Bitterblue’s LSD Phaylene started off our 2022 goat kidding season on Friday afternoon with twin 7.5lb bucklings. Idikka Yoshi and Phaylene make some nice kids together. Here’s the planned pedigree.
It’s kidding season and some of our does will kid soon, however, the first kid of the season arrived today from Exponential Blessings Farm in MD! E.B. Farms LL Regal was purchased to breed to the does we have kept out of Yoshi next fall. We don’t plan to allow outside breeding to Regal for this year.
Regal has a great pedigree that we are sure will help improve our herd.
The human kids are enjoying having a bottle baby in the house.
This weekend was the North Stonington fair. In 2012, we showed goats for the first time at that fair. After 6 summers without goats, we made our return to the fair scene and the goat barn with our Lamanchas. And it rained. A lot. I saw estimates that we had between 3.5-4″ of rain in just over 24 hours, but let’s not jump ahead too much.
Last fall, we rebuilt our herd of Lamanchas and had 5 does that kidded this spring. We have already sold some goats, but at this point we have 3 does in milk, 2 dry yearlings, and 5 baby doelings (plus a buck and his wether companion). Quinn and Amanda wanted to show goats and this was their first time back in the ring. Another one of the girls from the 4-H club, Kaylin, leased some goats as a 4-H project. The three of them have been working hard at getting the goats ready – clipping, studying, handling, etc. Thursday afternoon, we loaded up the trailer with goats and headed to the North Stonington fairgrounds. We got the pens set up and the kids did finishing touches on clipping and cleaned up udders on the goats. After that, they headed out as a group to ride the fair rides and eat some dinner. Fair food!
Everything was going well, but there was this little rainstorm coming through. Let’s call it, Elsa. Elsa was a tropical storm as it passed through the area. It started raining overnight Thursday to Friday, and it kept raining. A lot. The fairgrounds were already pretty saturated from rain over the previous week. The area where the travel trailers were parked was a bog. You couldn’t get to the trailers without rubber boots. But we took care of the animals and retreated to the trailer for some food and hanging out until the rain subsided.
The rain ended Friday afternoon, and all the exhibitors started emerging from their hiding places. Due to all the rain and standing water, the fair didn’t officially open on Friday evening. After some back and forth, the fair board did decide to allow the youth goat show to go forward on Friday evening since all the goats and exhibitors were already present. So, at 6:30 pm Friday, the youth show started with 60+ goats.
The show didn’t end until about 9:30 and by the time the kids were done with chores, everyone was ready for a shower and some sleep. As I started to fall asleep, another big storm hit the fairgrounds and dumped another inch or so of water on the already saturated grounds. We woke up Saturday to find that our canopy was destroyed overnight, but the weather was clear. The show on Saturday included ~160 goats. It took all day.
At the end of the day on Saturday, we headed home with a trailer full of tired goats and 3 4-Hers who had a great time working together. They showed all our goats and helped others show Alpines, Nubians, Oberhaslis, and others. On the way home, they were talking about the next show, making an FAQ for the stalls (“why don’t your goats have any ears?”), and in general looking forward to the next show.
Goats are a lot of work and cost a lot money. But watching the kids work together, take responsibility for the animals, build their confidence the in show ring and speaking to the public makes it all worth it.
For the first time since 2015, we have baby goats on the farm. Yesterday night, 2 of our does kidded, giving us 4 buck kids and 1 doe kid. Both does and all 5 kids are doing well. We have 2 more does due in the next few days and then 1 more due in May. All of the kids are sired by Idikka Yoshi. I’m very pleased with his contribution to these kids and I see improvements on each doe in the kids.
Rainbow (Longvu Log Over the Rainbow) surprised us by going into labor first and dropping both her buck kids in under 30 minutes. The first one was 10lb and the second was 9.3lb. Rainbow has a nice length of body and milked for 18 months on her first freshening.
Tulsi was known to be carrying at least triplets, so we were pleased that she was showing signs of imminent labor 4 days before her due date. She was a little slower building to delivery, but eventually provided buck kid #1 at 6.3lb, buck kid #2 at 7.2lb, and doe kid at 6.5lb. Tulsi is registered Native on Appearance, so her kids are considered Experimental in the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) registry.
After a 5 year hiatus, we have decided to get back into goats (it was mostly Rob’s idea). Lamanchas were our preference and we have started gathering our new herd of Lamanchas. In this picture is Tulsi, a 4 year old doe in milk we purchased last weekend with her kid from this year. Tulsi is currently giving us a little over 2 quarts of milk per day with her kid still nursing.
Milking Tulsi is Quinn, or as they were formerly known, Vicki. A few weeks ago they decided to change their name to Quinn. While we haven’t processed the full court name change yet, it will likely happen in the future.
Today at work, a friend said I should add some video of the goat kids to our site. This year we are doing things a little different with the goat kids: we are planning to raise them all as bottle babies. We have chosen to do this because we have always found the bottle baby kids to be so much easier to handle and more docile as they grow up. So, Sawyer Farm’s Milky Way and Sawyer Farm’s Caramel who were born on Monday, are living in a dog crate in the office. It’s not that they couldn’t live in the barn, but rather, Anna likes the convenience of not going out to the barn in the middle of the night to give them bottles.
Of course, goats that live inside, get to wander around the house for exercise. It has become a routine that they follow the people into the kitchen to get their bottles. They love to run and hop around. Unfortunately, all the antics were complete by the time I started the video and both kids were getting down to the business of drinking milk.
Last night, Anna went to bed as I stayed up working on some things (ok, I was on Facebook). Around 11, I was ready for bed, but first went to the barn to check on West View Swan’s Saffron, one of our Lamancha does, who was in the kidding stall for the night since she was already 2 days overdue. I discovered she was in labor.
I headed back in and woke Anna to tell her I was getting more warm clothes and heading back out to the barn since Saffron was in labor. She thought I should get a couple of hours of rest first and then go out around 1. I didn’t think so. As she drifted off to sleep, I headed back to the barn. When I arrived, the first kid was already on the ground. She was a long legged doeling that looks a lot like her sire, Blue-Ridge Apache and weighed in at 6.6lbs. Her brother followed not too long after and weighed in at 6.9lbs, and has the look of his mother. Both started with wobbly legs, but by this afternoon, they were getting around a little better, so we took them out for some quick photos.
Introducing Sawyer Farm’s Sassafras (dark colored doe) and Sawyer Farm’s Birch (light colored buck).
Turbo, our Sheltie, was watching over the photo shoot. After we finished, he went back in the barn and hopped up on a bale of hay to take a break.
Since our last doe has been dried up and we are getting ready for kidding season, I closed out the milk records for last season. If you are not familiar with the dairy industry, milk production is actually tracked and discussed by weight (pounds of milk), not volume. While it was obvious on a day-to-day basis what the production of the goats was, we decided last June to start tracking it for analysis (I am an engineer after all). So, after each milking, we would weigh the milk for the doe and record it on a sheet in the milking area. Then, at the end of the month, I entered the data into a spreadsheet.
This year, we had 4 goats in milk. We chose to only milk 1 time a day because it provided enough milk for us and reduced the chore load in the evenings. When we dropped to 1 time a day, we saw the daily total for each goat drop by about 30%. Lilly was sold shortly after starting the records, so she is excluded from the totals. Here is how the others did.
Saffron – Lamancha, first freshener. 283 days in milk. 840 lbs produced. 3.0lbs avg per day over entire cycle.
Tang – Lamancha, first freshener. 266 days in milk. 656 lbs produced. 2.5lbs avg per day over entire cycle.
Betty – Oberhasli, second freshener. 303 days in milk. 565 lbs produced. 1.9lbs avg per day over entire cycle.
Total for the 3 goats: 2061 lbs, or about 257 gallons. If we were purchasing raw cow milk, it would have a value of $2570. If we were purchasing raw goat milk, it would have a value of $5140. If we were purchasing the milk, we probably wouldn’t use as much as we do.
We had already observed that our Oberhasli’s don’t produce nearly as much as the Lamanchas. Therefore, if we decided to change to a single breed, it would be Lamanchas. Of course, we are not in this from a maximum production standpoint.
Conclusions. We use a lot of milk. It is cheaper to raise your own goats for milk than to buy milk.
To say this week has been busy is an understatement. I haven’t even had time to write about our newest goat herd additions. Last Sunday afternoon, I drove to New Hampshire to meet Cliff Parker of Longvu Lamanchas. I specifically went to buy Tangueray Texter, a first freshened in milk. She come from a very good pedigree and will help improve our herd. With her coloring, she should make nice babies with Apache, our lamancha buck.
While I was there, I looked at the kids they had, and decided to buy Pocohontas. I love her coloring and she is super friendly. The kids love to play with her.
Ok, so the bucks actually got here 2 weeks ago, but we finally made some pictures this evening. We got one Oberhasli and one Lamancha (his ears are supposed to look like that). They are young, but will be ready to breed soon. Here they are:
Blue-Ridge Mohawk (registration # pending)
Sire Blue-Ridge Titus (AB1311788) Dam CH Blue-Ridge Sheena (AB1277945)
Blue-Ridge Apache (registration # pending)
Sire Blue-Ridge Zulu (AL1501363) Dam Blue-Ridge Yanni’s Serenade (AL1466941)