Accelerated breeding program produces 3 kid crops in 2 years

I share an interesting Q&A exchange between Mason Scheetz of Oakley KS who has a commercial meat goat operation with 40 does, which he will expand by instituting an accelerated breeding program. He asked that I describe the feeding regimen required (what feed, how much, what time of year, etc.) for an accelerated breeding program.

For readers not familiar with this management strategy, I de- scribe it as a tightly-controlled breeding scheme to generate three kid crops rather than two crops in a 24-month period. In essence, an owner can appreciably increase kid offtake and gross/net income sharply without increasing doe numbers. To wit: if you have a mixed-age doe herd consisting of doelings, yearlings and does 2 to 10+ years of age, you can, with a very good management protocol, achieve a 200% kid crop/year. If you achieved this level 3 times in 24 months, the average annual herd offtake/year would be increased by 50% (200/400 x 100). In short, this is eco- nomically quite appealing. There are, however, constraints as well as opportunities in this undertaking; see below.

The first constraint is that more kidding times lead to more men- tal concern, closer supervision, more labor expenditure and possibly more in-family domestic strain (only those husbands/wives/middle-


school children who are tightly bonded should attempt this activity; think here of Tammy Wynette’s song D-I-V-O-R-C-E). Secondly, you will have to schedule three kidding events, which means that you will have to kid in dead of winter, and also in late spring and early fall. Thirdly, there is necessary change in marketing procedures, from one-time marketing (or from late fall and early spring market- ing) to three times/year marketing. Note also that Jan/Feb kids will go to market in the summer months which are, historically, the periods of lowest prices/hd. The other two kidding times can target the higher-priced Christmas and Easter markets as usual. Fourthly, more kidding times/year mean that all kids will have to weaned at 7-9 weeks of age to enable the does to resume estrous cycling for early re-breeding. Not all does will so respond and may delay conception until the next breeding time. Alternatively, such does could be ‘forced’ to cycle by use of vag- inal implants (CIDRs). Early-weaned kids need continuing creep-feed and hay for uninterrupted growth rate gains. Lower-priced concentrate and higher-priced slaughter goat prices make this quite doable. Fifthly,

more late-gestation and more early-lactation periods/year will require more hay and concentrate/doe. I insert


Goat Rancher | May 2020

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