Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
Onion Creek Ranch "Chevon, cabrito, goat... No matter what you call it, it is the HEALTHY red meat™
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WILL VINEGAR IN DOES' DRINKING WATER
PRODUCE MORE FEMALE OFFSPRING?

Every breeding season goat producers renew the discussion of whether putting vinegar in the drinking water of breeding does will increase the likelihood that more females than males will be born. Some people swear by it, while others think it is nonsense. To better understand the potential for success or failure of this management practice, let's examine the biological foundations of sex determination.

Sex determination is entirely dependent upon the combination of X and Y chromosomes that join at each breeding. The male possesses one X and one Y chromosome, while the female has two X chromosomes. The Y chromosome determines males, while two X chromsomes equals a female. Therefore, it is clear that the male of the species determines the sex of the offspring. When anything is introduced into the gastrointestinal tract, its next place to go is into the bloodstream. The bloodstream buffers ---neutralizes the pH --- of an overly acidic or a highly alkaline element. The only path from the gastrointestinal tract to the reproductive organs is the bloodstream, and neutralization of the chemical will already have taken place.

There exists a long-held belief that vaginal pH affects the viability of male versus female-producing sperm. Folks who subscribe to this concept believe that a change in the pH of the vagina will kill off sperm that produce boys, allowing female-creating sperm to survive and successfully fertilize the egg to produce doelings.

Normal vaginal pH is acidic, and maintenance of optimum pH balance requires the complex interaction of hormonal, microbiological, and other unknown factors. Both semen and cervical mucous have a pH that is either neutral or basic (alkaline) and may change slightly but only temporarily.

If the goal is to get more acid into the vagina, then ingesting vinegar orally makes no sense. Changing the pH of the vaginal tract would be more likely by introducing this acid directly into the vaginal canal. However, medically speaking, douching with vinegar by human females has little effect on vaginal pH. There is no evidence available to prove that this is likely to be different in goats.

Sperm are formed in the buck's testes and then travel to the epididymis. The epididymis is a mass of tubes at the back of the testis -- the male reproductive gland -- where sperm stay for about 30 days until they are mature and ready to be ejaculated. If the buck has not been breeding recently, the first ejaculation is often known as "rusty load" because many of the spermatozoa stored in the epididymis are past their prime. Therefore, the likelihood of successful breeding, be it male or female, is reduced until a fresh supply of mature sperm are produced.

After reviewing the information presented above, it is more likely that sex is really determined by the age and motility (speed of movement) of the sperm than by anything else.

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Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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