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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the machine is mankind's madness and disfigurement

The worker people arrived this morning and constructed our hay shelter in next to no time. It looks like it will do a suitable job of keeping our goats' precious groceries out of the weather. You can sort of see Traci sulking in the corner of the pen--for a goat she is very calm and even-tempered, but I still think she would like some company. Any other Nubian (Finola, par exemple) would be raising hell out there to let us know just how lonely she was, you terrible, neglectful, abusive people, but Traci is pretty chill. She just sits there quietly judging us.

I'm having the worst time making a decision about whether or not to milk next spring. I love the actual milking, but the whole setup of mixing the teat dip, gathering all the buckets and cheesecloth, getting the grain and catching the goat is a real drag. And I admit that I've gotten lazy now that I've found a source for raw milk. Ah, me. What to do? I'm trying to locate a reputable breeder anywhere near here who would sell us a bred doe, since stud service can't be found for love nor money. A few of our neighbors who have goats have contemplated getting a buck to service all of our dairy does and splitting the cost, but I'm not sure if even then we would be able to justify the expense and hassle of year-round lodging for a big, hungry, pointy, aggressive, violent animal who regularly pees on himself. My uncle has an AI tank that he'd be willing to let us keep straws of semen in, but AI is so much trickier, and really, do I want to play a part in turning the dairy goat into another Broad-Breasted White? So that puts us back on the fence, sitting uncomfortably on the pickets.
In other news, apparently it's a frigging rooster farm up in here. FIVE we have. They haven't started attacking yet, but give them time. They may not get to the point of a testosterone rodeo, though, because we're going to process them one of these Saturdays when our neighbor Peggy can show us the ropes--last time we just skinned it and cut the meat off the bones, since it was a three-year-old hen, and nobody wants a roasted laying hen. This time, since these are spry young fellers, we're going to do the job properly, plucking and all. There will be copious documentation and a photo tutorial. That way you can refer to it when the Rapture comes and you need to know how to do home butchery. I'm all about providing services to the public.
You like to make noise at six in the morning so much? Well, take heed, brother: the bell tolls for thee.

Speaking of the Broad-Breasted White, a guy in our ward knows how I can get my greedy paws on a wild turkey--they're like rats around here, and he knows a fellow who kills and cleans them for Thanksgiving. Score! I bet it'll taste marvelous with my Blue Hubbard.

6 comments:

THE WILKER CLAN said...

nice hay barn...send pics of ours later...hint wade is building it!! 2x4's and great big nails!!!

Naimhe said...

I haven't found keeping a buck to a whole lot different than keeping does - other than the smell during rutting season that is. I believe that like other animals, an animal treated and trained well is not likely to become aggressive and that's been my experience with my buck. I've discussed goat AI with one of my vets who looked at me like I was insane so I picked up a buckling, coddled him a bit and now he takes care of the ladies with minimum hassle for me.

Having said all of that, we wanted to let you know that we've added you to our reader at allthingsgoat.com and look forward to hearing more about your adventures.

Layne said...

Aaahh! I'm so excited that there's another goat person I can ask questions--doesn't the buck eat a ton of food? And do you have another buck, so you can avoid breeding father to daughters? Maybe we could do Boer crosses one year and Nubians the next--but then he's only got a job every other year, and we have to feed him all the time. See the quandary?

All8 said...

Lucky you! 5 Sunday dinners strutting around, waking you up at all hours because everybody knows that Roosters don't give a crap about what the sun is doing. Yum, Yum!

AI isn't hard, but you have to pay all kinds of attention to your females so that you can catch them at the right time.

We used AI with Bessy (my Dexter cow), but I was unsuccessful because, 1-I lacked education, 2-she needed company. Now that DH has some book learnin', shucks it shouldn't take more than 2 shakes of a lambs tail. ;)

Good Luck!

Layne said...

See, I don't have the time to pay that kind of attention to Traci's estrus cycle. Too many human kids with their demands and errands.

Naimhe said...

Bucks don't eat any more than does do, actually a nursing doe will eat more. I only have one buck at the moment but he hasn't produced any daughters yet so it's not a problem. As my herd increases, I'll either get another buck or find someone to trade with during rutting season. Or you can sell off his daughters and buy unrelated does to keep your gene pool hardy. Your biggest problem will be keeping him away from the does during the rut (if you don't want Feb/Mar kids like me). And if you're looking to kid during a particular period of time, you'll have to separate him from the does with a wether (or two) for company. You also want him separated during rut if you're milking or your milk could smell a bit bucky, depending upon how strong his odor is. As for AI, the difference between AI and cattle as opposed to goats is size. You can track estrus or induce it medicinally (like with cattle) but there's not really enough room in there to ensure fertilization with any accuracy. That's why you don't hear about AI with goats.