wattles, disbud, de-scent, and castrate. Meat goat producers have more flexibility in the management of weaning and other practices.
can be exciting and challenging. Proper
reproductive management is an essential key to being successful.
Electric Fence Energizers
In recent years there has been a proliferation of fence energizers (also called controllers or chargers) with increased capability, sophistication and cost. The better controllers can deliver a shock even under unfavorable conditions such as dry ground and with weeds or grass contacting the fence wire.
Fence chargers are typically powered by 6 or 12 volt batteries, by solar power or by 120 or 240 volt AC power. Heavy-duty batteries that are designed to withstand a deep discharge (deep cycle) before recharging are recommended. Use an AC charger if power is available. These models have more capability to deliver the voltage and intensity of shock required under unfavorable conditions in addition to saving the cost of batteries and the inconvenience of checking on and changing batteries.
Locate an AC charger where it will stay dry, be easily accessible for inspection and protected from livestock and small children. Do not use "homemade" chargers; they may, and often do, kill people and animals. Select a charger that is approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the U.S. Bureau of Standards.
Solar-powered chargers are battery units with a solar panel to keep the battery charged (Figure 1). The larger battery units may discharge a deep cycle battery in a week. It will take about 7 to 10 watts of solar panel per joule output, depending on the amount of sunlight and panel orientation. A 10-watt solar panel may cost $100 to $300.
Solar-powered fence energizers use a solar panel to charge a battery.
Desirable features of chargers include the following:
Be sure to properly ground whatever type of system you install.
EQ379, Managed Grazing Systems and Fencing for Distribution of Beef Manure,
Taxation Tidbits: Qualified Beef Tax Credit Act
Missouri has a new tax credit designed to encourage cattle producers to put more weight on calves that are raised and backgrounded or finished in this state. The provisions for this credit can be found in Section 135.679 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. The short version – producers will receive a ten cent per pound tax credit if they keep feeder calves on the farm and add two hundred or more pounds to their frame before selling the calves.
The details as we know them – today!
Section 135.679 of the Missouri Revised Statutes can be found at: http://www.moga.state.mo.us/statutes/C100-199/1350000679.HTM
(Author: Parman Green, Agriculture Business Specialist)
Fertilizing With Poultry Litter
Poultry litter is made up of raw poultry manure and bedding materials such as sawdust, wood shavings or rice hulls. This combination provides an excellent source of organic nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and sulfur (S), as well as micronutrients and organic matter. The table below is the estimated range of nutrient concentrations in different types of poultry litter on a pound per wet ton basis. This information was provided by Dr. John Lory with University of Missouri Extension in the MU guide sheet G9340 Sampling Poultry Litter for Nutrient Testing: http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/soils/g09340.htm
It is important to remember that poultry litter can be highly variable in the amount of nutrients it contains. Thus, to effectively use poultry litter as a fertilizer, a litter analysis should be done.
When applying poultry litter, it is important that farmers use proper litter management. Over-application or improper application timing of poultry litter can cause nutrient contamination (N and P) of surface and ground waters. Farmers should use this material in order to obtain maximum value of the fertilizer while preventing environment pollution.
Proper rate and timing of litter application is essential for efficient use of nutrients and the prevention of pollution. Litter should be applied as near to field crop planting dates and or forage crop growing season as possible. It is important to know that when you are determining litter rates only 60% of nitrogen in poultry litter is available as an N source in the year of application. Poultry litter has been shown to be a good fall N fertilizer for cool season pastures. Poultry litter should be applied until the soil test results show optimum phosphorus levels. At that point, the best option is to manage nutrient levels and apply nitrogen as required.
Poultry litter can be an excellent nutrient
supply for farmers when a few good litter management steps are followed.
(Author: Joni Ross, Agronomy Specialist)
Ag Connection - Ag Connection Newsletter, December 2007
http://extension.missouri.edu/agconnection/newsletters/is-07-12.htm -- Revised: January 31, 2008