Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Farm News & Update

About that news I wanted to share the other day....

I finally have slowed down enough to have time to share it! I've soooo many outside chores, things to do ASAP, and Winter preparation, that I've been very much over whelmed. Add to that the house (inside) is a DISASTER; and hubby now has a couple more sores on the foot that is going through the bone disintergration and amputations, I had to do something and it had to make a difference. So, it was time and I did know and acknowledge it.

First, my problem was the size of the goat herd was paramount. I was milking 6 does a day and was feeding most of that to the kids (old enough to be weaned) and poultry. I was only saving enough for my morning milk and anything else planned that needed some of that lovely milk.

My 2nd problem, and a huge one for me, was who goes! I had a few I knew were going but I was ready to cull the herd much deeper and into my favorites and upcoming doelings I REALLY would like to have kept another year to see how they develop. One of the reasons is a doe normally has aprox. 6 kiddings in her life time. (I sure hope I have the above average who can go 10 or more!) That's not a lot.

So to breed with good goals and ethics, I feel responsible to know what my doe is going to produce and how that udder will develop! There's a lot to be determined in breeding well. I don't want to just breed, I want to breed well and do the very best I can for the goats involved and especially the offspring! I want them to be the type of goats that one insists on keeping when they down-size their herd! I want them to be favorites and have enjoyable personalities too.

That being, I don't have a lot of kiddings to use and to learn what they will produce so I need to keep a few kids for a while to know. I did learn a lot about what Kendra and Claire now produce by having Raquel, Danika, and Cinnamon on my milkstand. The similarities were interesting and distinguishable. They were sired by Arthur, a Nubian, with an outstanding personality. I didn't know what he did for his offspring in the udder department and wasn't pleased with what I got. The 3 DID get the production and also good personalities from their dams. There were similarities to their dam's in udder conformation but enough of a backwards step to know that Arthur wasn't a buck to be considered an "udder buck"! I also learned my 2 does will produce producers but need help in the udder attachments! The capacity came along, but I want better attachment for an udder that is producing 3+ quarts of milk a day the first kidding! That udder needs to stay suspended on their 6th lactation (6 being the average # of kiddings for a doe)! If not, the teats will be dragging on the ground and stepped on! NOT good at all. I did also learn that my does will put good teats and orifices on a kid and all 3 FF's (first fresheners) had GREAT teats that were easy to hold and milked out quickly and easily due to good orifices. I sure learned alot!

The only problem with not keeping any of this year's doelings (and they were NICE) from Nipper (ND buck/first kid crop) is I won't know what he adds to the kids in udder development, production, etc. His kids were NICE. I REALLY wanted to keep at least one, with that being Jolene! But, I HAD to make some decisions and I had to lighten my work load significantly. So I decided I had to "grin and bear it"!

My decisions ended up being I put 15 of them up for sale on Craigslist. Some were my dairy kids and the 3 FF does, and some from my Boers. I cut into the herd DEEPLY! I also decided to part with Daisy. She had a difficult kidding last year as far as engorging, dropping tooo much weight (she had trips so not surprising), foundered (I blame myself), didn't regain good weight upon weaning, and I just plain don't know enough about dealing with foundered goat feet. Hubby had been doing her trimmings and I missed noticing the laminitis flare-up quickly enough. Daisy has always been a lazy gal and she has always taken over her feed tub and laid down to enjoy her dinner! It's hard to see feet in a herd and then when they settle down if one is going to lay down to eat. (Macy & Monique do the same and are her 3/4 sisters.) She developed those "elf feet" and I kept trimming on her weekly but was get down to very near to bloody without getting them short enough. I was told by a few seasoned goat folks not to make them bleed, just trim and "let them be". I'm not happy with the outcome at all. My decision was to find someone who knew more than I, and I would give her away (which I did). (She didn't go on the Craigslist ad as I wanted to do the best I could for her.)

I ended up with a great opportunity for Daisy (who is a sweet gal)! The guy who bought the 15 I had for sale seemed to know more about feet than I do (he's a cattleman) and thought he might be able to turn her around over time. He also has a young guy near him who was wanting to learn to trim goats, etc. as income. So this seemed to be an ideal situation for Daisy. She'll be a pet and have a couple people working on her feet who should be able to do much better for her than I can. I've learned a whole lot about triming feet but I've learned to trim healthy and "good" feet. Daisy never has had "good feet" from the time we got her. I do find it much easier to trim horse feet as they don't have the 2 "claws". You balance THE foot and only have one to work on at a time which is 4 parts and not 8 plus balancing them together! The angles are also quite different for goats! So Daisy is in a better place for her well-being. The 16 went together so had "moral" support and their buddies to keep them less stressed.

I also enjoyed meeting the guy who bought them. He's just getting into goats, still has cattle and horses. He seems VERY nice and I feel they have a great home.

There was a down side in this though and I have been very upset over that! Danika had a teary eye the day he came to see them. I checked her eye and saw nothing but it was tearing. I started her on othalmic antibiotics and thought she probably had gotten a bit of a poke from a weed. Goats love the browsing in weeds and brush and she had come in with several cockle burs/burdocks that afternoon. I kept her on the eye drops to make sure she was doing ok. Her eye did get a blue hazy look but the eye drops seemed to be clearing it up well. I did show it to the guy and had pointed it out when he came to see them. Unfortunately, Danika has lost her eye. I was very upset to learn that upon buying them that the guy had a vet bill. She will be fine, but I was upset that it looked to be improving and there was a piece of burr that had entered her eye and gotten in deeper than my eyes could see. She's now doing great but I'm still embarrassed and upset with the situation evolving during a sale from me.

That being, I'm now down to less than half my herd!

I have a new home for Lady Bug's 2 doelings. These are also Nipper kids. Lady Bug, June Bug and Nipper are staying. They were a gift I GREATLY cherish and all 3 are such nice goaties to have and be around. They are sweet natured and just plain well-put-together. Lady was VERY easy to milk when she kidded and continues to have a very well conformed and attached udder. Her doelings are adorable as kids and NICE.

Kendra and Claire are staying of course! Spirit and Becca are staying. Those are my Alpine milkers.

Nipper and Bandit are staying. They are Nigerian Dwarf and Alpines.

Macey and Mo'Nique are still here. They are 75 or 88% Boer and the other 25/12% are Alpine. I really like these 2 does a lot. A goal hasn't been set for them but if all else fails, I can milk them. I have milked Macey. Hubby isn't sure he wants to part with all the Boers so these 2 will stay while he's debating. The only thing I don't care for about them is that Macey is a screamer and Mo'Nique a "bawler" when they see me step out the door. As soon as they get fed, they are quiet again. They are very personable and cooperative. Macey's twin boys are really nice. Mo'Nique never kidded. She'll get another chance as Bandit broke into the barn and their pen when they were in heat. Those chaos moments were just that - CHAOTIC! He sure got a lot of "on-the-practice" in his several escapades! I guess I named him right! That boy can jump from standing still onto a 5+' ledge to break into the barn without blinking!

That will leave me with only 10 for the Winter. I'm now only milking only 2, Kendra and Claire.

Spirit is drying up. Becca is the only 2010 doeling I have kept back. She's Spirit's daughter and from a buck at Udder Paradice. Becca's a BEAUTIFUL doeling and her twin, Bandit, is a very handsome buckling. I changed my direction slightly for mini Alpines. Spirit and Becca will be Nipper's does and Bandit will have Kendra and Claire. Becca has spent the night in the buck pen with Nipper. I'm afraid Bandit may have "done the deed" with his dam, but I'm hoping with low odds that she didn't settle. I won't hold my breath on this chaotic, bad-boy moment!

So, it's been a very difficult decision to make and difficult re-evaluation of my goals and breeding plans. I said good bye to a few goats who I'm going to miss greatly. That being, in the decision making, I did a head count and realized that if Bandit has bred all the does he broke into pens with, I will probably have 16 kids coming the middle of March! I highly suspect almost all the does will kid within a week of each other in cold, wet weather unless my "wishes" come through and he wasn't able to settle them all! I have NO doubt that he'll have brought a lot of really good genetics to my breeding program (thank heavens) so it may get chaotic again, but at least he's a high quality buck! (I would really like to take Nipper and Bandit to a goat show as I think they both have the potential to do well. I'll have to see how things are going in the spring and IF the shows will have buck classes for them with enough entries to make it worthwhile.

I'm still going to miss Latte, Coffee Bean, Jolene, Justin, Burglar, Mason, Clifford, Chelsea, CarrieAnne, Daisy, Buttons, PattyCake, Raquel, Danika, Cinnamon..... and just maybe that rascally Buckley a bit! I wish them well and hope that their new owner enjoys them half as much as I did. I hope they do well for him with his plans. He said he's keeping them all and they will be pets. He has someone who is milking the 3 does and wanted some goat milk. And, yes, I told him that Bandit managed to break into their pens also and have a romp with them as they came in heat.... He laughed.

1 comment:

  1. I sure hope things settle down for you and y our husband. My prayers to both of you.