At Oak Hollow Livestock, we work to constantly improve our animals through selective breeding to give us the best chance of producing offspring that are good enough to keep as replacements in our own herd. While many of our animals are competitive in sanctioned shows, our management is geared more toward production than the show ring.
Our primary goal is to produce functional animals who thrive in a low-input environment. Our does consistently breed and kid easily and raise at least two kids to weaning without assistance.
Because Boer goats are a meat producing animal, we have selected for fast growing goats who have high yields when slaughtered. Over the last decade, we have improved the dressing percentage of our goats significantly and frequently see hanging slaughter weights of at least at 58% of live weight, compared to the accepted average of 45-50%.
Since a buck will contribute his genetics to an entire crop of kids, we feel buck selection is extremely important and are very critical of a potential breeding buck. When we choose breeding bucks to utilize in our herd, we try our best to select bucks who will improve the quality of our next generation of kids.
The critical traits we look for include fast growth rate, correct conformation and adherence to ABGA breed standards. Proven genetics, eye appeal and a non-aggressive demeanor complete the package.
Our doe herd is always evolving. We expect all of our does to breed in the first 3 weeks of exposure to a buck (usually the first 7 days), kid at least once a year, average twins, and deliver and raise their kids without assistance. Using these guidelines, we have developed a prolific foundation doe herd consisting of individuals with excellent maternal instincts and ample milk production.
When we select replacement does, we ask these questions:
- What were the details of her birth? Twin, triplet, single? Unassisted, dystocia?
- Did she demonstrate above average weight gain from birth to weaning?
- Does her dam consistently produce fast growing kids?
- Does she have strong feet without foot rot problems?
- Will her teat structure allow kids to nurse easily and efficiently?
- Does she demonstrate at least average parasite resistance/resilience?
To prepare for breeding, we like to make sure all breeding animals are in good condition. This may mean trimming hooves, deworming, updating vaccines or increasing nutrition levels just prior to breeding. Ideally, we are already keeping up with these things and simply need to turn the buck out with the does.
Goats have a heat cycle that is approximately 3 weeks long. This means that they are fertile and capable of conceiving at 3 week intervals. Unlike many breeds of goats, Boer goats cycle nearly year round instead of "seasonally" in the fall/winter months.
We generally breed between June and August to allow for winter kids, something that necessitates "out of season" breeding since a doe's gestation period is approximately 150 days.
We choose to run a single buck with a group of does for a designated time period (usually about 4 weeks). Generally, we outfit the buck with a marking harness and crayon so we can record the breeding date. This allows us to be sure of the sire of each kid that is born, and gives us a very good estimate of each doe's due date.
Since our does conceive almost without exception during this first exposure, we often don't run a "clean up" buck with the does. If we have concerns about the fertility of the buck, we will run a second buck with the does for 4-6 weeks after a 1 week "rest" period, again utilizing a marking harness.
Sara & Carl Davis
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