And I do mean whoowee. We had been looking forward to the annual Cream of the Crop kiko sale for months. I have purchased many of my best does at this sale in previous years. Annalee's Fall Sing was Friday at her school, so we headed out late Friday to Corydon, Indiana. I hate to miss seminars when they are available, as I always find something helpful to take away, even if it is talk I have seen several times - but the Fall Sing is the culmination of many hours of practice for the JrK and Kindergarten students. Annalee had really practiced the songs and I am amazed how at ease she is in front of a large audience. Never a terribly shy child in that sort of situation, she really gets a kick out of being on stage. She wore her black "ninja cobra" costume, which was as close as I could get to a cobra costume. She's been on a snake kick as of late.
Both kids were excited to pack up the costumes to take to Corydon, too, as we had promised them they would be able to do some trick or treating after the sale. Their main babysitter (my mother) was unable to keep them as she did last year, so we all loaded up in the truck - Chuck and me, 6 year old, 3 and a half year old, and not quite four month old. And did I mention we had to take the dog too? Yes, the truck was full, as were our hands.
The kids were excited about driving all night, and that they were allowed to stay up and talk a bit when they woke up as we drove. That was a really big deal to them, but they ended up terribly exhausted the next day. We arrived at Corydon with only enough time to check into the hotel, get the kids out of pajamas and into regular clothes, and head over to the fairgrounds. This was at least partially due to the snow we ran into in West Virginia and then the less than stellar detour instructions on the signs as we tried to get from Kentucky over the river to Indiana. I swear at least once the detour had us go in a big loop. We got to see some cute shops and some of the big decorated horses around Louisville, but to be honest, we just wanted to get there and get off the road.
It was a lovely fall day in Corydon. Even though it was cool there, it was actually warmer than the cold snap we had left behind us at home. We got the kids and the stroller out of the truck, we found the kids what we thought would be a safe place for them to play, and I started looking at goats. The goats I had circled on the program for their lineage looked as good in person as they did on paper. I can easily say this was the highest quality overall collection of goats I have seen as a sale. I was really excited about several of these does, and had put some money aside so I could really get myself a special couple does to help put my bucks on the map. Now, if this was a "normal" kiko sale, I would have been in decent shape, but this was no normal sale. I have heard the folks who have been in Kikos since the early days of the breed in America, and how high the prices were regardless of quality. There was apparently some sort of time warp or convergence of the stars or maybe their was something in the coffee they were serving, but the prices on these goats were just over the top. I've never seen anything like it. I mean, these were good looking, well bred goats from good performance tested herds - but by the middle of the sale the Purebreds were going for over a thousand dollars apiece (and often higher) and land help you if, like me, you wanted a NZ doe that was confirmed bred. The goats I had circled on my paper and truly intended to be bring home one or two of went for $3950, $3000, $3400, and $3200. Yes folks, those are actual prices. I had given up at $1000 on one of the first does in the sale and boy howdy I wish I had known what was coming and maybe I could have at least gotten one of the does I had so badly wanted. Whoooweee, folks. There were some serious dollar signs flying at this sale. I am still in shock.
Now, a goat is worth exactly what someone will pay for it, and these were truly some good goats, but around these parts, no matter the lineage, I can't get more than $500 to $700 for a good young NZ doe. That means I can't justify paying more than $1000 to $1400 for a good young NZ replacement doe so that if she twins, she has basically paid for herself. If I could get a truly rare doe, such as a Generator or Loverboy daughter (they're not making any more of those these days) then I could justify going a bit higher because of what she could bring to my herd - but almost all the goats were starting at $1000 and jumping up in leaps and bounds from there. Dr. Sparks chuckled in the middle of the sale that "cute trumps good any day of the week" and here were goats that were both "good" and also very attractive, with color, pattern, and conformation. I very quickly learned there was no point in me even bidding on a goat with a pretty face or particularly attractive pattern, so I decided to fall back and punt. I decided that instead of taking home a few bred superstars, this time I would have to try to get some basic, solid bread and butter type does to replace does no longer in the breeding herd.
To me, an unattractive head all of a sudden became a plus as long as there was a good body and good udder attached to it - and wide spaced horns, since the picture of Kitty's broken leg is still fresh in my memory. I ended up paying more than I would have liked, but I have a NZ replacement doe with a good deep body and nice udder, albeit a really strange face, and a Purebred doeling that was much smaller than her twin but obviously has the same genetic potential (and I wanted a doe closely related to the famous "Alice" in the herd - this doeling is a daughter of Ozark Red Rocket), and then an 88% Caesar daughter. I often go on and on about 34, my little Caesar daughter. Caesar has a reputation for putting excellent does in the herd that keep on producing into their teens. I like that, and that's the sort of doe I want to produce to sell to my customers. I guess I will be finding out if this new Caesar doe can add that kind of longevity into my band of breeding does.
I sure hate I didn't get a couple of those pretty does, though. I did have my heart set on them, but I just can't put more in a doe than I can likely get out of her in one to two breeding seasons, in my neck of the woods. My pockets just ain't that deep.
Now, on a positive note - I have a field full of the type of pretty does that were bringing top dollar at the sale. As a matter of fact, I have several does that are 3/4 sisters (or closer) to some of the top selling goats at this year's sale. I have a unique ability to want the goats that end up being the most expensive at any sale, but "most expensive" used to be a little more doable (we were the ones who were bidding against Sparks for Tay 27 last year, and found his pockets deeper than ours - I have a lot of her blood in my herd, though). If we wrote it down right, the doe that went for $4100 is a greater than 3/4 sister to my SDR Wendy Bear - an ECR Blackbeard daughter out of a Sports Kat/Nick cross doe (ECR Hanky Panky). She is indeed a nice big coming two year old, and should be bred by now. And yes, if someone comes to the farm with 4k wanting her, she'll be heading on down the road. I also have GHK 145 (we call her Puddin in honor of her grandma) who is an Iron Horse/MGR Lightin's Lady P21 cross doe, and she is also probably bred, and is a full sister to another high selling goat from a previous sale. I have to be happy that I have some seriously in demand genetics in the field. Sure stinks to not be able to get what you want at an auction, though.
My kids didn't get what they wanted at the auction either (which was for it to be over with so they could trick or treat), except for Annalee, whose exhaustion got the best of her and she crawled, tired and chilly, into her little sister's stroller and took a nap that I think must have lasted three hours. She was pretty darn whiny before the nap, but afterwards was much improved and had a good time trick or treating. Chip, unfortunately, did not ever take a nap. He fights against sleep so hard, and when he misses a nap - let's just say everyone's experience is rather diminished. He was on his absolute worst behavior but finally found happiness or at least some inner peace playing in the dirt and shavings on the floor and basically being a speed bump and/or trip hazard. He is our Loud Child, so there is always an element of trying to balance teaching him about cause and effect with trying to avoid a Large Scene in Public. I hope he grows out of it, but 3 1/2 appears to be kinda a tough age, around our house, at least. He trick or treated as well, though, in his skunk costume, but his little feet hurt and he fell asleep so profoundly Chuck had to carry him over his shoulder into O'Charley's, and Chip never even woke up enough to eat. Ironically, baby Virginia was the best behaved. Her needs are pretty simple right now.
We took some time to let the kids enjoy the trip home once the sun came up. Here is a picture of them out looking at a scenic overlook in West Virginia (they enjoyed seeing birds flying UNDER them) and here are the new does also at the scenic overlook wondering what all the fuss was about. We even went straight to a Halloween event when we got back to town, and the goats had to wait in the back of the truck. I'm not so sure what the goats thought of that, but they had to deal with it before we got them to the farm and out in a quarantine area for the night. We did find that they attracted a lot of interest at the West Virginia rest stop, and even had folks taking their pictures. Chuck thought about offering "pictures with a goat" for $3 a pop to help recoup our trip expenses. I found that the dog likes Pumpkin Spice lattes (she licked the spout before I even got my first sip after I splurged at Starbucks at the rest stop). I got to poke fun at Chuck when he about ran off the road saying "what kind of cow is that" and I got to reply "one with its head in a mineral feeder" (it did look pretty strange at a glance). The kids behaved pretty well on the drive home, and actually seemed to have had fun on what most kids would have considered a miserable trip.