Duke and Meyla

Duke and Meyla

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Great Goat Escape

So as you have probably gathered from recent blog posts, we bought a few goats in the beginning of June. As the more discerning of you may have noticed, both from my saying that there was a funny story, and the comment asking for the story, something happened when we bought those goats that I'll always remember and laugh at. 

I should preface this story by saying that the breeder dam raises all his kids and they are not handled much until they are entered into the milking string. They are curious and friendly and most can be stroked, but grab ahold of one or try to restrain it in anyway, and the game is on, buddy!
I'll jump right in. The following picture was taken right before the storm came. You can see Serrano on the left looking relaxed and eating a piece of straw. Clare looks slightly bug eyed, and Robbie just isn't quite sure what to think. "So", says I to my mother, "I will go in and put a leash on this guy(indicating Serrano who wasn't yet named) because if he get loose we'll never catch him. Someone can carry the other (Robbie) and we'll come back for Clare." 

Murphey's Law-all that can go wrong will go wrong. 
I crawled inside the hot, stinky canopy, slinked up to Serrano, and reached for him with the leash. As I entered, his eyes grew wide, the straw dropped from his mouth, and as I got closer, he stiffened, his chin lowering and drawing towards his neck. As the slip knotted leash settled over his head, he blew up. And I mean BLEW UP!! Yelling and screaming, thrashing, bouncing, crashing, giving me a leash burn on my palms, (mind you I'm not letting go unless I die) and finally running out of air and stopping stiff to cry chokingly until I loosened the leash. 
At the same instant that he made his first lunge, Clare was gone. Just like that. Gone. Shot like a missile for the tailgate where Mom was, crashed into the half opened canopy door, sailed over the tailgate, Mom ducking down to save her head, and ran around the corner of the barn. 
I got Serrano halfways subdued, Mom grabbed Robbie and we put them both in an empty pen, then went to look for Clare. She was halfway to the pond already, and still going. I headed towards her, thinking she had just had a scare and would be calm now, knowing that she wasn't actually scared of humans, because she'd been fine since the time I'd first seen her. Well, I guess she was still scared because I couldn't get within 40 feet of her and the missile would find some more fuel and reignite. So, I gave myself an "away to me" command and made a wide outrun to the south and got her started back in the general direction of the goat barn. She started heading that way and looked like she'd turn by the shop and head east to the barn, but changed her mind and headed up the driveway. She was moving too fast and I was too far behind to get around in front, so I just stopped by the grill area and watched her trot out the driveway and across the road before disappearing from sight altogether.
I went back down to the barn and told Mom that we might as well go in and eat supper while we figure out what to do, because she wasn't gonna be caught anytime soon. So, we took the rotisserie chicken that we'd picked up and the way home and headed in. The recurring thought of the sight of Mom's new investment of hundreds of dollars waltzing out the driveway was just too much. We traded covert smiles and chuckles all through supper, and I busted up laughing when Brittany asked something about the new goats. She couldn't figure out what was so funny, and I couldn't stop laughing. 
Eventually, I figured I'd better suck it up and ask for help. I addressed Dad, Luke, Mark, and Jeff by saying, "This is going to make us the laughingstock of the house for sometime, but we need your help. Our new goat is across the road and we can't catch her!" After a bit of explaining as to what had happened, Luke, Jeff, Brittany and I went out to fetch her. Jeff figured he'd lasso her, though I didn't think that'd work because, as he can't lasso, he'd have to get close enough to drop it over her head. Eventually, Mark took the 4-wheeler, Jeff hopped on the back, and they scouted out the territory, trying to find her. After searching the whole property across the road, and finally deciding she wasn't up there, they spotted her, taking a snooze, in the far, southeast corner. They alerted Brittany and I, and we started closing in on her, as a streak of tigers closing in upon a water buffalo. 
She took one look at us and did exactly what a water buffalo being stalked by tigers would do-and what I was very fearful that she would do. She went through the barbed wire fence and onto the road. Once through, she began burning keratin, heading east, away from our driveway. Mark quickly took the 4-wheeler back onto the road and sped up, and got in front of her before she'd made it too far, and got her turned back the other way. Jeff again got off the 4-wheeler and started helping to herd her home, heading her off when she tried to turn around in the ditch and make a break past the 4-wheeler. At one point, she tried going through the barbed wire fence again, hit it square with her chest and neck and bounced off. I could soon see the blood spurting from where she'd run her jugular into a barb. A big trail of blood was following her down the road as she moved my way... As she got closer, I realized that my imagination had gotten the better of me again-she was not bleeding at all.
We'd made it about halfway back when Clare suddenly tired of all the trouble she'd given us and the fun she'd had. After a bit of deliberation, she waltzed up to Jeff with the air of a Princess returning from a party, (howbeit very exhausted and panting) and let him drop his rope of her neck. She wasn't leash trained and threw another fit when he tried leading her, choking off her already precious and limited oxygen, so I ended up "wheelbarrowing" her most of the way home and back into her pen. At one point, somebody brought her some dirty dog water bucket,(anyone who has goats knows how picky they are about water) the contents of which she gladly drank, she was that thirsty. The rest I dumped on her back. The cloud of steam which arose obliterated the trail we were following, and we had to stop and wait for it to dissipate before continuing. 
We eventually made it back to the barn where she was supposed to be, and threw her in the pen. Once in the pen, she was as docile as any of our goats. We could pet her, etc. and I even milked her shortly afterward with no trouble at all. (The fact that she was so exhausted she could barely move may have had an impact on that.) 
Now she's safe and sound in her pen, and has been introduced to the other does and integrated with no issues whatsoever. She's a nice doe, but I hope she never gets loose again!

P.S. The marks the barbed wire left on her? Zip, zilch, nada! I never found any. This girl must have the skin of a rhino! 

Sold, For Sale, and Rabbits

We sent Emmy and Tor to the auction in May, and then I brought Ebony and Lad in June. I was pleased with what we got for them.  The auction is usually our last resort, after having advertised the goat for several weeks and getting no bites. It is also where we send all our real culls, (i.e. Emmy who had CAE, or Ebony who was starving herself to death) and, due to the high population of Mexicans in the area, I surmise that most go for meat.
Everest was sold to a nice local family who is just getting into goats and has two does that she wants to breed so she can have milk.  
Ebony's buckling, Echo, who, by the way, was an exact "echo" to Ebony in looks, and bossy attitude, went to some local lady. She came to get two white rabbits and left with two white rabbits, two black rabbits, and a goat. I'm not complaining though! :) 
Marigold, Ivy, and Lass, went to Idaho for a commercial goat dairy and brought the highest price I've ever gotten for any goat not in milk! Marigold brought twice what I was asking for her on Craigslist! 
A friend who we've bought three goats from contacted me and told me to call so-and-so because they were looking for weaned and dry yearling does. I had to rush home from our appraisal session, skip lunch and load the aforementioned goats and rush to Hermiston in 95 degree weather with no AC to meet the fellow, who waited for me for an hour to pick them up. After dropping them off and getting my check, I was about faint with hunger and went into the truck stop and bought a.... salad!! Most of you know that I don't eat salad(though I'm trying harder to these days)but, as they say, hunger is the best sauce! I think I ate a whole, half of the thing before admitting defeat. 

Here's who we have left. 

Robbie, a very nice buckling(though a tad skittish) from great lines, who came with his dam Clare. He is unregistered and is priced at $100.

Hassie, Bunny's doeling, who's DNA came back showing that she is an Everest kid, meaning our AI failed-not surprising. She is a sweetie overall, but is very bossy and mealtimes and gets her head smacked a lot for trying to shove everyone else off of their bottles. $200

 Finn is about exactly the same as his sister. (Above) His dam, Bunny, is nice looking but doesn't give much milk. He can be sold registered for $200, or unregistered for $100.

Eclipse, Ebony's doeling, who is not for sale at this time.  Looking at these three pictures, I think I can say that Everest throws kids with huge ears!

Also for sale but not pictured, are:
 Skitz's buckling, Avery-unregistered for $100
Bluebelle's buckling, Toby-unregistered for $100

Below is my out of control rabbit project. For sale at $10 a piece with group discounts.
Juniper has weaned her litter except for these three who are a lot smaller than the rest. She and most of her litter will be butchered, if not sold, because most of the litter appears somewhat unthrifty and she was a bad mom.

Carmella had another litter on June 6th, which she again had all over the floor of her cage. I was gone but Brittany rescued four of the kits, who had gotten out of the cage and were on the barn floor. The cat was mooching around looking smug, so we think she had more kits that the cat ate before Brittany got out.
I had raised this litter by holding Carmella on her back in my lap and placing the blind, naked, pink babies on her abdomen to eat, twice a day. After a week, Carmella suddenly stretched her neck out and started licking a baby while on her back in my lap. After that, I put the box in the cage with her twice a day and she would hop in and feed them. I didn't trust her enough to leave the babies with her 24/7. At about 2.5 weeks of age, Carmella decided to stop feeding them twice a day, and only feeds them once a day now. Yesterday I forgot about the babies and left them in her cage after they'd eaten, and she didn't kill them, so now  they are with her. They will all be butchered for their bad genetics as well.
Big, fat monsters!

Spruce's and the rest of Juniper's litter in the growout pen. I lost my Rex buck, Rexy, last week, so will likely retain the solid black buck in the front for breeding.  He is fair sized, friendly, and a Rexy son. He is also a Juniper baby, but oh-well.

These are both Spruce/Rexy does. I plan to keep one but I can't decide which. 

I would keep this one, but he's a buck and I can't breed him to his mom, aunt and sister. If I keep Juniper's buck he'll only be related to his half-sister. 

I never know how to end a blog post, so adios amigos!

All About Goats

I hope the title wasn't misleading-no, this post is not a tutorial or a "Goats, 101." Maybe a better way to word it would be; "A Whole Post About Goats."

So here are all our junior goats(except the May babies), in order from youngest to oldest, including bucks.

Our newest buck, Missdee's AR Serrano


Pudasjarvi Black Sand 

Below is Flicka, at six months old. These two were cast in the same mold.

Pudasjarvi Flicka's Minx

Tide Land Salient Sam 

Tempo Aquila  TTLY Spaced-out. (Li)

Treasured Sunrise MP LilJazmin

Tempo Aquila Wild Rose Sonnet

Treasured Sunrise MJ Simcoe Mt

Pudasjarvi Little Miss Molly

 Pudasjarvi Isabelle Pink

Fall breeding plans are currently underway, so stay tuned if interested in reserving a kid! Hopefully, there will be 11 does freshening next year. That is way too many goats for us, so we will be selling most of next year's kids and several milkers as well. We'd like to get down to 4 or 5 milkers. Feel free to get on the list to be notified as soon as we make our decisions as to who stays and who goes! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

For Your Entertainment...

 Luke got a Hoverboard for his birthday, and all the boys enjoyed it. P.S.-the talking into the phone is the boys using a Swedish translator app to insult each other(insults not included in these clips-they were earlier), and ominous warnings of impending injury. Listen carefully.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kate, My Garden, and Minx

 Kate and I have been working with the calves. The calves are learning to move off of her pressure, and she's learning all kinds of stuff. 

 I've been having trouble getting her to bite them when they try staring her down, but all I had to was back off and stay silent and let her get it done.

 I went to feed the calves yesterday morning and the gate was laying at an angle, and the calves were gone. After driving around for an hour with no luck finding them, I gave up. Around 4 in the afternoon, I decided to take a little detour from picking up Marcus from one of the fields, and told him to put his scope on a group of cows that I had seen earlier in the day when I was without binoculars. Sure enough, it was our calves. So, Dad, Carl, Lucas, Marcus, Brittany, Kate and I went to get them. Kate ended up not being to help but got some exercise anyway. 
When we got them in the driveway, they tried bolting into the east field. Dad and Carl took after them in the farm pickup, and Kate went to head them off too. I should have stopped her, but it happened so fast that all I could do was watch in dismay. She came up on the left outside of the calves and farm pickup, cutting so close in front of the pickup that neither Dad nor Carl even knew she'd done it when we asked them about it later. She must have missed being run over by mere inches. When scary things happen, some people say that their heart stopped beating. With me, I think that it was so scary and so fast that my heart couldn't do anything. But all's well that ends well, and I need to use my brain better next time.

Below is Minxy.

Kate, though I took this picture more for the beautiful roses.

My garden is coming up, and so are the weeds. 

This is part of one of my 7 rows of potatoes.

Radishes are doing great. 


When Kate was teeny, she liked catching the weeds that I threw out of the garden. 

She still likes it. :) 


Birthday, Calves and Appraisal

My birthday came around again, as it seems to every year.  I received a wetsuit from Mom & Dad and use it to swim in the pond. I don't like all the chlorine in the pool, and neither does my sensitive skin. 
I made my birthday supper of teriyaki chicken and artisan bread, and also the below cakes. S'mores pie, toffee crunch, and, for me, a walnut crust pumpkin pie. It was so good that I ate two pies between  Friday and Tuesday evening, and declared to myself that I can only make it every first Saturday of the month to keep myself from overdosing. 10 more days until I have more! 

I noticed that I was wearing the same shirt that I had been exactly one year ago on my birthday, when I was given Kate, so I felt compelled to attempt to replicate the picture with Kate now.

She's slightly bigger now, but we both appear to be happier than in the previous picture, so I guess that's good. 

I talked Mom into getting a couple of calves to raise on the excess goat's milk that we will soon have.  Both are heifers. 

The Holstein is Betsy. 

And the Jersey is Tallulah. 

Fastword to this past Monday.
We participated in our second Linear Appraisal this year. For us, it's a way to prove to our customers that we have high quality stock without showing our goats in fairs and such. 
Another breeder and I met at our friend's house in Hood River, because you have to have at least 16 goats at a stop, and none of us alone had that many. The same as last year, I was the only one with big goats. The others had Nigerians.

Our does waiting their turn.

Bluebelle was up first because she needed milked first. She was a good girl.


Marion. She kept spooking, bolting and trying to get back into the pickup, but we got it done. Afterwards, she leapt into the pickup and I figured she would just stay in while we loaded the rest of them, but no, she jumped out and tried taking off. When I caught her, she gladly leapt in again, and then turned around and tried jumping out. I had to grab her collar and try holding her in, while attempting to help Mom with the other does. I finally got upset with her a smacked her a good one, which sent her in the back on the canopy. After that, a pretend swat every time she started coming forward was enough to make her back up again. You're lucky you look so nice and give so much milk, Marion! 


So, here are their scores. I really like how the appraiser took the time to explain everything she was seeing very, very well, and answer my questions, but, though I agreed with what/where she said the faults lay, I did not agree with the final scores. I feel like she hit us much too hard on the faults, and didn't take their good traits enough into account. All the does have bad shoulders, to which I agree to some extent, but I don't think that that should have made the overall score go down so far. 

Anyway, here is Bunny. She got the highest at VV+V86. I do agree with her score. 

Here is our new doe, Clare, (I have an interesting story to tell you about her!) who got the lowest at ++V+ 81

Bluebelle got +V++84

Skitz got ++AV83

Marion got ++++82

Marion and Skitz are the ones that stumped me. How a doe with a body like Skitz's can score higher than Marion is beyond me. Even though Skitz has better shoulders, how does that outweigh the difference, especially in udders? I don't normally post udder pictures on my blog because I don't think you folks will appreciate them, but I'm going to now. Marion is on the left, Skitz is on the right. Look at Marion's nicely shaped, symmetrical udder with good teat, vs Skitz's udder that is vastly uneven with huge, nasty teat that Mom says she can barely fit her hand around to milk. But whatever, I guess. Marion will get a better score next year, and in the meantime, I'll take what I got and keep breeding better goats. P.S. while we're talking about udders, Clare has the best udder in the herd(except that it's slightly small) and got no credit for it whatsoever.