On October 13, 2012, we put our Toggenburg buck (Rascal McTaz ‘Taz) in the same pasture as our Toggenburg doe (Spirit of the Valley). Spirit showed no signs of being in heat (the condition in which a female doe can be impregnated), but we had read that putting her in with a buck would trigger this.
Spirit and Taz had never before been out together, yet they’d ‘met’ and seen each other through fences for more than a year. Both were a year and a half old and this was the first breeding for both.
We hold fast to the idea that goats—as well as sheep—should be at least a year old before they are first bred which means the doe will be at least a year and a half before she delivers her first kid. Spirit will be almost two when her first kid arrives. She was born March 14, 2011. You can learn more about her on Spirit’s Page.
You can learn more about the buck on Rascal McTaz’s Page. As far as bucks go, Taz is fairly gentle. Many times he’s escaped only to graze near where the doe lives. He’s inquisitive and cautious and loves company. When he gets his rut on, he’s happy ramming his head against whatever solid structure is nearby. We’re always aware of where he is simply because he has those horns he loves to use as probes. Still, the horns make him look formidable.
Taz has it all: horns, a long coat, great colors, waddles and a beard. We’re hoping he’ll pass on these attributes to his offspring. His build is strong and true, as is Spirits, so their kids should have good, strong bodies.
The first time we put Spirit and Taz in the same pasture, we were worried Taz would hurt Spirit with his horns. Spirit’s horns were removed shortly after she was born. We shouldn’t have worried though; Taz never once used his horns to ‘corral’ or pursue Spirit.
The first day was more of a meet and greet. No breeding took place even though they were together for about ten hours. After the initial ‘play period’, they settled into grazing. When they day was through, they returned to their usual stalls.
The next day was different. Spirit was obviously in heat. The first sign we noticed was a white, milky substance seeping from her vagina. The second sign was the way she responded to the buck.
We put the goats together for a third day to make sure breeding took place. Well, and it gave them time to run together. They won’t be able to do that again until October 2013.
I made a video of the second day Spirit and Tax were together.
If the embedded video doesn’t work, it can be viewed on YouTube.
The gestation period for goats is between 147 and 153 days. First time does usually kid earlier than experienced does, so our best guestimate for Spirits due date is March 10th.
We have planned and waited for our first supply of homegrown milk for almost two years. We are looking forward to the birth as much as we are the milk Spirit will provide for us.