December 31, 2010
In addition to gaining goats we watched goats leave too. Willow, who was born the first spring I was away at college and managed to stay through all the herd fluctuations left after kidding this year. Although it seems sad to see her go, reality says she fit so poorly in with the herd that she needed to leave. We also sold more wethers for butcher than ever before including one that went as a company barbeque. To me this was really cool because it is great to see goats being used in such a public way. If people enjoy the barbeque there – maybe they will really start thinking of eating goat as a common meat. Finally we did lose 3 kids last spring do to a variety of things. I know it must seem strange how I have no problem selling older wethers for meat but it is sad to lose kids but I think that the wethers had a great life and then it was over but the kids often didn’t have a chance to live at all.
Besides the herd member changes we really did have a great show season. I personally finished 1 doe and she now holds the title of champion. We finished the buck we bought in January and he holds the Grand Champion title in his name. We knew he was amazing when we purchased him just by looking at what his offspring have done, but to have him hold that title is even better since now everyone else can also see how impressive he is. We have used him quite a bit this season, so hopefully we will have quite a few kids from him too. Besides our 2 finished champions one of Jenn’s Togg does is looking beautiful and got quite a few nods from judges. Unfortunately she was a first freshener so they couldn’t give her the champion title, but this next year we expect great things from her. Three of our kids won their jr champion titles as well and all three will freshen this spring. Arizona and Azalea are two of our favorite kids and I am really excited to see what type of udder they will have. Honestly with very few exceptions I am really excited about the whole 2010 kids crop. I think we are starting to really make progress with our breeding program and hope that the inclusion of AI will help speed the progress along.
We purchased our AI equipment in summer 2009 so 2010 was the first set of kids we have out of the AI breedings. Three does kids was better than we could have imagined! And such beautiful kids too! They were all Lamanchas so, since we had 2 lamancha bucks on the property this fall, we ventured into other breeds. Notoriously the saanens have been our “problem” breed. Before this year I have had to re-bred Saanens almost every year, thus when my doe settled by AI, I could not have been more excited. If this works – maybe there will be more AI Saanens to come. Next year I think we try to take on the Toggs. We haven’t succeeded with the AI-ing the Toggs, but maybe next year will be the year. Or maybe next year we actually purchase a Togg buck.
On a final note, we sent 4 children to the county fair as our 4Hers this year. As of fall registration we nearly tripled our 4H project. Hopefully we can send maybe even 10 children to the county fair this year. Nothing is more exciting than seeing those kids get all excited about their kids. Maybe in a year or two the children will have animals they own instead of lease but one step at a time.
Overall I think it has been a pretty good year for Cadence Dairy Goats. Thanks for reading and checking out the blog regularly. It is so exciting that in the one year since I started this blog I can actually see people checking out the page and reading it. It is you guys that encourage me to keep writing! Thanks!!
December 28, 2010
December 20, 2010
I LOVE MY BUCKS.
I see people all over the internet who talk about how annoying bucks are and how gross they are and how much they smell– but really how many human are annoying and gross and smell? I’ll bet we can all name a few. But none of that is why I love having bucks. It is because of how easy they make breeding season when the does don’t settle.
I don’t ever want to go through another breeding season without a buck. By this I don’t mean a male goat nearby who just happens to still be intact – but a good, well-bred buck that I don’t feel bad about crossing to any one of my does. As a 4Her I never had a buck around and it was so frustrating first trying to identify when the does were in heat and second if they had taken or if we had to re-bred them. Now, with a buck on the property it is VERY clear when they are in heat and even if I am not sure you can let the buck out and he can check. A few weeks ago the doe I AI’ed looked like she had mucus or fluid on her tail. I panic – maybe she didn’t take, maybe she was recycling. Well I let Arabica out, he looked at her and then ran over to the feeder to see if anything was in it. Wheeew., just me being paranoid.
This feeling was once again re-enforced when Keegan came back into heat (!#!#$!~!@#) again. Of course it was the middle of the week and of course it was already dark and raining. So what do you do? Well it is December and she really needs to get bred – good thing we have 2 amazing bucks already on the property. Yes they will be grade kids but hopefully she will be bred and we do not have to worry about her any more. Plus it will be another chance to see kids out of our buck. However… next year – we need a Togg buck for all these non-settling togg does.
December 15, 2010
I think part of the problem is the weather. When the weather is warm and sunny the goats are happy and they lay out in the sun and they look of round and full of kids and life is good. When the weather is cold and rainy – well let’s just say they are not as happy. Granted they are much drier then they have been some years and they are all warm and fluffed up, but happy? No goat is happy if there is rain around. Thankfully we have a little extra space this year so we were able to move the 2 goats in the really muddy pen out and let the pen dry a bit. They look grateful for this at least.
The rest of the goings-on are really just continuing the saga of breeding season. At least count everyone has been “bred”. The Saanens have all come back with positive pregnancy tests – and no jr kids in the mix! All the older Lamanchas were confirmed pregnant. Argentina we think is pregnant but didn’t take on the first breeding, Artemis – well I am not holding my breath for her. Four of the seven doe due with grade kids have come back pregnant. Of course they are all due within 3 days of each other. The other three are all due on the same day 2.5 months later so it looks like we will have sr and jr kids – and not intermediate grade kids (shrug). The homebred Toggs have been confirmed pregnant with no problems. Yodel, who did not look pregnant until like a week and a half before she kidded last year, look huge! This scares me just a little. The two purchased Toggs have been bred – now cross your fingers, toes, eyes, everything that they settle. I definitely don’t want to rebreed them one more time.
Yep, that’s it for now. Hopefully I will be a bit more insprired this weekend or think of some good stories to tell. Until then it is really a sit back and enjoy the rain and the warmth inside the house.
December 04, 2010
You’ve heard the phrase “the grass is greener on the other side” goats abide by this law. If it is new or you are holding it then it must be good – better in fact than anything they have in front of them. This means that all that new and exciting straw you just put down MUST taste better than anything they could possibly have in their hay feeders. So what if you just laid it down on the mud, so what if it has water damage and if their normal hay looked like that they would turn up their noses at it. It’s new, it’s exciting! It must be good!
The other thing I love about putting out straw is that it takes so little work. You put some out and the goats immediately jump on top, paw at it, and really spread it everywhere. You don’t have to do it – they do it all for you. And they look so much cleaner and warmer afterwards. There is nothing like seeing them curled up in the straw all warm while the rain pours down outside. All curled up for a warm winters nap…
November 27, 2010
- A beautiful home with a pasture – this time last year the girls were all standing out in mud
- Not one but TWO bucks out in the pasture. Every day I’m grateful to have these and I can’t wait for kids next year
- The capabilities and space to breed 20 goats
- 8 doe kids born last year
- Two does settled by AI last year who provided us with doe kids, and one doe settled this year
- Enough feed to feed the goats
- 4Hers who are excited about goats
- Most of breeding season done
- Clean water, clean goats, shelters to keep everyone dry.
I’m sure there are more but I am just too tired to think of it now.
November 17, 2010
First one of our Alpine-Lamancha crosses are on its way. On the down side, we had hoped 2 of them were due at the beginning of February. Instead of more senior kids (yay!) we will have more junior kids (sigh). The best way I can look at it is that 1 more Brazil daughter is 1 more than we would have had before.
Speaking of Brazil kids, the next positive test we got was Alaska. Of all our Lamancha kids this year – she is definitely one of the prettiest, and she is bred to Brazil. In fact she is the only 2010 kids bred to Brazil. These are kids to really be excited about so I really am glad that she settled with immediate kids. Unfortunately, Ysis’ daughter Artemis – also bred Lamancha for my (starlet lace) first Lamancha kids – came back open. This wasn’t too surprising since we thought we might have seen a heat 3 weeks later and rebred her as such. Still it would have been nice if that second heat was a false heat instead of a real one. Once again, I have to remind myself that Artemis is on the smaller side and really she could use some more growing time. Plus the buck that we bred her to (Arabica) is on site – we can always rebred her again until she settles. Even if she didn’t settled she really would do fine as a dry yearling – selfishly I really want Lamancha kids but I also understand that with goats patience is part of the lifestyle.
I have left the best news for last– the doe I MOST wanted to bred settled!!!! We bred Zinfandel AI – no wait that isn’t exactly right – I bred Zinfandel AI. My first successfully settled doe by AI!!!! I can’t believe it! Sure things could all still go wrong but you know how excited I am!!! (Perhaps you can tell by the exclamation points). Now I feel like I can try this again next year. My ideal cross is with Azalea and some really pretty genetics I have in the tank. Maybe next year it will happen!!
The only other interesting thing to talk about is our Togg girls. I posted last week that they both came back open. We brought both of them into heat this weekend and looked at AI’ing both of them. When we tried to pass an AI gun on Lanney it worked no problem. Maybe she just wasn’t have good heats because she showed the best heat we have seen on her all year. We chose to use some of our nicer (more expensive) semen on her because she was so strongly in heat. Hopefully we will end up with some really nice kids from this cross. Maybe next year we will even have a new Togg herd sire… wouldn’t that be nice!!
November 13, 2010
First it is 1 round of AI since no one has a buck around then maybe it will be Lamancha-burgs
The rest of our early October girls got their tests sent off as well. Hopefully we will know by next week who is really bred and who we still need to get bred. Can you imagine if they are all bred? Mostly older kids! Ah what a dream.
November 04, 2010
So I guess it would be fun to talk a little bit about how we choose which bucks to use for our girls. Of course it varies from year to year because our circumstances change so much from year to year but there are similarities each year.
Believe it or not, choosing what buck to use starts long before fall. Really I think it starts late spring or summer. This is when everyone starts coming out to shows and starts mingling again. Not to say that we don’t talk to people over winter – but usually kidding season keeps everyone so busy that visiting is out of the question. So you suddenly start talking about what bucks people have or what they are planning on purchasing. You might get the opportunity to see one of the bucks at a buck show, but more likely you are able to see his mother, sister, and possible even daughters. The other thing that happens over the summer is you are able to get an idea about your doe. Listening to what different judges like or dislike about your goats is such a critically important part of the show. If you hear the same thing over and over again then you know what you need to go looking for in a buck – or possible in his female relatives (daughter, mother, etc.)
Then, faster than you know it, summer wraps up and fall is upon us. Now you have to decide when you want to breed her. Of course some of that is dependent on when your doe comes into heat but if you start seeing heats in August you need to know when you want kids. Maybe you want January or February kids – these will most likely be the largest at the show, but they will also be born in (most likely) the coldest time of the year. Maybe you want March kids – usually not the smallest kids at the show but born when it is a little warmer (usually the largest class of kids). Or maybe you want to wait for later kids. Born when there is less rain and school left but could be the smallest kids at the show. You will want to take extra care of your May kids if you live in a place where it is 80°F during the day and then drops down to 45°F at night. This can bring a whole other set of challenges. Regardless of when you want kids – start marking and recording heats early so that you are prepared when your doe is ready to be bred.
Wow, all that and we haven’t even picked out bucks yet. Here at our farm we then have to decide if we want to try AI or live service on the doe. Sometime that is an easy choice. If it is a kid (breeding to be a yearling milker) we don’t even try AI. If it is a doe who had a really rough kidding last spring we also opt for live service to give her a better change to conceive. Finally we consider what bucks are around to use when weighting our options. For our Lamanchas last year we had plenty of AI straws but not a lot of close by bucks to use – so we AI’ed our two older does and drove to a live buck for the kid. On the other hand this year we have not 1 but 2 bucks on the property to use – you better believe that we used them this year! In the same manner last year we leased a Saanen buck and used him on 3 does – but this year we tried AI on the yearling milker instead.
Finally we decide which buck to use. Let’s take for example the two Saanen kids we were breeding. Since they are both kids we didn’t want to AI them and since we didn’t want to cross them that meant finding a buck to use. So first I look at their strengths and weaknesses. Alba for example is very strong in general appearance but I would love to see her with more dairy character. Then I thought about my choices of bucks. One buck that I have wanted to get a daughter out of for a long time lives over on the coast. We have two does in the herd who are 2x bred on him (he is on both sides of the pedigree) and they are very dairy individuals – almost to a fault. Also he is an older buck – meaning that although I love some of the young animals around me I may not get a chance to breed to him again. Finally I make sure I go to the adgagenetics.org website and use their planning to check the inbreeding coefficient. Although I know my pedigrees well – there could always be something unexpected. Generally I try to keep the inbreeding under 10% unless there is an intentional reason for having it higher. Also you want to make sure that the animals who are contributing the most are strong animals. Of course all my careful planning and preparation can go all wrong when the animals decided not to cooperate. With my other Saanen doe Azalea I had planned to breed her to a beautiful older buck who I thought would really improve on her type. Sadly when we got there he refused to service her. Then you have to decide if it is more important to have that cross or to have kids at that time. Since I had armed myself with information on the other bucks on the property I was fully prepared to select a different animal and knew what type they came from and what they would throw – but if I hadn’t already known it might have been a lot more difficult. So that is my final piece of advice – go to any breeders house knowing what your other option are if your animals refuse to cooperate.
October 29, 2010
Granted we may end up with all bucks or something horrible could happen, but at least I don't have to sit around worrying if I am missing silent heats on all of these does because 9 out of 19 done ain't bad.
October 27, 2010
The Togg in the picture is Annie - Yodel's daughter
The blackish Lamancha is Argentina - Yucatan's daughter
The Sancha is Artemis - Ysis' daughter
Doesn't it amaze everyone else this little moments in life? Reminds you how much things change and how much they stay the same
October 16, 2010
The nice part is that all the does who have made it to the fall are nice enough in their own right, but knowing how many does were are breeding means we have the start thinking about who will go in the spring. It is sad at some level, but at the same time I know that none of the goats are not eligible for sale if something comes along.
So how is it done? Well take a doe for example - currently my most often subject is Thistle. What do we like about her? Well I love how deep she is and how strong she is on her feet and legs. What do I dislike? Well lets start with how I wish her mammary system was better, but what I really don't like is how much trouble she had last year after kidding. We have a show herd - this means that if a doe ends up with such a horrible freshening that she can't show - she will have a hard time fitting into the herd. But then I really like her daughter. Azalea is one of the nicest does kids we had this year... If you like the kids a doe gives you is that enough reason to keep her and at what point does she have enough daughters to pass on her good traits. It really leaves you to sit about and ponder what is a good doe?
What do you want your herd to look like? What do you like about each doe and what would you like to change? Fall is the perfect time to really sit around and evaluate the does. It makes the spring - when you are overwhelmed with kids to choose from - easier when you already have your list of who is staying or who has to shape-up or head out.
October 12, 2010
Now, for the rest of us there is little more exciting that National Convention. Maybe National Show, but since only one of these two are coming up - I can only get excited about one of them.
Convention is one of the times when you can totally geek out with all the other goat people. I have friends across the country and this is the one time you get to see them. Talk about breedings that worked for you, exciting purchases you made and bucks you hope to use. Maybe you are more like the real me where you sit back and watch the people. People you only know by name or by names of herds you respect and admire but you get to see real people (I doubt I'll ever be brave enough to talk to them but still)
Then of course there is the training conference. Even as I sit here I am reciting the DQ's in my head. The weekend is definitely going to be fun!
October 08, 2010
The doe (Zinfandel) that we AI'ed came back into heat. Keegan - our Togg yearling milker - showed signs of heat but not certain. Artemis came back into heat (we were not sure if she was bred but Arabica got out while she had stuff on her tail) Lanney was still showing signs of heat.
BUT... That means that of the does we bred Kaluha, Ziggy, Ysis, Xymphony, Fritter, Arizona, Thistle, Katie, Zaire, and Yodel most likely settled.
You have to say it really quietly and really fast so no one hears you. We will do a blood test is a week or so, but until then keep those fingers crossed and hold your breath! (dontcha just LOVE breeding season)
Oh and if you would like to finish catching up - Azalea and Alaska were also bred, but later so we don't know if they settled yet.
September 26, 2010
She spent a lot of the time back behind us whining about the walk. Especially on the up-hill portion. Really Azalea! You have 2 extra legs to keep up with!
"There is NO WAY you are making me cross this creek!!!" of course once she realized she could drink the water and stop panting, there was a little less complaining. Even though she still wouldn't cross the creek.Sorry, the picture was a little blurry, but I love the fact that I caught her nibbling as we walked along. I wish I could take the goats out more. They are so fun to have along on the hike. I think it helps them bond to us, since we are the portion of their herd present. Maybe we will take this trail again but with one or two more of them in tow.
September 16, 2010
On first thought you are thinking "OMG what is wrong with these people" but let's take it from a rational point of view (and of course with a list - I really like lists in case you couldn't tell from earlier posts).
1. We still have at least 7 does to breed who need to be bred later anyway
2. If you kid a lot of does at once then if you need to foster kids (triplets and singles) it is much easier plus you use up a whole weekend and then are not sitting around every weekend wondering when they will kid.
3. At least 1 of those does was a first attempted at AI which means OF COURSE she won't take (contrary to both does last year who took on the first try) and chances are a few other one will come back into heat.
4. Sr kids do better then jr kids (proven by all 3 kids who got their jr leg this year were sr kids)
5. We only have the togg buck for a limited time and we would hate to wait on any of the togg does and then have them re-cycle once he is gone.
6. And most importantly we are a little bit crazy.
So... who's up for a party at my house in 5 months?
September 12, 2010
September 05, 2010
August 23, 2010
I’m having a hard time believing it is already breeding season. With the addition of Acorn, 7 or so weeks ago, I feel like we can’t possibly be getting close to the time for breeding, we are still milking and feeding kids! And we still have a few more shows! Ah, well, seasons begin to change whether I like it or not. The girls and boys are all coming into season and the air near the buck pens are beginning to smell strongly…
The breeding list for 2011 kids has been updated with the current plan. Of course this is just a plan and could change as we get closer to actually breeding them.
We will be leasing a Togg buck this year and all the toggs (including our two newest acquisitions) will be bred for Togg kids. The Lamanchas will be split between Arabica and Brazil, with Brazil for the older does and Arabica for the younger does. Most of the Saanens we will take else ware to breed although we are going to try breeding Zinfandel AI for a few rounds. We are also really excited to use Brazil for several sets of grade kids. Besides Ysis – who would have grade kids regardless – we will be breeding Thistle for Saanchas (Saanen-Lamancha) which should look like adorable mini Ysises. Additionally, we are leasing 4 Alpines from Tori Kennedy and breeding them all Lamancha. Hopefully there will be some nice grade kids who come from this cross.
Even though it does not possible seem like it could be late enough for breeding animals, it is exciting to plan for all the kids next year, and we should have a lot! With the total as it is now, possible up to 19 does kidding!!
August 05, 2010
July 15, 2010
June 27, 2010
June 07, 2010
May 18, 2010
March 22, 2010
Had someone tried to convince me that I would voluntarily care for, pet and become attached to a buck even as recently as early 2009, I would have cringed and possibly emitted a cynical chuckle followed by a scoff. I have never been markedly fond of bucks - they served for the purpose of propagation of offspring. A necessary nuisance if you will. During my years of having a 4-H herd, I mostly took does to bucks, although at different times did own a Togg buck for one breeding season, then a LaMancha buck I won at a show raffle several years later. Beyond that, my interaction has predominantly been at the commercial dairy where I was employed during college and in most recent years, at shows throughout the US that I have been privileged to judge. A series of bucks over the last 8 months have served to alter my opinion to the better.
Pineapple was the first buck who served to at least mellow my opinion of bucks. Pineapple arrived in the middle of an August heat wave and reacting to this stress, while exiting from the truck, landed himself in the middle of a shrub in my front yard, effectively re-landscaping it before running up and down the block not once, but twice (this during a time of goat keeping on the edge of a 300,000 population city). Over time, however, this free spirited buck began to tame and would appeal for attention over the top of the livestock panels. By the time he returned home, he was so tame that, when the truck couldn’t make it up a steep, moss covered Santa Cruz mountain road, he agreeably hiked the last 1/4 mile with us up to his home.
Then in late January the opportunity to purchase Elm*Glen Brazil presented. Talking with Karen Senn, she warned me that he was spoiled and more than a little attention seeking. In the time since Brazil’s arrival, he is more docile than some of the does. After trimming his hooves yesterday, he placed his head in the crook of my elbow and closed his eyes as I rubbed his chin and neck. I mean, really, as smelly as he is, who could really resist that charm?
Early this month, thanks to Trinity Smith of Goat-San LaManchas, we brought home Arabica, a beautiful little buckling full of spunk. A bottle baby in our herd of dam-raised kids, Arabica lived the first 10 nights in the bathtub of our spare room. He would vociferously protest the outrage of being “abandoned” by his human mothers, leading to the shutting of the bathroom door. Arabica is truly the buck who has won over my heart. No matter how much a slobbering, hormone driven buck he becomes, chances are I will still have a deep attachment to the creature who drapes himself over my knee foraging for the bottle he know I must be hiding somewhere!
This said, I suppose I should be grateful I recently discovered my ginger salt bath scrub does a near miraculous job of removing buck “cologne” so I can continue to enjoy petting the boys after the start of breeding season. With their unique personalities, the bucks truly are a bonus to the herd.