Adding artificial insemination to our goat husbandry arsenal

With the 2020 Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale in Corydon, Ind., under our belts and our three new does integrated into our herd and settling in quite nicely, it was time to make their Facebook debuts on our farm page and personal pages. We documented our whole trip to the sale on our pages, as we always do, so we can re- member our trips, but also for marketing pur- poses. This year wasn’t any different in regards to comments on our Facebook posts’ pictures. Many people post things such as, “safe travels”, or “how cool!” Each year, however, it seems like one per- son always asks, “Why would you travel 20 hours just to buy goats?”

This is a question we love! A chance to publicly explain how special Kikos are, discuss our genetic bottleneck in New England and the importance of bringing in lines from around the country so that we can continue to provide our customers with optimum and different genetics year after year.

And while we will always jump at the chance to road-trip, with artificial insemination (AI) now in our arsenal, it is no longer necessary to travel such great lengths in search of goats if we don’t want or have the time to because of scheduling conflicts.


Kathy Crise (right) lets daughter Amelia handle the business end of the artificial insemination.

I am happy to announce that we have just (November) con- firmed our first artificial insemination pregnancy on our naturally polled doe, Taho, who came from Lookout Point Ranch in Oregon. Yes, you heard that right, naturally polled. Our understanding is that Taho possibly was passed a recessive gene that was not present in the original imports from New Zealand. We are excited to see what Taho’s DNA combined with MRG

1123 will bring us for kids in the spring. We are thrilled to have brand new genetics born to the farm, without ever even having to travel, not even to the post office to collect the semen. Last spring was our first attempt at AI. We selected one goat for AI and prepared her for several weeks leading up to the procedure. A family friend of ours had just graduated with her degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences from the University of Maine. While inter- ning at the University farm she learned how to artificially inseminate many cows on the farm.

This procedure is entirely different from conducting AI on a goat, and as she pointed out, it is also much easier on a cow. Never- theless, after doing some extra reading and research, she came to our farm and attempted to AI one of our goats. It was, unfortunately, not successful; some things were just not

up to snuff in regards to the AI process. While it was disappointing when we learned that the doe did not get pregnant, it was a major

learning point for inseminating this fall. With the spring failure under our belts, we decided to give it another go this fall. We selected three does, as we had three straws of semen we wanted to use up, and began the AI protocol Dr. An Peis- chel had collaborated on with us. We also decided to do the procedure ourselves this time. With- out going into a ton of detail, surely an article to be written later in more detail by Dad, here is a quick rundown of what the process looked like as we prepared and executed AI for a second time. There are two ways that AI can be performed: cervical insemi- nation or laparoscopically. We conducted cervical insemination, as we are definitely not trained for laparoscopic insemination.

There is a specific protocol, taking several weeks, that leads up to the day of inseminating that includes flushing and several doses of drugs, to properly prepare the doe for AI.

On the day of, we got the does in the stand, which we had to redesign after we had the first doe up there, and checked the state of the mucus inside the vaginal cavity (looking for a specific consis- tency of the mucus).

After witnessing the right consistency, we followed the protocol and inserted the semen.

The protocol and manual we used are extremely detailed, and January 2021 | Goat Rancher


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