Thursday 5 September 2013

Mating rituals pt.2 - Too many choices

The days have been shortening for nearly seven weeks so the the three goats; Pia, Hebe and Acorn will be coming into oestrus soon and they need to be mated. Choices have to be made.

Gorsefield Cyrus:Toggenburg Buck
Natural mating or AI? If we go for natural we either have to take the goats to the male when on heat or bring a male here on loan. As they are unlikely to be on heat together that could mean up to three round trips to Perthshire on Skye for "drive by mating" then home again. Taking a male on loan would only mean one trip to collect him and to return him home. However males can be a bit obstreperous and smelly. On balance I think we have to bring a male here for six weeks..

Artificial insemination on the other hand means access to the very best genes in the UK and possibly the world; at a price. First we have to decide on which sire and order his semen for delivery to the vets. Then the vet has to insert intravaginal progesterone sponges  to kick start the oestrous cycle, these are then removed after about 18 days . The AI procedure is done  two days later.

Laproscopic AI involves placing the semen into the horns of the uterus; the goat has to be sedated and then put into a cradle for this. It means taking the goats either to Edinburgh or some intermediate place when the Vets are working, usually on pedigree sheep. The costs stack up quickly; semen, progesterone sponges, the procedure, the Vet's time and the transport. One last plus or perhaps a minus is that we'd have all of the kids on the same day if fertility was 100%. Usually its only 60%.

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