Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Goat business

I am slowly learning about the goat business around here.

We had 3 bucklings about two weeks ago and last Friday I took them out the the farm where I purchased my two does last year.

While we were chatting she said, "oh, not now!" and ran to her doe's fencing and jumped right over, I couldn't see that behind the straw pile was a LaMancha doe laying down pushing out a kid. She delivered 2 healthy kids (boy and girl) and took them into her barn to get dried off.

Down to business, we collected my bucklings, she looked at their legs, how they stood apart, what one might be best for breeding, etc, but over all she liked all three. She took them into the barn where she had the dis-budding iron on and proceeded to curl them up under her hold their head and burn around their little horns. Let me just say, "OH MY GOSH!!!" My daughter (12) sat right behind her while I freakishly peered over the stall door in anguish. The smell, wow, burnt fur and flesh. They scream. It's pretty hard. But after the 3rd one was done, I realized I would have to and probably could do this. My daughter helped her after that with 2 or 3 more while I pretended to be doing something important with my children at the car.

Disbudding sounds horrible, and is, but from what I have read it saves much heartache from goats getting heads stuck and dying, mamas killing babies, and owners getting nailed. Most breeders up here disbud and won't buy horned goats, so that's what I will do too.

Onto tattoos. Ugh. Messy and again, PAINFUL. She's such a pro. She gave them each a tetanus shot then we pasted their long ears with green ink and POP went the tattoo puncher. She got the 3 letters into each of their ears when my daughter casually said, "Mrs. B your daughter just delivered a kid." She looked up and looked at what we were doing. I said, "go, we can finish later!" and I put the sad boys back into the kennel and went to check out the action.

She had the doe on her back with both hands inside. It took some non spermicidal jelly and a cigarette, but she and her children put the doe up onto the cable spool "table" and she proceeded to push the second kid back inside because it was all discombobulated and finally pulled it out holding it's head straight with her hand. Poor thing. It wasn't dead even though the sack had been broken for a while at that point. She put mom and 2 babies in their own private stall so she could rest and lick her kids.

We finished the tattoos, discussed what buck I might want to purchase for myself, dicussed what I should sell my bucks for and finally headed home.

I have chosen the route of purchasing good pedigree goats, ie more expensive. I only do this because it makes sense to my pocket book. First of all the place I have gotten them herd tests for disease every year, she has about 100 goats...that's a lot of blood draws. With a clean herd you have to expect to pay more, herd testing is time and money but the knowledge for you and your customers that you have a clean product. I know that "cheap" goats can produce fine milk but I also know that if I pay one or two hundred dollars more up front I can charge more for my kids AND I'm breeding for good milk production. (Some breed for color, some for size, etc.) If I spend $1500 on hay and grain for two full sized does, I would prefer to give that food to goats that give me the maximum amount for my dollars. I will spend far more on feed than I will on purchasing goats, so I'd better make it count.

At this time my bucks are up for sale and my asking price for just one of them is the same as what I paid for my doe. I may not sell even one, so they may be Easter roasting goats next year. It would be a pity, but such is the way things go.

Country Jane, headed to get more hay

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Very interesting. We're facing disbudding as well and will do it for the same reasons as you, though we hate to. I won't have to worry about tatooing until I get my Kinders, but I was interested just the same. I agree with your decision about going with purebred registered goats. Nubians are such a lovely choice. ANd your kids are too cute!