A little intro: Jessie grew up on a farm, showing and raising Shorthorn beef cattle, showing horses, and raising miniature horses. When she began dating Jacob years ago she warned him that if he had any concerns with a life surrounded by animals, he had better get out now! Jacob quickly learned the joys of farm life and supported Jessie's dream to one day own a herd of Myotonic goats.
One of the scariest parts of raising a new type of livestock involved kidding. Having helped birth countless ponies, horses, and cows, you would think we would be pros! Each type of animal has their own traits that were difficult to identify at first - detecting heat cycles, determining an appropriate age for a doe to be bred, what is that awful smell coming from my buck?! It all comes down to your will to learn. For us this learning process is fun... we enjoy learning new things about every type of livestock and it gives us a sense of accomplishment when we think about how far we have come. For example, when I smell that "new buck smell" on a young male coming of age its exciting! That means he's learning his purpose in the herd... just don't let the smell get on your clothes! There are a lot of opinions and debates as far as the appropriate age for a doe to be bred. The general rule is one year old, as they are still developing and growing and it can negatively impact their growth if they are bred before they have fully developed; and if they are not fully mature they could have extreme complications in birth that can kill the kid(s). Some people think does should be closer to 2 years old before being bred, but my rule of thumb is 1.
I will blog in the future about kidding practices and helpful hints for breeding. The purpose of today's blog is to let all those reading know that it is okay to start off unsure of what you are doing, BUT you must have the will to learn and be able to constantly adapt and change your lifestyle to ensure the safety of your herd!