December 31, 2010

End of 2010

Wow. It is really hard to believe that 2010 has finally come to the end. It was sure a big year for the herd, or at least me in particular. Before this year I have never had more than 5 goats kid on my watch. Never have I bred more than 9 goats (which was how many we bred in 2009). Really this was amazing to have 18 goats born on our property, acquire 5 other goats sold. Once I thought my herd was huge when it was 12 goats, now it is 22!

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

Lamancha Girls Relaxing

Sometimes you just come upon a picture you just have to capture. The does in this picture (L-R, Argentina, Alaska, Arizona) were just so cute snuggled up together. Alaska and Arizona are twins sisters and we often see them lying around together. But adding Argentina to the mix was just too adorable not to take a picture of. Bellies full, all at different gestational stages, just enjoying the winter sunshine.

December 22, 2010

Breeding Little Bit

She was only supposed to be the thing we fed out for a few months. She wasn’t supposed to stay!
Sigh, well I’m afraid we might have actually gotten attached to her (hides head) and were really curious about what her milk production will be like so we … deep breath… bred her. Little Bit or Acorn (although that name didn’t really stick) was bred Tuesday to an incredible handsome Nigerian Buck up in our good friend’s herd, Castle Rock Farm.
Because apparently if 20 other standard size goats kidding wasn’t enough we will be having a mini-milker next year.
On the plus side with Nubian on one side and Nigerian on the other the side should mean some incredible milk producing genes. Even though nothing out of her will be registered, it doesn’t mean that we didn’t choose the best young buck in the pasture whose dam scored 90 at Linear this year and who is milking the highest amount of the herd. If she has any daughters, those girls should also be some milk producing fiends.

Anyone need a mini milker?
But hey, everyone needs a few “special” goats right?

December 20, 2010

I love my Bucks

Okay I have to admit it
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

Just a December update

I really love writing about my herd and when the inspiration hits telling everyone else about the herd as well. The irony of course is that last week (when I had finals and papers to write) I was totally inspired to write blog entries. I controlled myself and worked on my finals. Now that finals are over and I actually have a little time to write – now I can’t think of anything to say.
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

Straw - with a bit of goat philosophy

Today we bought straw to fill up all the beds as the rains begin to arrive. If you have goats then you must know how they react when you put straw down in their pen, if you don’t then let me elaborate.
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…