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Crunching #s

I’ve been studying several sets of numbers.  From the past several years.  Why?  I want to know if this flushing goats deal is worth it or not.  I know that I get a foul taste in my mouth when I mention flushing, but is it really that bad?

Here’s what I will tell you:

1–It is a lot like Vegas.  In short, you better gamble often and put money on numerous does.  If you are just flushing 1 donor and it doesn’t work it is a train wreck.  The success comes when flushing 4 or more donors at a time.  If one doesn’t fire, so what.  The other 3 produced.  Mentally, you don’t remember the one.  It tends to lessen the pain.

2–Weather obvisouly affects E.T. flush programs.  Rain or extreme temp changes can wreck the whole deal.  Steady weather patterns seem to be the key. 

3–Using frozen embryos is even more weather stable dependent.  If all conditions aren’t pointed in the right direction, then leave them in the tank.  

4–Suprisingly, frozen semen is more successful than I expected.  Most of the time, embryos harvested is very close to the same as live cover.  I attribute this to the fact that we all do a better of managing donors, recips and letting a professional take care of the A.I. work when we are dealing with frozen semen.  Simply put–we have more invested, so we try harder.  Plus, there is the fact that frozen semen is made up of only the best cells.  

5–Flush protocols are different from one technician to the next.  Nobody’s is perfect.  They can all work or all be a head-first dive into a dry swimming pool.  I don’t believe that our science is good enough to be exact.  I do think that we can vary from herd to herd as well as times of the year.  There are many variables.  Without a doubt, the more variables that you can narrow down, the more successful the flush.  This includes knowing an individual does specific cycle times/lengths/etc.  

6–Recip management is just as important as donor management.  Maybe more important.  Buck management also plays a role.  

7–Talk to other area breeders.  Work together.  Even if you don’t like them, there are things to learn from each other.  You don’t have to share genetics, but you can share costs, knowledge, good/bad experiences.

8–Use a technician that wants to work for your program.  Not the other way around.  You are the one writing the check, therefore YOU are paying their salary.  If they are in a hurry to get to a different place, use somebody else.  

9–I am intrigued by the prospect of flushing does in more stable weather months, freezing embryos and then transplanting at an optimum time when conditions point in the right direction.   One thing about the goat industry, size and age are relative to your part of the country.  Then throw in some internet marketing, delilvery options and there is always a home for a good one, no matter the time of year.  

Here’s what I think. Actually, here is what I now know about flushing goats.  Find an E.T. techinician that you like to work with.  Don’t try to flush just 1 or 2 donors.  If you are going to spend some money, go all in.  Make that technician be there all day–flush 4, 6 or more.  Don’t be scared of frozen semen.  Watch the weather patterns.  No matter what you do or how you do it, be consistent in what you do and how you do it. 

Yes, flushing actually works.  Be particular about the does that you are flushing.  For example, 25 embryos out of a common female dog of a donor will most likely result in 25 common goats raised.  While 3 embryos out of a stellar proven mating could result in a buck prospect, a banner wether and future donor doe.  In the future, I will rely heavily on 1 through 9 and extra heavy on rule 8.  Spend wisely.