Now that kidding season is over and it’s nearly time to wean this year’s kids (our new junior buck Amador, five doe kids, and two wethers: Rosie, Charlotte, Anne, Jennifer, and Janette; plus Little Joe and Charlie Brown, who will be buck companions), we’re in sort of an odd time period: summer. Except for the Union County Fair in August, shows are over around here (at least for us), and Linear Appraisal won’t be happening until August, because ADGA decided to put us in a “second trip.” We’re treading water until then, just milking our does and trying to beat the heat—it was 94 yesterday and will be hotter today. July and August are normally scorchers here, with temperatures above 90 most every day and frequently above 100.
Meanwhile, the girls are working on earning their Advanced Registry *M’s. Lady Victory earned hers years ago, thankfully, as this has not been her best year. I’m just glad she’s healthy now and still milking. Kressie may not qualify for hers this time, as she had a bad kidding and then severe udder edema. When she did come into milk, it wasn’t a lot, but she’s been holding fairly steady for the past few months. With any luck, she’ll earn her *M on butterfat, and I at least have the satisfaction of knowing she’s milking better than her dam did at the same age—and she went on to become an Elite Doe! As for my four Kingfisher daughters (Bella, Queen, Silver Belle, and Lady Jane), the first three have already produced enough to unofficially earn their stars on both milk and butterfat. Yay! The fourth (Lady Jane) is lagging a bit behind the others, since she kidded later, but she will soon earn hers too. Once their lactations are completed and official (we’re on Owner/Sampler-40 AR, which requires a minimum of 240 days and eight tests, including a verification test), Kingfisher will earn his +B! We are so proud of him. I only wish we had more does for him. This fall nearly all of them will be going to our new junior buck: Wingwood Farm Lovin Amador.
Summer is a good time to get routine bloodwork done, and this year we will start DNA testing, too. It’s time to lay in hay and bedding for the coming year, work on facilities, fences, and paint before bad weather sets in and the temperatures drop. The goats love being outdoors when the weather is nice, but once it starts raining, they’re INSIDE. That means they expect their feed bunks to be full and their living quarters comfy, thank you! I hope we can re-design a few things so doing chores will be more convenient (and efficient). Our current set-up requires you to carry your armload of hay across the yard and the inside of their Quonset to reach the hay feeder while wading through the herd of goats—all of whom are crosswise in your path and jumping up to grab a mouthful as you go past. It’s not pretty and would try the patience of a saint. I think I’ll be investing in a new Lambar or two also, after bottle-feeding this bunch for five months.
We do have breeding season to look forward to, and then we will start on the merry-go-round again. This fall we hope to have our two bucks collected for artificial insemination. We’re waiting to hear from Bio-Genics, Ltd., regarding their schedule. In the meantime, I’ve already got our breeding list together and posted on our Webpage (check out the 2016 Breeding List). I know it’s early, but figured I might as well, since I already knew what it would be. In the meantime, I need to clip everyone and get some nice, posed photos—something I haven’t been able to do before. The kids look like young ladies and gentlemen now that they’ve grown up a bit.
Too bad I’ll have to sell some does again next spring in order to keep things from getting out of hand. It can be really difficult to decide who must go, and since we’re a small herd, I get so attached to them all. I just need to remember that they will become special goats for someone else then, and I will make a new friend or two in the process. Sometimes that’s the best part!