Chrysanthemum is still not Pregnant!
How was your Thanksgiving? This year was the first Thanksgiving in 5 years that I did not work. Instead of stopping by my parents for 15 minutes on my lunch break, then going to the in-laws for an hour after work, I was able to enjoy the whole day with family.
And we have A LOT of family.
I am deeply thankful for them!
The few added break days allowed us to finish cleaning the barn out, so we are all ready for market wethers in January/February, and dairy babies in the spring!
Which leads me to the reason I sat down here to write.
Chrysanthemum is NOT pregnant, but I think the other 2 girls are!!! Neither of them have cycled back into heat after their last breeding. We are at 30+ days post breeding now for both of them so we will send in a blood test in the next couple weeks for confirmation.
Chrysanthemum, however, went back into heat again yesterday… :O
Since none of the girls took right away, I thought maybe our buck was to blame. I have been supplementing him with extra feed that is good for male reproduction.
Read more about that HERE.
Now, with 2 of my girls looking bred, I am working to figure out what is preventing Chrysanthemum from taking.
The most likely scenario, from all my reading is that she is likely a little over conditioned and has cystic ovaries. Chrysanthemum was always so tiny. There was no question of breeding her as a doeling and even earlier this spring I was worried because she had not made 60lb yet. Weirdly, this July when she went to the fair for 4-H, she stood around eating alfalfa and orchard grass hay all day and she bulked up! After fair, her exercise increased and her diet became more forage and less hay, however she continued to fill out and, she still has not slimmed down. Now she is 93lb! I would consider her to have a BCS of about 3.5. She is on the chunky side but not obese, however this may be enough to keep her from being bred successfully.
You can watch this kind of long and boring but informative video about body condition score HERE.
So why do I think she might be cystic? Earlier this season, she had several short cycles, cycling back in 5-7 days. The last 3 cycles she cycled in about 17-19 days, which is the correct timing, but even though we witnessed breeding each time she still has not taken. Sometimes does just short cycle at the beginning of their season but they don’t necessarily drop eggs every time, and as the season progresses, this evens out, and they get pregnant. However irregular cycling can also be a sign of a cystic doe. Sometimes a cystic doe will act extra bucky, which Chrysanthemum has not been doing. She is as bossy as ever, but not “bucky”.
Today I called the vet to see if we could try some hormone therapy to reset her system. I was keeping fingers crossed because so often they want to see the animal first before they are willing to prescribe, which I agree in theory is good medicine, but it is hard on my pocket book.
Meanwhile, I have been reading everything I could find about does not getting pregnant. I found a few main protocols that people use.
The first one, which I am not sure is enough to reset a cystic doe and is more to synchronize breeding for AI was this one:
Initial: 2cc lutalyse
10 days: 2cc lutalyse
Watch for signs of heat, follow up with the Am/Pm rule for typical AI breeding, or toss her in with the buck on day 8.
Another that I found recommended for both syncing for planned breedings and also for cystic does was this one:
Initial: 3cc lutalyse
7 days: 1cc cystorelin
14 days: 3cc lutalyse
17 days: 1cc cystorelin and breed on this day AI or toss her in with the buck on day 14.
A third one that was recommended was the same as the first, but waited a couple more days for the second lutalyse dose. Then recommended put in with boys and typically bred on day 14. It further indicated that the author did not breed on the first shot because they might not drop an egg. The first shot was to synch them and the second was for breeding.
So with all this data rolling around in my head, the vet was willing to give me two 2ml doses of lutalyse and a bottle of cystorelin.
I thought about it a lot, and decided I was going to follow the second protocol with the lutalyse and cystorelin and a 17 day cycle even though the vet only gave me 2mL doses of lutalyse.
The reason for this is that although the lutalyse might restart a doe’s cycle, it does not necessarily force the cysts to burst and reset the ovulation. Chrysanthemum has been cycling, but if my understanding of cystic ovaries in does is correct, the eggs are getting stuck and not releasing. So the cystorelin should help “lyse” or break open the cysts on the ovaries to release the eggs. Assumedly there are stuck, “past their prime” eggs in there, and that first dose of cystorelin would break those away so that nice fresh eggs could develop for fertilization the second time around.
So I will keep you all posted on how this turns out! Chrysanthemum is our doe with the best conformation, and I have been excited to see how her babies would turn out, so I will be bummed if we can’t get her pregnant!
Why don't we have pregnant goats yet?!
Breeding season is here and with it all the hope and stress of prepping for next year’s kidding season.
Last year, our first year breeding, Petunia was our only goat to be bred. We did a driveway breeding with a local mini-nubian goat owner. One hour and a little gas money, and we had Petunia bred for triplets.
This year, with our own buck on the job, I figured it would be a snap to time pregnancies so that Emma got a birthday kidding, and then about a month later our other does would kid. Kids earlier in the season would give us better size babies for showing at fair, and less problems with worms and coccidiosis in the spring/summer. For us this meant breeding in September and October.
Well folks, it’s November and I do not have a single pregnant doe!!
Initially in September, we had a series of weeks where all the does seemed to go into heat every 5-10 days. Apparently, sometimes at the beginning of the rut they can cycle really close together. When this happens they don’t always have an egg to fertilize. Usually after a few cycles they even out to the usual 17-21 days. So for September, when the girls didn’t get pregnant, I didn’t worry too much.
In October, everyone’s heat cycles seemed to even out with the exception of Penelope who had an extended 7 day heat cycle mid October, but then went back into heat again and was bred at the end of October.
Now we are into November and everyone is starting to cycle back AGAIN!
It is possible that the does are not ovulating, or that their fertility is low because of some type of nutritional deficiency.
There is something called cystic ovaries that can cause infertility in does, but I believe all of my does are too young for this condition, and they don’t have the usual signs.
I will give all the does BOSE to make sure that they are not selenium or vit E deficient. We have never copper bloused, and I do not see any sign of copper deficiency, but I will consider that in the future if we continue to have doe issues. I will also “flush” them, or, increase their nutrition slightly to make sure their bodies know there is enough nutrition to have babies.
More likely, though, is that we have a problem with our buck.
It is possible he is just a little too young. Nigerian bucks tend to be fertile by 3-4 months old, but Nubian bucks can take until 7-8 months old. Since he is 50/50, and shows a lot of Nigerian traits, I would think he would become fertile on the lower side of that age range, but it is possible in this one trait he is more like his Nubian genetics. He is 6 months old now in November.
Another consideration is very rarely polled animals can be infertile, but this is most likely when they have had polled to polled breeding in their parentage, which our buck does not, so I consider this cause unlikely. If we continue to have issues, I will have him checked for this.
For Tigger, I really think the situation is nutritionally based. When we got him he had a very rough coat and was small and thin. Through treatment for coccidiosis and supplementation we have largely corrected any nutritional concerns, however, the reproductive function is usually the last system to benefit when nutrition is improved. It is probably going to take more time.
There are several minerals that are implicated in high quality sperm production. The most important of these are zinc and selenium. A BOSE shot will take care of the selenium. For zinc, I am supplementing pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds in his diet because I have these readily available to me.
Whole roasted, unshelled pumpkin seeds contain about 3mg zinc per ounce, and shelled pumpkin seeds contains about 2.5mg per ounce.
Pumpkin seeds are also high in vitamin E which works together with selenium. This time of year, slightly used pumpkins (Halloween, Thanksgiving) and pumpkin seeds are really cheap and easy to find and all the goats love them. I asked at work for my co-workers to bring me their pumpkin innards and pumpkin toss aways, and got a few great pumpkins and some slimy innards. The goats gobble these with great relish!
Hemp seeds contain approximately 5mg zinc, plus a lot of other awesome minerals in one ounce. I will pick up a few at the store for a top dressing sprinkle.
Based on Tigger’s current size, I will give him about an ounce of pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of hemp every day for the next 2 weeks, plus toss in some pumpkins for everyone.
It takes about 49 days for a buck to grow mature sperm. If nutrition is indeed the cause, and these interventions fix the issue, I should be looking at a significantly increased quality by the end of December/early January.
Hopefully that will be soon enough to catch the end of the rut season and still get babies by May!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.