|Say hello to Chuck's little friend.|
I am also on the quest for a new mineral blend to feed the goats. I have heard anecdotally that the water up in the area around the farm is high in iron, which blocks the absorption of copper. Now, I assume that means the soil is high iron, but we bring water from the house. I guess I need to have our water at the house checked too. I just don't think the goats look as good as they could, and I see some of the "symptoms" of copper deficiency, such as rust colored hairs on the black goats. Copper wire particles do seem to help, and I use those over the summer to help eliminate the need to use other types of dewormers, but still... I just wonder. I have tried to put in an order for a different mineral that I see dairy goat people using, and they are feeding for maximum milk and they like their goats to look pretty, too. Looking pretty isn't a must on our farm, but generally, to look pretty a goat must be reasonably healthy. Healthy is important to us. If the mill is able to get it in, it should show up this week and we'll see if we notice a difference. I'll report back one way or t'other.
Chuck may have bumped in to some of you guys at the Ozark sale in Springfield Missouri last weekend. He got a later start than he would have liked on his way down there, which is pretty much par for the course for us. He had hoped to see some of the seminars but at least made it in time to participate in the Keep or Cull contest. In his opinion, there were some clear cut keeps and some clear cut culls but also a few that were on the bubble on way or the other. That is pretty much true to life, I'd say. He didn't win the free doe in the drawing, though, so I chastised him thoroughly for that, and he told me to take it up with the kid pulling out the winning name. Free is always a plus.
|The place started off packed, but there was a smaller group that actually purchased goats.|
|The pens at the sale.|
A lot goes into a replacement doe, even if we don't pour a lot of feed into them, or need to deworm them a lot. There is time and planning above and beyond the cost of feed and fence. Buying the breeding stock to produce these critters ain't cheap, but I will agree that chances are, if you buy a bunch of cheap goats, there's probably a reason they are cheap. If it isn't something like a major drought or whatnot, then you just have to wonder what it is. I am sure people find great goats for good prices, but I also know about the first goats we ever bought. They cost a whole lot less than we have paid for our breeding stock, but I guess they served us well in that we learned to treat all sorts of diseases and disorders, to tube feed kids, to give injections and bring goats back from death's doorstep. Those actually were some pretty good lessons, but lessons like that can be pretty discouraging for anyone new to goats.
|In the heat of the sale.|
One other thing I think is discouraging to new goatkeepers is really expensive goats. This is just my personal opinion, but I talked to some folks after the Cream of the Crop last fall, with the sky high prices, and one man in particular made me feel really bad. He had a few goats, and he and his wife had pictures of their goats with them and were obviously proud of their kid crop, and rightly so. They were really nice, solid looking kids. He had come to the sale hoping to step it up a notch in his breeding program, and the prices were so darn high at that sale, he didn't get a thing. Now, I am not saying to "fix" prices really low so the best goats go cheap, but dang. This guy was really discouraged. As a Kiko breeder and I would say as a huge fan of the Kiko as a breed, I want people to buy Kikos. I want them to see for themselves that for the good goats, they aren't all hype.
|One of the does we wanted (we have her grandma) but someone else wanted her more.|
|Our two new does in quarantine next to what the kids call "the potty with no door"|
I agree that the best of the best have value above and beyond, as do some of those wonderful does who consistently outproduce themselves or prove themselves to be productive for many years past what is "typical" for a meat goat. They should command a premium, but there should be a tier for the producer stepping up his game. The goats may not need to be the biggest name goats, but they still have to be GOOD and they need to improve the herd into which they are introduced. Maybe there should be a category at the sales for more tested and proven percentage does, or bucks that the local folks coming to the sale to see what Kikos are all about could afford to buy and take a gamble on. Then after the next kidding season, they will be coming back for more and ready to take it up another notch, rather than shaking their heads in disbelief that these goats could be worth it. A Kiko breeder who is going to drive many hours to a sale for a certain goat is ready to pay the price for that goat, but local goat breeders who may drive an hour or so just to check things out might be the future of the breed. Who knows. But again, this is just my opinion, and I am not expecting everyone to agree with me. Thought I would put it out there, though. For better or worse, I'm a little like that comedian who says "I had the right to remain silent... but not the ability." Just ask Chuck and he can tell you some stories. Most of the more colorful ones have to do with hot weather and me being pregnant and cranky, so hopefully you can forgive me those little lapses.