This is one subject that all breeders are not always in agreement on. Some will always try to get their Hoggets to 12-14 months before putting them to the Buck. If they have not reached a good body weight they will not cycle. Many people will leave their Hoggets until they have reached two years of age, this gives some of the smaller ones a better chance to grow. I see no problem with mating your Hoggets as long as they are well grown. The body weight of 27-28kgs is found to be a good mating weight.
Angoras will naturally come into season in late summer or early autumn and be active up to April or May. Some consider it a good practice, once you have decided when you are going to put out your Bucks, to try and have them run in the paddock next to the Does you wish to mate. If the Does have not already begun to cycle, then this usually gets them going.
The seasonal sexual activity of Angora’s is very obvious, so I hope that experienced farmers will allow me to explain this to the newcomers. The Does, when cycling, wag their tails constantly and will mount other Does, and are restless and excitable. The Buck will start that habit of spraying his own urine all over his head and front legs. His normal non-odorous body exudes a very strong characteristic Buck goat odour, which apparently attracts the Does to him. He really thinks that the urine he sprays all over himself becomes irresistible perfume to the Does, in fact Angoras have very little odour at all and are much less smelly in the shed than sheep.
Record keeping is mandatory, and every mating is pre-planned for a variety of reasons, in the hope of improving the quality of that stud’s animals. These Bucks will sire many progeny over their working lives and therefore their influence in the stud or out on farms after they have been purchased, is far reaching indeed. All stud Bucks must be registered with Mohair New Zealand’s registrar. The best studs go to a lot of trouble to produce top quality stock. All stock must have the best nutrition and care that can be given, young Bucks need to be well humanised with steady temperaments.
All opinions seem in agreement over this. If using mature Bucks they can be put out at two to every one hundred Does. But if using young Bucks that are still growing while they work, each young two-tooth Buck should probably only cover about thirty or so Does, and is allowed a little longer to do the same job.
Angoras keep on growing for three years and this includes the Does, so when you purchase a two-tooth animal, you can confidently expect them to almost double their size by the third year.
The use of Buck harnesses is a fool proof method of testing new Bucks. They will have their own colour in their harness pad and you can see by this colour on the Does rump how many they are mating. In a stud situation, the Bucks each have different colour, but in addition are put in with the chosen Does in quite separate paddocks so that each planned mating is sure to be as you wished.
First of all, make yourself as familiar with the breed as possible by observing many different flocks, if this can be done. If you still feel unsure as to which ones to purchase privately, or at auction, do seek the assistance of another experienced breeder, and get them to point out the better animals in the pens prior to the auction. Meanwhile, the following points should always be looked at.
BUCK – first, check their papers giving their lineage. Stand back and survey the Buck from all angles.
Does he look impressive? Does he stand well? Has he got plenty of size for this age? Is his body conformation good? He should have as straight a back as possible with a neck of medium length supporting a strong head with good male horns. Check that where the horns emerge from the head, they are not too closely placed. They should have a good big inch or more between them. Otherwise when they fight at tupping time etc, they can get another Bucks leg pinned in a narrow gap, and end up with a broken leg.
Stand in front of the Buck and make sure he has a good wide chest and strong straight front legs. His back legs should be well shaped, not splayed and sickle hocked. Check all his feet for sign of previous foot rot or poor shaped hooves. Make sure he is not standing back on his pasterns but stands straight and upright on all four feet, supporting a good deep body.
DOE – Check her lineage and stand back the same as for the Buck and look for most of the same things.
Does she look impressive? Is she a good size for her age? Has she good conformation? Neat horns. Check feet for no problems and make sure she is standing well.
As this is so important with a Buck, do examine his sexual organs. Check that both testicles are present and that they do not feel either spongy or have lumps.
The Doe should have two sound teats, and healthy genitals, and if of breeding age she should have bred.
It is very important that a good Buck has good strong teeth and well balanced bite. This means that his teeth in the bottom jaw, do not either protrude out over the top jaw pad, or are unduly undershot beneath it. Sometimes in a two-tooth Buck, it can be a little difficult to decide this, as often they may have only one permanent tooth up or possibly none and just getting the first two through. The same applies to the Doe.
When your purchase or purchases and arrived home with them, you must realise that these animals may not have seen each other before, so in the case of Bucks be aware that they could fight, normally it won’t be very serious but if it is you may need to separate them. Particularly if there is an age difference in them.
Does can also be very bossy to each other and sometimes you will get a Doe that is frightened of the others and it can put her back in condition, so keep an eye on them.
When buying animals try to get them from a similar climate or poorer conditions than your own, they then should shift well as animals take some time to adjust to changing farms, but if they are not, be aware that they may need a little more attention than your own.