As usual, springtime in the South has been a wild ride. After all the beautiful weather with summer-like temperatures, we have had a few heavy frosts. I figured the goats, being goats, would have kidded out at the absolute coldest moment. Since they couldn't arrange that, we had one kid yesterday in the middle of a thunderstorm. By the time Chuck got there, the kids were nearly dry and were standing. He couldn't tell exactly how new they were because the whole entire pasture was so very damp, but he had left the farm at 5am after a night check and he was back before noon. Apparently this doe was just waiting for a little privacy. She is one of the new does we got at Cream of the Crop last fall when the goats all were gold plated, or at least going for prices as if they were. She had a doe and a buck, and so far, so good.
The second goat of breeding age that we bought at the Cream of the Crop kidded today with triplets, two does and a buck. We were interested to see if she would live up to the reputation of Caesar daughters as good mothers, and at least during delivery she did all the right things. She actually waited for Chuck to arrive, and then quickly went into heavy labor. She was cleaning the first kid and it was starting to stand as she was laying down to have the next, and he was impressed with how careful she was with her feet to make sure she didn't step on one. This is one of those things that can't be quantified. There is no "measure" for so many of the intangibles that make a good mothering doe. In theory, they should have a higher weaning rate because they are careful, but there is more to it than that. Chuck has seen does step all over their kids (mainly Boers) and some that will run over their kids to get to a feed bucket. He has seen does that will turn to protect their kids, and then some that take off running and leave them for whatever predator/scary thing was after them. We try to take these things into consideration in our does. I also like for the doelings to stay with their mommas as long as possible when they can. It seems to be better for their udders to dry off slowly, and I assume that even when the kids are getting most of their calories from something other than nursing, there must be some benefit from the occassional snack or nature would have eliminated it long ago. This is another reason I figure it is a good thing to kid in the winter. We don't have enough land for them to live all winter on forage alone (and we are reaching critical mass even for the ample months) so why not feed them while they are growing the next generation of replacement does (now that is wishful thinking, isn't it) in their bodies, while in many cases, still growing their own. Hearing that this year has been light on does for other producers drives this home to me. If there aren't going to be lots of replacement does this year, we better hope their mommas were fed well enough to ensure the long, productive lives of the new small crop. I also want to figure out how to trick the does's bodies into being a more hospitable place for X chromosomes rather than Ys, but I also know what happens when we try to mess too much with Mother Nature.
The new area where the largest group of does was recently put has been "hammered" to put it mildly. Chuck was enjoying the dancing goats recently, as they were working the low hanging tree branches and leaves. This means, of course, that we better get the next area fenced. And soon. I expect I am going to be moving some bucks out soon, too. Since our new buck will be coming soon, we just don't need all we have. Now I just have to figure out who is going to be moving on down the road, and then I have to convince Chuck to buy in on it. I think if it were up to him, we would keep every goat and never sell anyone. I take that back. We'd never sell anyone except the ones that get on his nerves. Each buck we've used offers a trait we wanted in our herd. Maybe three or four more buck crosses down the road and I will have the "perfect" Kiko for this area. Well, I can dream, can't I?