"Better late, than never!" has been my life motto. Persistent, habitual tardiness was ingrained at a very young age, by my own mother. It's a daily battle for me, that I WILL right for my children's sanity. The blog, however, can wait a little longer.
We are finally getting a little reprieve from the diversified farm business and looking forward to some reflection on a successful year. It's that season when you take a, very unforgiving, hard look at your production dairy and make tough management decisions.
Since we are working towards ADGA milking testing, I have been weighing my does' milk for two seasons and focusing our breeding program around those results. I would love for my girls to earn the dairy stars they are so worthy of, but that testing has been elusive of my time and commitment. My young children deserve more time, as well. And there is only so much to go around at this stage.
So, my herd's loveliest, most productive milk award goes to (drum roll, please).....Andromeda! She has consistently averaged +4 lbs through her peak lactation and after 10 months of milking is still tightly bagged at 3 LBS per day!!!! I plan to milk her through the winter and into next summer, which will be a first for all of us. While I can't rejoice at the prospect of new kids from her in 2017, her gorgeous 2015 doeling "Morning Glory" will freshen in early spring and 2016 doeling "Milky Way" will be a yearling first-freshener in late spring. Happy New Year to All!!
We are up to 17 kiddos now, with just one more doe goat left to freshen! It just so happens that my FAVORITE doe settled last this year, so I am still on pins and needles waiting to see her contribution to our kid group. There have been 5 night births at very erratic times, varying from two days early to four days late, beginning some 3 weeks ago. As of this writing, I am severely sleep deprived.
"Stormcrow" is a quiet first-freshener who was assessed at 2 hr intervals, since she filled her udder or "bagged up", as we rural folks like to say. Last night, I knew she would definitely kid, based on her behavior, so I ran up the hill to the barn in my long underwear at 8 pm, 10 pm (to feed kids), 1 am, 3 am, 5 am, and again at 6:15 am to milk and feed for morning chores. Wouldn't you guess, that sneaky lady kidded sometime between 5:00 and 6:15 am. All the recent moms attended the birthing girl, so kids were sparkling clean and wandering around for a random tit, when I arrived. It was easy work to dip navels, milk out lucky bewildered doe and feed hungry kids before my children were ready for school.
My two first-fresheners both kidded unattended, but they are easing into milking time just fine. In contrast, all of my older does were heavily assisted, so I am now very comfortable re positioning breech kids and exploring a doe up to my elbow. There should be a word for spelunking a goat uterus...like "capcaving" or "goatsplelunk". Both sound "maaaaaa-velous".
Since we are getting closer to kidding season, I figured a prego photo was long overdue. Here are our seven rotund lovely ladies lined up at the feeder. From left to right; Stormcrow, Bayou Baby, Morgana, Cordial, Andromeda, Constance, and Titanium. And Rocky is photobombing from the buck side of the feeder.
This pretty little doe has it all, personality, looks, and milking potential. She'll also have a new home in a few short weeks and will be especially missed. Thank you, Patrick, for giving her an exceptional home!