Friday, July 10, 2009

Flushing- Why, How, and When

Flushing is the term used when a special feeding program is used on your animals before breeding in hope that you will get more babies per mom when the time comes.

Some breeders purposely do not flush. (This is especially common in Katahdins since they are so productive already. We didn't flush last fall and we didn't get any singles.) Some mothers are capable of producing several more babies
then they are able to feed. So if you're against bottle feeding, think before you flush your ewes/does.

I am all for flushing and getting as many babies out of my girls once a year, since I don't really like breeding them less then 12 months apart. Since I raise dairy goats, I don't have to fork out money for milk replacer, which is a huge blessing. Most of my animals have been am
azing mothers, I really have nothing to worry about.

So, why flush is easy. More productivity. In addition you want your girls in good shape before going through pregnancy, anyways.

How is trickier. First you want to be sure your girls aren't over weight before you begin to flush. You pretty much want them on their lowest healthy weight, so they don't get fat through the process. :-) Flushing will also make a bigger difference this way. (I'm not saying to starve them, keep them healthy.)

From personal experience and word of mouth I have found that a good quality of alfalfa or alfalfa pellets is very satisfactory. I have used this any years I have flushed. Sometimes I feed a specific grain as well, but those tend to be higher in fat. (Through research done in cattle, it was concluded that high fat intake before breeding significantly increased the amount of bull calves born. So, I stay away from to much fat and go for proteins and fiber, which alfalfa is perfect for.)

Lush grass also plays a huge role in flushing. It is a wonderful idea to put a pasture aside until it is really green and yummy and then turn your ewes/does into it.

Your girl should also be up to date on hoof trimming, worming, and any other vaccinations you do. I always give their booster Convexin 8 when I start flushing along with Bo-se and a long lasting dewormer.

When to start flushing. It is best to have your girl on your flush feeding about 17 days before you plan on breeding. Do not take her off the day after she gets bred. Keep her on the same feeding and gradually move her back down. (A doe or ewe should be fed the same as she was when dry for at least the first two months of pregnancy, or your going to end up with a fatty girl or over sized babies.)

If any one else has ideas or comments about flushing, please pass them on. I'm still learning a lot here.

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