Thursday, September 26, 2013

Goats: A love hate relationship...

What I enjoy about the goats:
1. Putting together breeding pairs.
2. When they are out brushing and just being goats.
3. Kidding season ONLY if the weather is ideal, doesn't have to be perfect, but it can't be deathly.
4. Watching the kids bloom
5. Taking the kid crop to the USDA buying station. A- It tells me how I am doing with my program and B- I get a check.  :)

Things I don't enjoy about goats:
1. Bad kidding weather.
2. Bad kidding situations: Two or three does kidding in the shed together.  Goat dogs that want to protect the kids from EVERYTHING including their dams, bad mothers...etc.
3. Bottle babies!  I don't get many but if you raise any amount of goats you are going to have some if you choose to not let them die.
4. Worming day
5. Handling the bucks, especially during breeding season...shweew!  


Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Buck

I decided it was time to add another buck/bloodline to our herd.  My first plan was to figure out who raises goats closets to my "style".  Second, see who had bucks for sale.  My search ended with Troy Lohman of TNT Farms.

 It was a beautiful morning as I headed to Troy's farm.  I wished I had my "real" camera.

 I am not sure what little town this was but it had this neat older house, I love stuff like this.

Headed back home on the 6 hr drive.  I saw this old car place and thought of our 10 year old son who LOVES all kinds of cars.  So I snapped this for him. 

Can't pass up a photo of the arch. 

You can see his silhouette in the rearview mirror.  I had an Asian family ask if they could take a photo of him, they took several.  Another time driving down the road I kept wondering why the person in the passing lane had slowed down and was not passing.  They were snapping photos as well... I am sure he is now on some college girls Instagram or Facebook page with a quirky comment. 

He is a purebred AKGA registered buck.  When I was inquiring about him I got all the up and up on his bloodlines but alas I have forgotten them, you know me!  As soon as his papers come I will update our website with his bloodline information.  We are excited to cross him on Zipper's daughters and some of my favorite crossbred does.  Look for his kids in 2014!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

One Of These Seasons...

I don't think you can expect kidding season to be stress free but I don't think it has to be a high stress time of the year, right?!  One of these years I'm some how going to make this less stressful.  This year, it was not even close to one of those.  If you remember last year I had the "oops" kidding season, which stressed me out because 90% or my herd had kids in the middle of winter when I had planned for March.  The year before it was extremely rainy and the shelters filled with mud from too much water and goats standing in them for hours to keep dry.  In turn, I ended up with mud covered kids that did not survive.  This year we had unseasonably cold, wet, snow, windy conditions.  My kidding set up is not a "fancy" one.  I kid in the pastures and the shelters are not meant to hold a bunch of does kidding at the same time.  There are no kidding stalls,  heat lamps or heaters. This is why I kid in the spring, not winter.  Just a note: There is nothing wrong with barn kidding, it serves a purpose and the last couple of years I would have loved to have had one. We don't have a place for one and we are not set up like that. 

Less than ideal conditions.

The forecast said snow after a few does had had their kids.  I thought, "No big deal, there will be a pause in the kidding."  It seems in years past that a few does will kid and then it will be another week before the rest start to go.  It's like you just happen to catch a few does in heat when you first turn out the buck and it takes another week or two for the rest to start coming in. 

At this point I had my fingers crossed that the rest of the does would wait another week. 

As you have probably have already guessed the does didn't "pause".  They all started kidding, more and more each day.  Maybe it's because I had less goats to breed or I just put the bucks out just at the right time or maybe because that is just how goat ranching goes for me.  Things were not fun but were not too bad until the forecast said below freezing with drizzle.  Wet + freezing temps + wind = frozen kids.  It doesn't matter how good the mothers are, some conditions even the toughest goats can't overcome.  

Spanish doe with her twins - buck & a doe. 

One morning I woke up and the temp was in the low 20's.  I found one of my best does with two huge bucklings extremely chilled and their hair was icy.  I brought them in the house, put them on a towel in the bath tub with a heating pad underneath them.  I moved the does that had just kidded into our 24" stock trailer with fresh hay as bedding.  Despite the cold temps it worked well because the kids were out of the wind and wet.  When I got a moment I would check on the bucklings, slowly but surely they started to "come to life".  I gave them some water with brown sugar in it once and by that afternoon I took them back out and to my relief their dam took them.  I also had a set of twins were one twin did well and the other chilled. Later in the day I was able to reunite the one with her family.  I did have a 1/2 Kiko doe kid in the shed with a Spanish doe.  I found her new born kids that had been "lost" amongst some of the other goats that didn't make.   In the confusion it appears that she decided that one of the Spanish doe's kids was hers.  It will be interesting to see how the kid grows on the heavy milking 1/2 Kiko doe vs. it's Spanish dam.  

AKGA Purebred Kiko Doe with her PB doeling. 

Almost all of the kids have arrived and now we are having a "pause".  That figures!  Next year things will be different, right?! 

AKGA 1/2 Kiko Doe (Kiko x Spanish) with her 3/4 Kiko kids. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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.