Match.com for goats? A crash course in caprine artificial insemination
Yes, really. If you can’t stand the thought of keeping an ornery, smelly buck and don’t want to ship your doe three hours away for a worthy one, you too can artificially inseminate your goats right in the comfort of your own home.
OK, not inside your home but it doesn’t have to be any farther than your backyard caprine enclave.
I’ve finally pulled the trigger and decided that this year’s breeding season will not include a cross-the-state trip to a not-necessarily-so-friendly buck. I will not leave my beautiful doe, Tulip, for a month in his presence, leaving him to ‘do his thing’ while her conspecific, Poppy, languishes alone in a funk (they’re very attached).
Instead, I've built a stanchion, bought an “AI gun,” arranged for a liquid nitrogen tank, a semen defrosting water bath and a mobile ultrasound unit and brushed up on my caprine reproductive anatomy. And that was the easy part.
The tough part (aside from actually threading a pipette through Tulip’s cervix five separate times) was picking her “boyfriend.”
So you know, most dairy goat owners don’t go in for this kind of thing. It’s so much easier, everyone says, to put the doe in the back of the truck and drive down the road to a local buck of your choice, allowing her to be bred for two estrus cycles (21 days apart) before bringing her back home. But, as I said, I have no stomach for allowing her to suffer such indignity and stress. Not if I can help it.
That’s why I headed to the goat version of eHarmony, picked a gorgeous male with excellent “dairyness” scores and ordered a set of five “straws” full of caprine semen. What could be better? What chances would I have, otherwise, of finding such a perfect “baby daddy” for my precious Tulip?
Isn’t he beautiful? Polaris is his name.
Whew! That was tough. He had such great competitors, but none with such flair, such pizazz, such a gorgeous mama...
and such a well-endowed daughter (we have to look at these things, you understand).
So now all I have to do is keep my observation chart to determine her heat cycle’s timing and go for a few trial runs observing her cervix to make sure I can get through there with my trusty AI gun.
If it all sounds too gross, you’re not alone. My son heartily agrees with you. But then, he’s only eleven years old and would rather take the “out of sight out of mind” approach to this messy reproduction business. (Though he did pointedly ask how many sperm the one to three eggs would be up against, as if this were some kind of video game venture.)
Next up, two to three inseminations twelve hours apart within the next month...repeated in 21 days. I promise I’ll include pics for your edification...and endless amusement.
In today's DailyVet on PetMD, why you shouldn't go without a rabies vaccine. And tomorrow, as counterpoint, expect a Dolittler entry on one pitfall of rabies vaccination you'd never expect.