Before you start bucking the title, read why you shouldn’t keep male and female goats together. There are actually several reasons why it’s a bad idea. Especially if you want to protect the wellbeing of your goats.
Before you buy goats, or add a buck to your female herd, learn why you shouldn’t raise them together.
Can You Keep Male and Female Goats Together All The Time?
Obviously, if you want goat babies or goat milk, you will have to allow the boys to hang out with the girls. However, after a night (or 5 minutes) of romance, it’s time to go their separate ways.
Not only is keeping your male and female goats separated a good idea for preventing unwanted pregnancies, but it also protects the health of your does.
Part of raising livestock is practicing good animal husbandry. Meaning it is our job to look after the health and wellbeing of all of the animals under our care.
Raising male and female goats together is dangerous for your goats and in my opinion, isn’t being a good caretaker.
Continue reading to see why we are so passionate about keeping your male and female goats apart from each other.
#1 When Is My Goat Due?
Unplanned pregnancies in livestock are not necessarily a good thing. Especially if you run a registered herd.
If you run a buck and a doe together all the time, it will be difficult to tell when a doe goes into heat and when she gets bred.
This is a bad idea for several reasons. One, it will be impossible to know when her due date is.
Although not always, sometimes does need assistance giving birth. A good animal steward will be prepared for the delivery date, and be available to assist with the delivery, if needed.
Just ask any farmer, they never leave or take vacation during kidding season!
If the male and female goats are kept separate, you can select the buck you want to breed with each doe.
And you will know the exact date she was exposed, so the delivery can be planned.
#2 Breeding A Goat- Who’s Your Daddy?
Did you know that more than one male goat can impregnate a doe at the same time?
An interesting side note – A doe in heat can be bred by 2 or more different bucks during her heat cycle.
For instance, a Nubian doe can be bred by a Nubian buck, and during that same cycle, she could also breed with another Nubian buck, or a buck of a different goat breed. She would then give birth to Nubian cross.
Not the worst thing that could happen, but if you are breeding registered goats this is unwanted. Record keeping and a proper tracking of lineage is a must when raising registered goats.
This happened on my farm my first year with goats. It was definitely a learning experience.
#3 Mean Buck
Another reason not to keep bucks and does together is a pregnant doe can be seriously injured by an aggressive buck.
A pregnant doe will emit the hormone progesterone during her pregnancy; which increases just days before she gives birth, around the time she loses her tail ligaments.
When a doe loses her tail ligaments, it means she’s getting ready to deliver her baby(s).
These hormones are the same hormones that tell a buck when it’s “time to breed”.
Whereas, they should be saying “leave me alone, I’m about to give birth!”.
Clearly, the pregnant mama is not in the mood for the horny buck and all of his antics. Her rejection makes the buck mean and aggressive.
The buck can do great harm if he tries to mount her days before she gives birth.
He will not give up easily. He will chase her, get rough, and can actually end up killing the kids (baby goats) in utero.
This in turn could eventually end up killing the doe as the kids decay in her body. Not only could you lose the kid(s), but you could lose your doe as well.
Unfortunately, this is a harsh reality of raising male and female goats together. Now you understand why we are so passionate about this.
#4 Can Male and Female Goats Be Kept Together?
One more reason to keep male and female goats separate, is a doe can get pregnant again right after giving birth.
New moms need time to recuperate, and care for her new kids. The last thing they need is to get pregnant again.
A full grown buck can do serious damage to a new mom if he tries to breed her right after giving birth. Her body needs time to heal, as well as producing milk for the kids.
A new goat mama and her babies should be kept in a separate birthing area that’s just for them. Without outside pests or horney male goats trying to bother them.
#5 Top Reason Not To Keep Male and Female Goats Together- Protecting The Goat Kids
Finally, if an adult buck is with a doe when she gives birth he could very well kill the newborns.
The female hormones can make a buck do things you wouldn’t think possible. And yes, this can happen, I’ve witnessed it and it’s brutal. And such an unnecessary and preventable loss.
Keeping the males and females separate gives you, the owner, peace of mind, control over the herd, and puts you in charge of their birthing schedule.
When it is time to breed, bring the doe to his buck pen or his field, not vice versa.
You can have better control leading a doe than a buck, you’ll know exactly the day of breeding, and once she has been bred it will be easy to separate them and return the doe to the herd.
Make sure to keep good records and write down all the dates of exposure and who was shacking up with whom. Even if you don’t run a registered herd, always keep good records.
Can Male Goats Ever Live With Female Goats?
There are times during the year when you can run a buck with a doe, or let a buck live with a doe.
For instance, during the winter, when rut (heat cycle) has ceased and all does are no longer cycling. There should be no danger of unwanted breeding during this time.
However, make sure to only cohabitate your goats if your does aren’t expecting. Headbutting an expectant mom over grain and feed can still harm the unborn babies.
Can Male Goats Be Kept Alone?
Goats are companion animals. Meaning they do not like to be alone. You can run a buck with other bucks or a wether (a neutered male), but they shouldn’t be raised alone.
Additionally, you should not run an older, retired doe with a buck thinking it’s her time to rest. She will continue to cycle for her entire life, thus you will end up with an unwanted, and high risk, pregnancy.
Can You Keep Male Goats Together ?
Animals are animals. Any animal that goes into heat, whether it’s a sheep, goat, or dog, will attract a male, so it’s best to run male goats with male goats.
I have one buck now, my sole or single buck. Since he needs companionship, at times I have put a bull (cow) with him, and other times I put ram lambs with him.
In addition to running males with males, it’s important to note that the horned bucks could possibly injure the goats without horns. An adult ram with horns will kill a male goat, even one with horns. So do your best to run like breeds and features together.
At What Age Should You Separate Male and Female Kids?
A doeling can become fertile as young as 4 months of age, which means a 3 month old buckling could breed her.Three month old bucklings should be separated from females.
Ideally, your does should be one year old before breeding.
Lastly, we are responsible for the health and happiness of the lives that are entrusted to us. Do the right thing, keep your male and female goats separate, happy and healthy.
About The Author
Cheri, owner and operator of AnUdder Chance Farm, is located in N. Central Florida. Cheri is a widow writing from her experiences which weren’t ‘all perfect’. She was educated from the School of Hard Knocks.
Cheri raises dairy goats, Katahdin sheep, Jersey cows and various other farm critters.