Friday, January 25, 2013

Stalking breeders.

This is one of the more fun parts of building a farm, choosing and adding new stock.  Our search is on for a couple of good dairy goat does and in just a few days of looking I have a line on a couple.  One's a 5 year old who should freshen very soon, the other will be a yearling who is dry and could be bred to our boy, Sonny.  The hard choice will be whether to jump on what I find now or to hold off until March when there will be a much broader selection.  It might be a split decision, one now and one later.

So what do you look for when you buy a goat?  I know what I look for: good feet, strong legs, level back, roman nose (nubian only), good mouth, long ears (again, nubian), wide in the rear with a nice udder, easy to milk teats, milk with good flavor and good quantity.  I'm only looking at breeders who test for CAE and in general I look for well bred, show herds.  I don't know that we'll ever show our own goats other than with 4H for our kids. There's a saying that it costs just as much to feed a well bred goat as it does a poorly bred one, so we'll make the initial investment in quality and hope it means healthier goats in the long run. Obviously, after our experience with Kissee, we know that even with the best quality, stuff happens.

Of course, I say I look for all these things and I do....but once I'm there at the breeder a lot flies out the window.  I fall in love easily. Knowing this, I do as much homework as I can ahead of time.  I look up pedigrees on ADGAgenetics, photos of sires and dams, appraisal data, DHIR results (milk testing)....anything I can find.

I cannot wait to have real, fresh milk again.  I'm ready to start making some cheese again.  I'll keep y'alls posted as to what we find.  I still want to get some rabbits too.  It's going to be a very busy spring.

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