I knew that something was up with Gemma last night as soon as I pulled in the driveway. The “guardian goat” that would normally announce my arrival just laid there in front of the loafing pen door. She very casually rose to her feet when I got out of the car, chatted a bit, and then started wiggling her tail. This was not a good sign - she was flagging and obviously in heat. Unfortunately, after all of our efforts last month, Gemma was not pregnant.
I guess we weren’t surprised that her first breeding didn’t take. We had been expecting that we might have to take her for another ride to New York, but this time it was Joe who rose to the task. After a short conversation with the breeder it was decided that her breeding window was at hand, and we would have to present her to her mate within hours.
We didn’t have time to put the cap back onto the beater-truck, so we put Gemma and some hay in the back of Joe’s Escape, which is gated off in the back for the dogs. At 8:30pm, Joe, a goat, and a couple of energy drinks headed off to New York. They ended up hitting the snowstorm that blew through last night, but they arrived at the farm, intact, an hour before midnight.
It looks like the driveway rendezvous was once again successful. Gemma was quite a bit more receptive to the buck on her second date. The two goats wasted no time and got down to business right away. Joe and Gemma were on their way back to Massachusetts within an hour. They arrived home, safe and sound, around 2am.
Lets hope that the second breeding attempt will take. This pushes Gemma's due date out to late May.
Gemma came into her second heat this past week. As luck would have it, this was the weekend for Open Studios in Easthampton, which is our busiest soap-sales weekend of the year. Fortunately, with the help of the good doctor, we were able to manipulate the timing so that we could breed her on Friday.
As a side note, goats have a relatively short window for breeding. They start coming into heat in the fall and will go in and out of heat every 21 days into mid-winter, or until they are pregnant. The cycle lasts for three days, but the actual breeding window is only about six hours. This window can be manipulated somewhat with an injection of Lutalyse. It helps to have an onsite veterinarian to get the dosage and timing just right.
Our window of opportunity was 8-11am Friday morning. We found an acceptable Saanan breeder three hours away. So, at 4:30am, Gemma and I hopped in the truck for rendezvous with her date in New York.
Initially, Gemma wanted nothing to do with the huge nasty smelling buck that greeted us when we arrived at the Patina Dairy Goat farm. She didn’t seem to care that he was 2012 ‘Best Buck’. I thought we had missed the breeding window, and that I had driven three hours for nothing. But a little coaxing got the two to mix it up, and we hopefully had a successful breeding. Ten minutes later, we hopped back into the truck for the three hour drive home.
We will know in 21 days if Gemma is pregnant. Hopefully, she will not come back into heat. If we were successful, her due date is April 29!
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