Factors influencing single kiddings

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I brought this subject up on another board and am putting it out to you guys. I always heard first time fresheners were more likely to bear single kids. People have suggested that it's not the first pregnancy that influences this, but rather the age of the goat when first bred. Does, for instance being bred under or around a year might deliver just a single rather than a first pregnancy at two years. Also, here's where Barb's post about flushing might come in too, as being a factor in multiple births. What has been your experience? BTW, my nigerian doe bred last year at exactly a year old bore only one kid.

-- Lynn (moonspinner@bluefrognet.net), January 14, 2002


I don't have enough goats to be an expert on this, but will share a couple of experiences. Our first two little does were bred to kid right at one year, and had singles(Both twinned the next year). Next time, one kidded at about 14 months with a single(this doe kidded triples the next year), and her twin kidded at about 18 months with twins(and twins the next year). Just had a two year old, small doe, kid for the first time with twins. Two others we bred at 10 months singled. So my opinion is that they are more likely to single the first time if they are on the younger side.

WE had one nice, big Nubian doe in Texas that always looked a little pregnant. When she really was pregnant, she was so huge we always thought she might triple. She kidded one big single every year(for the 3 years we had her). I always thought that she only had one each time because of being overweight, but I don't know.

-- mary (marylgarcia@aol.com), January 14, 2002.

Lynn, I breed to kid at 15 months or later and have over 75% singles with my first fresheners. My older does also tend to start having singles at about 8 or 9 years old. My does that I have bred to kid at two years old are about 50% singles at first freshening.

I am a firm believer in flushing increasing birth numbers. So much so that I have stopped doing it because I got sick of "sorting out" all those kids at delivery time. My girls never have a bit of trouble kidding with twins, but those triples and quads tend to tangle up for me.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), January 14, 2002.

In all my raising goats I have only had one goat have a single birth wether it was a first freshner at 12 months or not. I really do think that thier feed and exercise helps. There is no need to flush a doe that is getting all she needs every day. If you don't feed what your goats require to stay fit then I guess that you better feed them (flush)up before freshning. :) My girls have twins first time and usually tripplets the following year. Now watch and I will get singles this year just because I said this.

-- shari (smillers@snowcrest.net), January 14, 2002.

Most of my does kid at 12 months and they nearly always have twins. thsoe does have then gone on to produce triplets when they are full grown. (And they did grow too, nice and large). The ones that gave a single kid as yearlings often went on to give twins every year, no triplets. So I prefer the ones that give twins the first time, I think twinning and multiple births is genetic as well as being due to the doe's environment. I do feed the bred doelings a high protein dairy ration while they are pregnant, and try to make sure that they have a good chance at the hay. If there is one that the older does won't let eat, I seperate her out at night in a pen with lots of good hay, so she can have her fill every night.

Anyway, to sum it up, here is my experience with does kidding around 12 months or less. NO kidding nightmares. One doe last year was over 12 months and had a big 9 lb kid. I had to help pull it. Other than that, the yearlings have done really well. Almost always twins, and this is what I like. The does that had singles stand out in my mind as exceptions. most of these does, when fed well, went on to grow to a good size and lead productive lives. I say most, because some were culls that did not have the genetics to do their best. I didn't flush them either. But I do feed the kids grain as soon as they'll eat it, until they kid, at which time of course they are milkers and they still get grain. And, I try to breed them only if they look big enough. If they're not big enough, I wait until they are.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), January 14, 2002.

The only singles I've ever had were first timers. But I've also had first timers birth twins and even triplets. The age at breeding didn't seem to matter, and I keep all my does in good flesh but not fat at breeding. I also don't bother to flush. I know that a doe wouldn't get a chance to produce singles after the second time. She'd be down the road or in the pot.

-- melina b. (goatgalmjb1@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

I think there are probably to many factors to get a really good answer. You would need to know everyones breed of goat, and even in Nubians, there are very fast maturing bloodlines, who can eaisly kid as yearlings, and other bloodlines which need time to mature, or a single kids is the least of your worries. Flushing will increase the amount of kids at ovulation, but if you grain, hay and pasture aren't adequate the doe will absorb extra fetus anyway. The kids will also be born weak or small. Flushing can be as simple as moving them to new better pasture, or a move from praire type hays to a heavily fetilized grass hay or alfalfa. Using multiple bucks could also help, if you pen breed, and the buck breeds to many does in one day, someone is going to be shortchanged and perhaps not have all her eggs fertilized. We only wanted twins when the boer crosses nursed their kids. In the dairy barn with all kiddings assisted, and all kids reared artifically, it makes little difference how many there are. Our quad kids are smaller but healthy, our triplets out of first fresheners can get tiny, but so can our whole bloodline! The very worst part of single births comes with the decrease in lactation we see, the older does who do single now and then usually have a very disappointing year in the milk pail. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

I've had 4 does freshen this week and only have 5 kids. The first doe that kidded was a 3 year old, she kidded for the first time last year with a single kid. The other singles were all one year olds. My husband was doing most of the feeding during breeding season and he is tighter with the feed than I am.

-- sherry (chickadee259@yahoo.com), January 15, 2002.

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