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!