Sunday, February 5, 2012

already thinking about next season

If any of you follow the Goat Rancher blog, you may have noticed that we are in the process of purchasing a new buck, Southwest Shaw. We were only "sort of" in the market for a new buck, as we are able to cross Boomer and Ace's kids back on each other and it makes a good goat, but I still am in pursuit of the toughest of the tough, while not going so far in one direction as to blow it in all others (and that is an art I will be learning for some time, I expect). One very well known producer for whom I have a lot of respect seems to have a real knack for crossing the right goats. That is nothing small. You can have the best buck in the world and if you cross it to the wrong does, you will get subpar kids. That works the other way around, too. The trick is not to buy a superstar necessarily, but to find goats that consistently outproduce themselves, or crosses that maximize the best of both sides.

Towards that end, and using the anecdotal information that Terminator line goats tend to be some of the toughest in the breed, I wanted to bring more of that original Terminator blood back into the herd, especially to use on my Ace/Boomer cross does. Ace is a Wild Bill son, so he is a great grandson of Terminator from the Terminator XX side. We have a nice Purebred doe I will keep doelings from (I hope) and she is a Turbo daughter (Turbo is also a Terminator XX son, and Terminator grandson). One of the sires that goes back to the original Terminator other than Terminator XX is Southwest Cisco. Southwest Cisco sired such bucks as ECR Rusty and BBM Dale. I had the notion I'd like to get a double bred Southwest Cisco buck to take back on those lines before going back to something like Onyx for more meat and frame. I didn't figure I would come across one, but I was going to start looking at sales and see what was available.

Imagine my surprise when I found Southwest Shaw for sale - a son of ECR Rusty (son of Southwest Cisco and grandson of the original Terminator) and out of a Southwest Cisco daughter. Interestingly, I had gone to a sale a couple of years ago planning to buy this very Southwest Cisco daughter, and was completely ready to do it when Terry Hankins, her owner, mentioned she had lost use of one side of her udder right as the bidding started. It was a pretty little udder for an old doe, but we had been through a season where we had a dairy doe with only one good side of her udder and it made us gun shy. Our doe raised twins on that one side, but if Chuck had not discovered it and insisted the kids choose the correct side, she might have lost them both because they were going for the wrong side (which was at a better height) and one kid was going downhill fast because we thought it was getting colostrum when it was actually getting nothing. It could have starved right off the bat. Since we don't live at the farm, it gave me enough pause I didn't buy the doe, and I have regretted not buying her ever since. I also respect Terry Hankins for putting that information out there so we could all make an informed decision, although looks like I made the wrong one. I spoke to Shaw's former owner, and she told me how pleased they had been with him and his offspring, and only after several seasons of keeping his daughters did they decide to sell him. I hope he sires us many good kids next season, but of course, we have lots ahead of us before we get there.

In the meantime, all but one of the first wave of does has kidded, and the March does are starting to puff up and make little udders. Here are a few of the kids thus far, and some of the does that should be kidding next month. Think these kids might be Ace's? We are becoming familiar with what we're calling the "Ace face" in even the ones not colored like him. They are robust little varmints, and already worrying their mommas by bouncing around. The portly pair at left are a mother/daughter team. Both are stout and stocky, and if not carrying twins, must be adept at swallowing basketballs. Or maybe soccer balls - I think the kids left a few soccer balls at the farm. I might ought to go make sure they are still around.

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