I’d like to give you your Saturday night laugh at my expense. You’re welcome. The original plan was to keep Wishes. So we put her in with our buck, Buffalo, so she could be bred and have babies in the early spring. Then the plan changed to include two new goats of a different breed, so Wishes will be finding a new home. Unfortunately we were not 100% sure if she was pregnant, and that kind of matters to people looking to buy a goat. Since the internet knows everything, I thought I’d check for ways to tell if a goat is pregnant without having to do a blood draw or see a vet. Success! Score one for resourceful cattle ranchers! Ranchers realized that if you mix cow pee with bleach it will foam up if they are pregnant because the progesterone (or something) reacts with the bleach. Goats and cows and sheep are all very similar when it comes to all things baby-ing, so people reported good results with this method. I had bleach, I just needed some goat pee. Turns out Wishes is shy and goats must only need to pee once every 24 hours or so. I rigged up a washed-out bean can on the end of a stick (I’m serious) and hung out in the goat pen for probably 5 hours all together. One night I was calling it a failure and as I opened the gate to come in, she peed. On the ground. But it didn’t seep in so I scooped up the pee and now mud into the can and we got enough that it made the bleach foam. I then bleached my hand and happily moved on with my life vowing to buy tests and learn to draw blood because what I just described is ridiculous…even for me.
A company in Canada makes easy to use tests for cows that also work for goats and sheep. When they arrived we got to it. Milk or blood serum can be used (not pee…hallelujah) so all we needed was to draw some blood. Again, for the 8 millionth time in our farm career, it was to the internets!
First you shave a big patch on the neck on either side. I think I might buy my husband new clippers for Christmas, so these can be for the goats and he can have his very own set that isn’t shared.
Then you (or a helper…me in this case because I wanted to watch him a few times before I try it) hold the goat, feel for the jugular vein, insert the needle and draw the blood. Easy, right? Actually once he found where to go it was super easy. Our new Kinder girls were very easy to work with.
Some places say the blood will clot and the serum will separate on it’s own. Other places say you need to spin it in a centerfuge. Yeah, we don’t have one of those…but we do have my sons bike! Perfect! Oh and these are my new “farm” jeans thanks to a stupid fence and greedy goats poaching for animal cookies.
Lots of spinning later these are our conclusions:
– Totally got mixed messages on wether or not Wishes is pregnant. I think she is.
– We have a lot to learn about working with the blood once it is drawn, but we know we can get blood easily on our own for when we start testing. Yay!
– Spinning it on the bike did nothing to make the serum separate.
– Josie’s blood clotted and separated beautifully, while the other two girls’ didn’t at all…we barely got enough for the test. And no idea what we did differently or if goats are like people in that some cooperate and some don’t.
– According to the test (which might be off because our breeding dates were a bit off) none of the three is pregnant. That is sad because we were hoping that the Kinder girls were bred when we bought them. It may be a good thing though because one of them is really too young to be bred. So in November, Josie will be hanging out in Buffalo’s pen so they can shamelessly get it on when she goes into heat. ChaCha will go in there in December.
– The mating habits of goats are almost as funny as those of rabbits. Almost.