Because I was working in Hickory yesterday, I was able to get home earlier than normal.  When I pulled into the driveway I saw that one of the steer goats that I bought a few weeks ago had his head stuck in the fence.  This is the fourth time he’s got his head stuck since I’ve had him.  It is an irritating habit because he puts himself in danger and he damages my fence.  He also won’t eat grain.  I don’t feed a lot of grain, but in the winter, I will use grain for supplemental feeding.  I called Wally and asked if he wouldn’t mind taking him to the sale that night.  He agreed and we decided that I’d send along the two small billy goats that I bought from Marcus.  Despite good food and worming, they just were not growing well.  They were probably stunted from not getting good care early on in their lives.

Before calling Wally I had talked to a local woman who had a purebred Oberhasli billy goat for sale.  He is five months old and apparently weighs 70 pounds.  That’s a decent size for his age.  She only wanted $40 for him.  As it turns out, her stock came from the woman I bought Kitty and Rose from. 

While I was waiting for Wally I decided to go ahead and send the larger billy goat that I bought from Marcus along with the rest of the group.  So, all of the goats I bought from Marcus went to the sale.  I figured if I’m going to get into dairy goats, I might as well have a dairy buck to breed them to.  You can use a meat goat for breeding, but not for first time does because the kids would be too large.  Also, according to the woman I bought Kitty and Rose from, you’ll get more milk from a doe if she’s bred to a “milky” buck.  I know this buck comes from “milky” lines so I should be all set.

I’m going to buy two gallons of raw milk from the woman who has the buck.  She’s right on the way to where I pick up rabbits every two weeks so I could arrange to get milk from her when I go to get rabbits.  This is only until I have a milking doe of my own.

At the sale, Wally bought me a nice Alpine doe.  He was really excited about her.  He called me this morning and said he went out to the barn to check on her today and came back and told his wife, “buyer beware.”  No, she wasn’t dead.  She got up to greet Wally when he came into the barn and when she got up, she peed … well “she” is really a “he!”  Ha!  Wally isn’t going to live this one down any time soon!  The good thing is, he can either get his money back on him or he can resell him and he’ll likely bring more money than he did as a she.

I spoke to the man who has the Nubian doe I was interested in.  She’s doing well, but I have some concerns about taking her.  One, they have had some dog attacks where she is living now, so she’s really nervous around dogs.  Kitty and Rose think all goats are their busome buddies and she may not take well to this.  Because of her size and horns, I don’t want her charging the dogs or running into the fence.  Also, a horned goat is a little harder to break to milking because of the potential damage she can do with her horns.  I may be better off buying a young doe, breeding it to my Oberhasli buck to kid in the spring and start milking then.

The woman who has the Oberhasli has only one doe milking now and she was planning on drying her up.  If she’s got someone reliably buying milk from her, she may decide to keep her milking over the winter.  She’s getting a gallon of milk from her daily.

There’s a man in Morganton who has a two year old Alpine doe he has for sale for $100 and another man who has two older Nubian does for sale for $150 each.  None of these does have been milked before.  There’s a woman not too far from me who has some LaMancha does for sale who are milking now for $150.  That may be my best bet, but I don’t care much for the ears on LaManchas.  What I’d like is a Saanen doe.  The lady that I got Kitty and Rose from has a few young cross-bred does for sale for $100, which is a good deal, but she’s quite a ways from me so the price of gas to get the doe would add to the price.

We’ll see what happens.

Now that I have good working sheep, the need for working goats is reduced.  I still have three nice steer goats that will be set aside for meat next spring.

Cian is really coming along nice.  His energy doesn’t feel quite so frantic as it originally did.  He’s settling well in the house.  When I get up, he doesn’t run me down to get to the door.  He also doesn’t shoot out the door like an arrow running like a fool to who knows where.  He seems more willing to stop when I ask him.

I’ve been talking a lot to my friend in Canada who has a half sister to Cian.  Like Cian, she doesn’t want to lie down.  We’ve been discussing whether a lie down was absolutely necessary or if you could have a standing stop.  I think you can get away with a standing stop, as long as it is honest.  I think some handlers want to have absolute control over their dogs hence demanding a lie down.  Many handlers want to micro manage their dogs and with trial dogs, I think micro managing is necessary.  I prefer to bring out the natural talents of my dogs and rely on that and their obedience.  I put a lot of time into my dogs and think I have a good relationship with them.  That will show on the trial field.  I had a couple of experienced handlers look at Gel’s Open Ranch video and that’s what a couple of them came back with: he’s working well for you and is extremely obedient.

I got a call last night from a man in South Carolina who has some Australian Shepherds from very old, very nice working lines.  I talked to him originally about a year ago.  He had some seven or eight month old puppies out of a to-die-for cross, from lines that are no longer available.  The puppies hadn’t been handled or socialized and were essentially wild.  I wasn’t willing to take on that type of dog.  I told him to contact me if he did the cross again.  The parents are almost ten years old.  Well, he contacted me, he’s got three puppies.  There were four, but one died.  He wanted to know if I was interested in one.  I told him I couldn’t afford to buy a dog right now.  He said he’d give me a puppy.  Then the truth came out.  It wasn’t the original cross, one of the sons from the original cross that he still has bred his mother.  I asked what he had there as far as colors and sexes.  He said he wasn’t sure, they were a week old and he’d only seen them once.  He didn’t have the tails done yet because last week was so muddy that he didn’t want to get down in there to get them out.

Damn!  Can you imagine how these dogs are living?  He’s got a bitch, two or three year old dogs that he can’t handle, three puppies, all living with poultry in the mud.  I called the breeder of the bitch to let her know the situation to see if she thought I should go and get the puppies out of there.  She said she wouldn’t, that the breeding was too close and there would likely be problems.  What a shame about the young adult dogs.  That could have been a stellar cross as far as working ability.  What a waste.  Unfortunately, I’m sure this goes on all the time.  Given the environment they will be growing up in, the best thing for these puppies would be if they all died.

2 Replies to “Goats”

  1. You’ll be so happy with dairy goats, especially when you start getting milk and making your own cheese. However dairy goats does do need more feed supplements that meat goat does, if you want them to produce maximum milk for you. Check with the dairy goat breeder in your area about what she feeds her goats.

  2. Yes, I know, I’ve done a lot of research into what they need to eat. I will feed and supplement them well. Got my Obie buck today. He’s wonderful! I think that’s the breed I’m going to settle on. He’s a hoot. He looks like a little wild pony. Off to make some goat milk yogurt.

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