Breeding Toggenburg Goats For the First Time

06Breeding5x5Sun Feb 3/13: Sunrise: 7:32; Sunset: 17:25 (-7.1 at 7:00 am, light snow falling)

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.

06BreedingSpirit

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.

06BreedingTaz

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.

06BreedingBoth

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.

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4 thoughts on “Breeding Toggenburg Goats For the First Time

  1. Thank you, Thibodeau Farm for nominating me for the Liebster Award. When I find time, I’ll make a post. You have a beautiful site. I can’t make gravy either, which is no biggy since I don’t like it. And the tea pot is the first thing I turn on in the morning, too.

  2. Hi- I’ve been looking for info about Toggenburg goat because I have an illustration contract where they asked me to draw a male, female and kid milk goat… I’m confused as to whether the goats have horns . I used to think the males did, the females did not and the male kids have little nubs. I’ve been looking at tons of pictures on the net and found that most males don’t seem to have any horns. Can you clear up the confusion?
    Rascal and Spirit look like great models though!
    Thanks!

    • Hello Jo-Anne, and welcome to my blog. Toggenburgs have horns. All of them. However, many people choose to remove the horns. This is typically done before the goat is two weeks old. A hot iron is used to ‘burn’ the horns which stops them from growing. It’s referred to as debudding. In the case of older goats, rubber bands specifically for the purpose can be put on. It’s like a very tight, small, thick elastic that is positioned at the base of the horn. It cuts off the circulation and within twelve weeks, the horns fall off.

      I believe all goats have horns, at least the breeds I’m familiar with.

      If you need any pictures of either adult males or females or kids in a particular position, let me know. Besides Rascal McTaz and Spirit, we have three goat kids (1 buck; 2 does). The buck is five months old and the does are four months old.

      Are these illustrations for a children’s book?

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