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Goats are herd animals; they must live with other goats or animals. They are social, they do not do well alone. But for the most part, you have to separate male goats or bucks from the females, because the does come into heat or estrus every 18 to 23 days. Complicating the matter is the fact that males are important for milk quality. It's a good idea to keep them separate during pregnancy and kidding.
To avoid unplanned pregnancies among your herd, house your does and bucks separately. Separate pens with open space between fences, not just a single fence. Goat fencing is not enough to stop a determined goat from breeding through the fence. The instinct to breed is strong in male goats; you may need to house bucks out of sight from the does, as they can destroy fencing to get to a doe in heat. When you want to breed your does, place the buck with does planned for breeding.
A Buddy for Your Buck
Because goats are herd animals, a buck should not live alone. A castrated buck, or wether, makes a perfect companion goat for an intact buck. If you own multiple breeding bucks, house bucks of similar age together to avoid injury to older or younger bucks. Bucks will fight to determine hierarchy and, during breeding, can get aggressive.
Bucks and Pregnant Does
During breeding season, bucks can become aggressive. If your buck is housed with a pregnant doe, risk of injury to the kids she is carrying exists. Keeping them separate reduces this risk. Often, pregnant does require additional feed to support the pregnancy and the growing kids. In this case, the pregnant doe may require separate housing from both bucks and other does. If this is the case, she will need a pen adjacent to the other does so she won't be alone.
If you raise milking goats, such as Nubians or Nigerian dwarfs, you may milk a goat for the first three months of a pregnancy. If this is the case, keeping a buck separate is necessary to maintain the quality of the milk. Bucks, especially during breeding, have a strong odor that can affect the taste of the milk.
After the pregnant doe gives birth, place her and her kids in a separate pen. This enables the kids to bond with their mother and keeps them away from other goats. This is especially important if one of those kids happens to be a buck. Goats mature quickly and at just 7 weeks old; that little buck will be ready and able to breed with any doe in heat.
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