General breeding management practices in Sheep and Goat
The male female ratio is 1:20.
Young males can be put in to experienced older ewes and older rams to younger ewes will help in better mating.
Inbreeding should be avoided.
The males should be replaced or exchanged once in two years to avoid inbreeding.
Breeding ewe of indigenous breeds should be 18 to 24 months depending upon their body condition.
Breeding too young ewes result in more weakling and thus results in higher lamb loss.
Body weight of ewe at breeding should normally less than the adult body weight of that breed.
Oestrous detection of all female goats above 1 year should be done either with approned or vasectomized buck both in morning or evening during breeding season.
The normal breeding season is Sept to Oct, Feb to march and may to June.
In order to synchronize them improved hormonal technology may be used or buck may be in a partitioned corral of woven-wire net so that the does and the buck may have full view of each other. This may be done a week or two before or during the breeding season.
A 90% conception rate in does may be ensured if one buck with one doe or more does (not exceeding 2 to 3) in heat are allowed to remain together for a whole day or whole night provided it is followed over period of 3 cycles.
If 2 services at an interval of 8 to 12 hrs is practised improvement in conception may be achieved.
Goats which do not return to oestrus after 2 cycles are considered as pregnant and should be separated from the dry, non pregnant flock. They should be kept in a group of not more than 15 to 20 does to avoid infighting.
If they have no kidding for complete one year they should be removed from flock.
Efforts should always be made to avoid kidding during the peak winter season which can be practically achieved by a planned breeding summer season within a specified period between 15th may to 15th June. This will save the kids from cold susceptibility and resultant pneumonic death during winter.
Avoid starvation of goat since even two days starvation period early in pregnancy can cause a high percentage of shed embryos to be absorbed.
Breeding age - 6-8 months
Comes to heat after lambing – 21 days after
Length of pregnancy - 147 days (ranges between 144 and 152 days)
Male female ratio - 1:20
Estrous period is repeated every 16-17 days on average in ewes (range 14-19 days)
Estrous period is 19-21 days in does (range 17-24 days).
The estrous period lasts for about 24-36 hours in ewes and 34-38 hours in does.
The estrous signs normally exhibited by female animals in estrus period are
Redding of the vulva and discharge from vulva
Mounting other animal
Push her back
Standing for mating (standing reflex)
Identification of sheep and goat in heat
1. Using an intact male
The male is allowed in the flock to identify the oestrous animals.
There is a chance the buck or ram will mate the doe or ewe if is not controlled properly.
2. Use of intact male fitted with aprons
An apron is tied on the abdomen of the male to cover the penis.
The apron is made of a soft piece of cloth measuring 60x45 cm with strings on four sides to tie it properly. This prevents mating.
The apron should be washed daily and checked for holes or tears to avoid unwanted mating.
The first there is a risk of fertile mating if the apron is not securely fastened and checked frequently.
Inflammation, irritation and infection of penis and prepuce area can occur, resulting in inhibited sexual desire and mounting behaviour.
The ram/buck are apronized and allowed in to the flock for identification of animals in the morning and evening for about 15 to 20minutes.
Teasure ram/buck detects the females in heat, which are marked and separated out for breeding with desired ram.
3. Vasactamised ram
Vasactamised rams can be prepared by doing surgical intervention.
An intact buck or ram is let in to the flock. The buck or ram follows the doe/ewe in estrous.
Methods of mating
1. Hand mating
In this system the females are allowed to mate one by one.
In this system a ram or buck not allowed to mate more than three ewes/does in a day.
This method ensured the expected time of lambing.
This system allows the farmer to know that the animal has actually bred.
This system reduces the risk of injuries to the animals.
It is beneficial when mating older male with a younger female.
It also improved the breeding efficiency of male, resulting in an increased number of females that can be bred in shorter period of time.
2. Pen mating
In this mating system the ewes/does are divided into batches varying from 20 to 25 ewes/does.
Males are turned in to the flock only during the night time and separated during day time.
This system of mating prevents the disturbances to the ewes/does by the male during grazing hours.
Males also given with enough rest and they can be fed properly.
3. Flock mating/pasture mating
In this system males are allowed to run along with the females throughout the day and night.
The ram may lose its most of its body reserves in chasing the ewes and they may lose their body conditions.
The ram or buck sometimes may develop attraction for particular ewe or doe in heat and serve it a number of times while other remains unattended resulting in empty ewes/does and low fertility rate.
The ram/buck some time exhaust itself overnight by serving more than a dozen times and the last served ewes or does not receive optimum number of spermatozoa and remain unconceived.
4. Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination offer the best means of distributing germplasm from nucleus breeding flock to many small flocks within each eco system.
Fresh as well as frozen semen is used.
The speculum method of insemination is used for ewes and does.
Generally artificial insemination leads to lower reproductive rate than natural service and frozen semen gives even much low pregnancy rate that is around 40%.
Cervical insemination is generally followed for better conception rate.