If you know our herd at all (or you have been to the website), you know we have 3 distinct breeds on the property – and of course our beloved grade does. Now 3 breeds is actually quite a few for 1 herd because of all the different sire service it requires but we each have our own personal love of certain breeds and so as a result we have 3: Lamancha, Saanen, Toggenburg (sometimes shorthand called Togg).
Right now on the property we have 1 additional breed – an Alpine. A good friend of ours was looking for a way to have her Alpine dry yearlings in milk. Ideally you want your does to be bred by the time they are two. After that, you cannot show them until they are milking. Additionally as a doe gets older, the first kidding process gets harder on her body. A two year old first freshener doesn’t really have a terrible time of it, but it can be extremely hard on a 5 year old first freshener. Partly I think this has to do with joints beginging to fuse together making the body change and kidding process harder. Because our friend is away at school right now, burdening her parents with the responsibility of milking and managing kids seemed a bit much to ask. So her choices were wait another year or breed really late and try for kids born after she got back from school.
We bought Brazil, our older Lamancha buck, last January after all our does were already bred. So we had to wait until this fall to use him. Well, understandable we wanted to use him on as many animal as possible so that we would have plenty of doe kids from him to improve our herd. Well, suddenly we had this great idea. Why don’t we lease her alpine does and breed them for ½ Lamancha kids. We’ll keep the kids and she can have milking does. Everybody wins!
Although we tried to breed 2 does early only one settled so only 1 Alpine has joined the herd for a few months. Her “sisters” remain at our friend’s house until they are much closer to kidding. Ziggy came because she is due at the beginning of February with the rest of our kidding storm. Ziggy is a broken sungau. This means she is black with white facial strips like the toggenburgs with a large white belt over her barrel. It is really funny to see her stand next to the other toggs. She has a bit of an appearance like she is just the wrong color. She is the only black and white doe out there (Argentina is solid black) so she stands out a bit. Additionally she has a different personality from the other does. Every time she does something quirky we have just decided to term it she is pulling and “Alpine”. Like when she refused to eat hay with all the little girls… who are maybe ½ her size. Or when she follows us around wondering when we are going to put out “her” flake of hay. Or the fact that she hold her tail nearly over her rump – all the time. Okay so maybe this are not all “Alpine” traits, but it is sure funny to have a different breed around for a while – hopefully her kids will have their sire’s laid back personality :)