This is actually our second time around with dairy goats, having first owned them about 35 years ago–before we sold our little farm and moved to the big city–Seattle and Kent, Washington, to be exact. Both Sam and I worked in health care and were also involved with Equestrians Institute, Puget Sound’s group-member organization affiliated with the United States Dressage (USDF) and Eventing Associations (USCTA). You can’t take the “country” out of kids though, so we returned to Northeastern Oregon when we retired.
We have always been fortunate to have quality animals, and I must say I was soon spoiled. Our first goat was a little grade Saanen named Sally, and we owned her for many years before finally selling her and one of her daughters to a friend from work. We didn’t realize at the time what a nice doe she was, since neither Sam nor I had ever been around goats before, and were we ever lucky! We tracked down a buck to breed her to that fall, and the next spring she gave us a lovely set of twin doelings. The milk was wonderful, and we were thrilled and hooked on goats! The following year we bought our first Nubian buck, Cocoa, and two purebred Saanens. The rest of the Nubians would come the following year when we travelled to Idaho and bought buck and doe kids from the Robinsons of Jumna Pari Nubians.
We lived near Summerville, Oregon back then, having grown up and graduated from college in La Grande, and our herd name was Sheng Tai. Originally, we had Saanens, but I always loved how pretty and colorful Nubians were, so we transitioned eventually to all Nubians. I will always be fond of Saanens, however, and if I ever went to a second breed again, it would definitely be them. By the time we were done, we were able to finish championships on two of our does: CH River Queen #N0226087, classified 5-03 90 EX/89-92-89-90; and her full-sister GCH Nyssa Lilly’s Glorie 1*M #N0262782 6-06 90EX/86-90-91-92 (both were full-sisters and daughters of our foundation buck *B Elm Hills Robert (#N0201834) and Lilly Bell (#N0196531). Millard’s Silver Bell 1*M #N0210325, our wonderful doe we found in the Willamette Valley, classified 5-02 89VG/87-93-87-88 and earned a Reserve Senior All-American Aged Doe award from the National Nubian Club (now the International Nubian Association), as well as two legs on her permanent championship, but she went Reserve the last time she was shown, so we were unable to finish her championship. She developed cystic ovaries, so we were never able to freshen her again. Here are some of the bucks we used in our breeding program. Robert was Queen and Glorie’s sire; Tacitus (#N0294990) and Apollo (#N0379273) were used on their daughters and gave us nice udders and production as well.
All the ribbons and rosettes have gone by the wayside through the years, but I still have photos, the trophies, and Queen’s and Bell’s certificates, not to mention many fond and bittersweet memories. Sam and I also have the satisfaction of knowing that we got the ADGA-sanctioned dairy goat show going at the Union County Fair in La Grande, Oregon–which is STILL going strong. There were over 160 entries and two rings going in 2014, so it continues to be a success. I’m looking forward to showing there again, and the competition is as stiff as ever!