Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Picking Up Goat Hay Feeders.

What do you do when you drive 4 hours and the goat hay feeders you bought don't fit in your trailer by a couple of inches?  You borrow the skid loader in the lot and put them on top.

Almost as tall as a tractor trailer.  It was kind of dicey driving through the back roads with the lower power lines but as you can see they made it home safe and sound.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

11 New Anatolians!

Nov. 26, 2012 we had a litter of AKC registered Anatolian Shepherd's born.  4 girls and 7 boys.  We have never had puppies this time of the year and it was quite bitter on the day they were born so we moved them into the barn.  I felt the shelter was not quite adequate for the colder temps.   The pups will be returned to the goat pen in a few more days.  

Check back often as I plan to update photos of them and their sire and dam.  They will be available for purchase.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cull Hard or Go Home

AKGA reg. 1/2 Kiko 1/2 Spanish: She has great kids every year.  She is a little pulled down in this photo, which is to be expected nursing nice twins, but she is healthy and slicked off. She is a keeper. 

Cull hard or go home is my new motto.  We all cull our goats, most of the time it is due to age, bad traits or we just have to many so we pick the least desirables to leave our herd.  BUT we all do one thing, we always keep that one or two goats that really should go but we give it a second chance.  Why?  I don't know why because it always turns out to be a bad idea 99% of the time.  At least that is what happens at my place.  

Bags:  I like a high tight back with "little" teats. I know some like to keep a goat as long as the teats are above the hocks... but I still like those little teats.  The Spanish goat on the left has what I like most.  The Spanish goat on the right will be culled, this is only their second kidding season.  That is just my preference. 

Oh you have heard the conversation in your head:

"She's old, and starting to look old but I'll keep her one more year and if she has doelings I will keep them."  For me it 's one more year too long.  She falls apart due to the strain of one more set of twins and then I have nothing but an old skinny goat that paid her dues many times over all ready.

This is a no brainer.  All my goats are treated the same.  This year and a half old doe did fine with the way we worm (worm as needed FAMACHA & everyone once a year) until after she had kids.  The stress of having kids shows me she is not tough enough for our herd.  She is a cull. 

"Well, maybe the dog cleaned one of the kids and that is why she only took one twin."  Although you have not proof of this and you have other does that it doesn't matter if the dog comes over and bothers her or not, she makes sure her twins stay with her.  Now I have a doe that again has given me a screaming, needs some sort of attention another year.  

This is a first time commercial purebred Kiko Doe.  Next to her is her 2012 kid who is 3 1/2 months old.  I always give first time young does a pass on their first year of kidding if they have a single.  This does is still a keeper.  Even though she had one kid, she had one good kid. 

"But she's a good goat, it's a fluke her kids are not good, probably just a bad breeding match." Sometimes goats do not pass on their favorable traits.

These kids are very runty and small.  Their dam is a huge commercial boer cross doe that will be finding a new home this fall.  She looks the part but she sure does not produce it. 

Oh I could go on and on but I won't, you know the justifications you do to keep certain goats that in the end should really go.  So I have decided to stick with my 1st gut feelings and just cull!  Goats are pretty prolific there will be more soon so don't sweat it.  Get rid of what needs to go, clean house, take out the trash...etc.   

These two bucklings are out of an AKGA 7/8 Kiko Doe.  I will be keeping her. She has been producing nice fast growing twin kids. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?!

Yes, a pun was intended, probably the puniest I could think of.  Anyway, many thoughts of what the title of this blog should be, "How Not To Be A Goat Rancher" "Goats Gone Wild" "March Kidding in January" "Not So Perfect Kidding Storm" "Just When You Think You Have Your Goat Program Figured Out."

It all started on January 26, 2012...well, maybe a little bit before that... lets back up a little.  Before we headed out to the Dude Ranchers Convention in Cody, Wy we saw a few does that had bags that seemed more developed then they should have been for when their kidding dates were.  Occasionally the bucklings from that year will get one or two does bred, it's happened before, so we got them up and put them in a kidding pasture and didn't think much more about it.

We returned from Wy to find that none of the does we caught had kidded out but still looked "early".  No worries, no big deal right?  Then 1/26/12 rolled around.  We had some hikers come to the office at the ranch and say they saw a brand new baby goat and its mom waaaay up by the "goat cave".  Okay, we missed one... Barry and I head up that direction in the truck and sure enough there is a first time mother black purebred Kiko doe with a little black buckling.  Catching a goat out in the open on our 350 acres is a bit tricky at times. It takes the other goats and some corn to cause confusion in the new mother and over crowding so you can grab a leg or a horn.  It's not the easiest task but it works.

I grab my little bucket of corn (doesn't take much corn, especially in the winter) and start calling the goats down from the hillside.  They can't see me but are calling back so I decide I better hike up the hill so they don't head down to the arena/catch area.  When I hike up part of the way, to my surprise there is another first time mother, purebred Kiko doe and her buckling kid.   We catch the two new mom's and tie one of them in the back of the truck, put a baby in the bucket and one in the cab of the truck.  With Barry sitting on the tool box holding the second mom's horns to contain her, we head down to the kidding pasture at the ranch.

 We decided after that we should get the goats up again and look at bags one more time.  This is not a full proof way to see if a goat is close to kidding time but it helps.  Some does don't really show a bag until they kid... those are the sneaky ones.  

As I pulled goats out of the herd to put in kidding pastures I started to get a panicked feeling.  I kept finding goat after goat that was going to kid... it seemed more than 1/2 the herd was separated out.  What gave me the panicked feeling was the fact it is winter.  I sometimes will breed 5 - 10 registered goats for possible breeding bucks for people to purchase, I can handle that if the weather goes bad but more than 1/2 of our herd?!  YIKES!  Fortunately we have been blessed with very mild weather this year.  

The other part that kind of was bothersome... all that planned breeding.  We have three new bucks and we will have very few kids from them.  At this point all I can do is learn and laugh from this experience.

So what have I learned?
1.  Get those bucklings up no later than 3 months on the date.  We castrated all but six bucklings and those six bucklings had a lot of fun.  The bucklings were born April and May... I have never experienced such aggressive young bucklings.  I have never had young Spanish bucklings before and I have never had those bloodlines of young Kiko bucks, who I noticed their sires were very aggressive breeders (extra).

2. Just because it is HOT, like 108 degrees, does not mean that does will not come into heat and young bucklings won't breed.

3. Nursing does in HOT weather, young and old, do and will get pregnant.

Today is February 7, 2012 and we have 105 kids born with 4 that did not make it and one bottle kid.  The positive side to all of this is that we will have some really nice commercial doelings to offer for sale this year that will be ready to breed for spring kids for next year.  AND the weather couldn't have been better!
Live and learn, live and learn! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Out and About

The last few days the weather has been spring like.  Not to go outside and enjoy it would be silly on my part, so today one of my activities was following around the goats and taking photos.  I think they got tired of me showing up everywhere they went.

Winter alway has the goats on the move looking for food.  They always start with the hay we roll out for the them and the horses.

100% NZ line-bred Blue Son Doe - Bred to a Generator son for Feb. kidding.

Spanish doe

This is one of my favorite goats.  She a 3/4 Kiko doe from our breed-up program.   She does a great job of raising good kids. 

Purebred Blue's Son Doe bred to the Generator buck for a Feb. kidding.

Purebred daughter of Super Sport looking extra pregnant.  She is not due until March.