Friday, August 13, 2010

Beating the heat.

Just a quick shot of Bo and Ralph doing their best to endure the heat. Bo has expanded Ralph's tunnel under the shed, and frequently we see only his eyes peeping up into the shed itself. Bo was born in mid April, and Ralph will be a year this October. She was 70lbs at her last checkup, even with the heat. I'm thinking Bo is going to be a big boy.

Here is another one of the boys from this season. Steel is getting ready to move back to the country as soon as we complete the new buck pen encompassing a blackberry patch thick enough I'm not even sure they will be able to move around in it. It needs trimmed back and they need to earn their keep, so we just need to get the panels up and posts in.

We bought a doe last year heavy bred to Wild Bill, a Terminator XX son. Since toughness and parasite resistance are our goals, we wanted to add some Terminator blood to the herd. So far, Ace is living up to the Terminator reputation. He has his mother's frame and so does his sister, so if he keeps on looking promising, we may use him to test breed a few does late this fall. The first item on his agenda, though, is the blackberry bushes...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting the right mix...

Well, breeding season is well underway up on the farm. We have, for the most part, the does where we want them so we can with any luck start kidding out in December. Chuck reports back when he sees activity, and I record it in the calendar with the tentative due date. Now, we just have to keep everyone healthy until it is time to move them to the other farm sometime in November. We have had a record number of days over 90 degrees, and I wonder how it will affect fertility. Obviously the days are beginning to shorten triggering the does to come in, but I wonder if their bodies will respond to the heat with reduced ovulation or if it won't matter at all. I suppose I will start getting my answers this December.

We finally got the weanling does moved to the country. So far, they have adjusted well and only little Tempy continues to try to get herself killed. She is the smallest of the bunch, but spends all of her time foraging even when everyone else is taking it easy in the shade, so I hope she does not eventually succeed in her attempts to eliminate herself from the gene pool. I have learned to appreciate the individuals who really get out and forage.

Connie's doe kid continues to thrive even with the heat. We hope Connie rebreeds so she can kid out closer to the rest of the group next time, but that may not happen until next year. I have tried to keep the late kidding does fed well enough to raise their kids and keep a reasonable body condition so they may still continue their own growth but still rebreed and produce kids for this winter. Again, come December, I will know if this worked or if it was just feed wasted. If so, I can make better decisions next year. I don't mind providing extra feed for a doe doing double or triple duty, especially if she herself is still growing. It's the freeloaders I have a bit of a problem with.
Speaking of those earning their keep... Chuck finally got the tractor moved to the country and bought a box scrape to try to renovate the road down to the goats. When it rains, it is all but impassable. Unfortunately, he forgot a piece to use the boom pole to take the box scrape out of the truck, so he had to do it by hand. I think part of him just likes to see what he can pick up and move.