That’s exactly what we were learning how to do last night. Our Awesome Vet gave us a mini-class in AI (artificial insemination), and George even used the insemination gun on one of her does. She was definitely in heat – flapping her tongue, being very affectionate, rubbing her head against anyone in proximity. And she wanted in the most desperate way to bust down the door and run for the buck pen! Unfortunately for her, she had to settle for clinical amour. We’ll know in about three weeks whether or not she is pregnant. Does go into heat several times (every 18-21 days) during the breeding season, which for most dairy breeds stretches from late August until December/January.
So why were we doing this, you ask? Well, we need to breed our girls, and we are considering AI as the means to do it. We are fortunate enough that our vet happens to be one of the experts in the field of Goat AI; in fact, she teaches the class on the subject at the annual ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) convention. So we have a great instructor!
Of course, that’s not the only way for a goat to get pregnant – the good old fashioned method of putting a buck in with the does during breeding season is also an option. Furthermore, if you put a buck in with those girls, it’s most likely that within seven days, they will all come into heat, and can be bred. But, of course, that also means that you have to deal with a buck. Using AI means that you can get what you need from the buck from one of the many goat sperm banks out there, and with the necessary equipment, perform the procedure on your does.
AI allows you to be more selective in your breeding – because you can breed your doe to a buck that might at an impractical geographic distance, but whose traits you are seeking in your kids. Also, no buck-stink. 😉 (They like to pee on their front legs and beards as a sort of alluring cologne.)
So, we are now working out what we need to get equipment-wise to make this happen.
We are looking for a used cryogenic storage tank for the sperm straws, amongst other things. Much better on the budget to find one from someone getting out of AI than purchasing new!
I suspect that even though we plan to make these pregnancies happen in a very clinical fashion, our girls are still going to want a big smooch when it’s all done.