Two methods of breeding are commonly used in goats:
Each form of breeding has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Natural Breeding
- Simplicity: Goats have been breeding naturally for centuries. As
an owner of a doe, you must decide which buck to use, but the buck
takes care of the rest.
- Cost: If you don't own a buck, many goat owners will
allow you to bred your doe to their buck for a fee. In our area, this
fee ranges from around $35 to $100 depending on the quality of the buck.
Most also charge a fee of around $1 a day to care for your doe if you
must leave it to wait for it to come into heat. If you own a buck,
your costs include the purchase price (from $150 to $800 in our area)
and the cost of feeding and housing the buck. You can make some money
breeding other's does if you do own a buck.
- Timing: A doe is in heat from 12 to 36 hours, and after
breeding naturally semen can live for about 24 hours. It's not essential
to bred at exactly the correct moment, and it's easy to repeat the breeding
for a few days.
Disadvantages of Natural Breeding
- Difficulty in managing a buck: Bucks require sturdier
fences than does, and are usually housed away from does. During
breeding seasons, bucks have some unusual behaviors such as urinating
on their beards. This creates an offensive smell
(12K) that attracts does but only does seem to appreciate it.
- Variety: If you own your own buck(s), you'll have only a
few to choose from. If you use a buck that belongs to someone else,
you'll still have a limited suplly to choose from within driving
distance. If you don't have a trailer or pickup truck, it can be
inconvenient driving your doe to be bred.
- Cost: Bucks frequently cost more than does, and you'll
probably have to own several because you usually won't want to breed
the offspring of a buck to the buck. Bucks also eat more than does, and
destroy thier fences more frequently.
Advantages of Artificial Insemination
- Cost: Once you have the necessary equipment, frozen
semen is much less expensive than paying a breeding fee. Typical
prices range from $5 to $25 per "straw" of semen. You can also
avoid the costs of housing and feeding a buck.
- Variety: Straws are available from many high quality bucks,
including National Champion bucks, and sires and siblings of National
Champion does. It's possible to quickly improve the quality of your
herd using such resourses.
Disadvantages of Artificial Insemination.
- Timing is critical: The best time to AI a doe is right at
the end of the heat cycle. Defrosted semen remains viable at most a
few hours and is usually immediately after defrosting. Therefore,
it's important to know exactly when the doe went into heat and how
long she remains in heat to be successful.
- Cost: The initial cost of the equipment can be high. The
most expensive equipment is a tank to store liquid nitrogen (used
$100-300, new $600-1000). It cost about $35-50 dollars to fill the
tank with liquid nitrogen, and this must be repeated every 2-4 months
as the liquid nitrogen evaporates. A tank will usually hold 300-1000
straws so it's possible to share among several goat owners. Some
people rent space in a tank. The remaining equipment (lights, sheaths,
etc.) totals less than $100.
Artificial Insemination Equipment
The necessary equipment includes a liquid nitrogen tank, "straws" of
semen, tweezers (for removing straws from the tank), a straw cutter,
(for cutting off the wax plug keeping the semen in the straw), an open
ended glass speculum, a small light (to make the cervix visible), a
thermos (for holding warm water to defrost the semen), a thermometer
(for measuring the temperature of the water), an insemination gun (A
thin metal tube with a plunger to push the semen out of the straw) and
disposable plastic sheaths (to hold the straw while in the gun).
Care must be taken in working near liquid nitrogen, since
it is -361° F and can cause severe cryogenic burns.
The sources below sell semen, equipment, instruction manuals and
instruction video tapes. Most also provide training.
Sources of Goat Artificial Insemination Equipment and Semen
Magnum Semen Works
2200 Albert Rill Road
Hampstead, MD 21074
2344 Butte Falls Hwy
Eagle Point, OR 97524
All American AI
Andy & Ida Purcella
Rt. 1 Box 605
Coquille, OR 97423
P.O. Box 493133
Redding, CA 96049
We've used and been very happy with Frozen Assets.
North East Caprine Semen Cooperative
Monique Roeth, Sect/Treas
2 County Route 2
Berne, NY 12023-4211
584 Thompsonville Rd
Suffield, CT 06078
Other Information about Goat AI can be found at the Artificial Insemination course at NMSU
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