Friday, July 30, 2010

the July kid

Connie's doe kid is still growing, although we have thought a couple times she might have been a coyote snack. Chuck could not find where Connie had her hidden away, so we thought when the tree fell across the fence and shorted it, an opportunistic predator may have taken advantage of the situation. Last weekend we took Bo, the Anatolian puppy, to the country to become acquainted with his future territory. We put him in "area 3" and set about our business putting one of those portable sheds together to cover some hay. About an hour later, I walked down the hill and hollered and hollered - but, no Bo. In my efforts to find him, I found the tiny cave under a huge pile of pushed in sticks where Connie's doeling had been hidden safely away. It took Chuck another hour or so to find Bo, who had found a nice cool spot next to a stump about in the middle of the woods, and who had no real intention of leaving that nice cool spot (did I mention we picked the day with the 110 degree heat index to do all this?). Within the past few days Connie's doeling has started to join the group, mainly full of long yearlings and mature does being bred for December and January kids.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Looks like I'll have to get Chuck a new hat

Because he is going to have to eat one of his old ones. He went to the country today to check the goats between storms (which were keeping me busy on call) and I received a text from him stating "one doe. All okay." One doe? One? I texted back asking him if he was sure another one hadn't washed away. Nope. Jabba the Hutt had one doe. She's a first timer, so I wouldn't be surprised with a single if she had been a little smaller. She is figuring out this whole mom thing, and has a good supply of milk and the doeling is getting her colostrum, so now we just have to watch her grow and assess Connie's mothering abilities and her new doe kid's own qualities and see what we've got.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Breeding season is upon us...

And the late bred doe just refuses to kid out. We had two young does we picked up at Cream of the Crop that we decided were not grown out enough to breed in the early winter, so we kept them home until they had a few more months to grow. Hence, we have a doe that is big as a house in the middle of July, and I've been holding off moving the rest of my long yearlings up there to get bred because I don't want them to beat the tar out of her in her current delicate condition. I guess I chose poorly when I decided I didn't want to wait until the next fall to get her bred. Live and learn. The real problem is, there isn't a better field of similar age does to put her in, and time's a wastin' with the does scheduled to be bred. In order to maximize the potential of their future kids to be breeding size by next winter, and to minimize the possibility of parasite issues when thier immune system is down, I am again aiming to get the does bred for December kids. In retrospect, although it was hard getting up to check on them in the bad weather, it was easier on the does and the kids after their initial rude entry to the cold, cold world. If the pasture we planted on the other farm takes, and we get the does on it late winter as planned, life will be a lot easier this winter. Keep your fingers crossed for us to get all the work done. This is the season where we start our planning and gambling, hoping for the perfect cross that gives us maternal does, fast growing kids, meaty bucks, and increased parasite resistance all the way around.

Now if only Connie will just get with the program and kid out. We did not see her get bred as we did with almost every other doe (Boomer is not shy, which is helpful figuring out when kids are due). She waddles around, enormous - udder huge, sides dropped, pawing here and there and acting like kidding is imminent, only she has been doing this for a week. When she lays down, she spreads out like Jabba the Hutt. I have decided the other does are going to the country anyway in a few days. I had wanted to wait until her kids were at least a couple of weeks old (if she doesn't have twins I'll make Chuck eat his hat), but I don't want to miss another cycle with the rest of the does, because they are definitely gearing up to make babies.

I'm looking forward to this breeding season, as I'm sure all the other producers are doing as well. We have several Iron Horse daughters ready to be bred, out of some of the GHK herd mother does. We only crossed Boomer with one young Iron Horse doe this year, and the single doeling she had is developing nicely and with more muscle than our other doe kids, so she will be interesting to see in two years.

Hopefully I will get a new crop of replacement does with the genes for muscle and meat. We have a new "elder" doe who is a Tasman Aristocrat daughter we hope has a few more kids in her, and a few other does with traits we'd like to see in our herd - good udders, documented parasite resistance, and a good thick meaty hind end. I'm looking forward to "34's" next set of kids because phenotypically, she also crossed really well with Boomer with both a doeling and buckling and I'm really hoping her mothering abilities breed true. I know to some folks the 100% New Zealand tag is more important, but this Purebred doe is one of my favorites so far. That's why my plan right now is to keep her daughter.

Come spring, I hope my Terminator XX granddaughter and some of my Purdy doelings are ready to breed, but if not, they'll be ready for next fall!