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Reproduction is considered the primary trait of economic importance in livestock production systems. Healthy animals are essential for reproduction to be successful. Although adequate nutrition is a major factor in ensuring optimum reproductive herd efficiency, there are general practices a farmer can implement to increase the likelihood of successful reproduction in the herd.

Nutritional requirements are based on meeting daily nutritional needs. To sufficiently feed them, group the animals according to nutritional needs. In barn feeding situations such as during the winter months, animals should be provided with high-quality hay and supplemented with properly balanced grain feed. Inadequate provision of nutrition can diminish growth rate, milk production, reproduction, and disease resistance.

Factors to Consider

  • Access to proper nutrition year-round is a major factor affecting the health and fertility of a herd of animals.
  • Allow goats to browse and graze by giving them access to hay and feeding them supplemental grain to keep them in good breeding conditions.
  • Provide additional high-protein grain feed for a month before the breeding period known as flushing.
  • Avoid overfeeding animals because obese animals are less likely to conceive, and obese does may be prone to birthing difficulties.
  • Take proper care of animals, such as deworming, vaccinations, and other preventative healthcare practices.
  • Feed animals an adequate amount of macro and micro minerals for a successful reproduction program among breeding stock.
  • Check the animals’ feet for disease or overgrown hooves before breeding.
  • Provide fresh water, especially during the breeding season.

Apply assisted reproductive technology by using techniques, such as estrus synchronization, artificial insemination, multiple ovulations, and embryo transfer for superior genetics and highly prized livestock. Consult a veterinarian or other experts for further advice.

Summary

A well-informed producer can increase his or her success in meat goat and sheep production. Issues such as diet, nutrition, health care, foot care, and water quality are crucial in raising healthy, productive animals. By following these best management practices, producers should be able to minimize the occurrence of nonproductive animals and increase farm revenue.

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