I’ve been thinking a lot about how I manage my herd as it grows to its “full size.” As some may know, my herd is still in its growth stage since I've been building it from within. In this planning process I’m being mindful of working with the seasonality of our region, managed grazing practices, and use of our facilities.
My plan going forward after this kidding season will be to split our herd into two groups and move into a breeding cycle where our herd is kidding three times a year, about four months apart. This doesn’t mean we’re doing back-to-back breeding, but it means that each group will kid every other kidding season. Each doe will have the opportunity to breed every nine months, allowing for time for gestation, nursing, and recovery.
Why am I moving to this system:
From an economic perspective, this farm is also a business. It requires income to continue and serve our customers. Over the span of time, we should be able to produce the same number of kids as if our herd size was 25-30% larger. This means fewer breeding does to feed and manage, with more offspring to either add to our herd as replacement stock or to sell. As a family farm, it also helps keep my workload more manageable.
What I will be working on figuring out:
What I know I’ll need to do:
Lastly, a big shout out to Sandy Brock, of Sheepishly Me, a sheep farmer in Canada. Her approach to managing breeding and lambing for her flock provided me inspiration to think about how I could adapt practices to my goat herd and our grazing system.
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I own and manage Cylon Rolling Acres in northwestern Wisconsin. On my farm I raise Boer - Kiko meat goats on pasture.
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Cylon (pronounced Si-lon) is the name of our township in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Sorry fans, our farm is not named after the robots of Battlestar Galactica.