Thursday, March 25, 2010

Danish quads

Kidding season started with a bang

We are a little behind this year - as some herds are almost finished kidding our does are just getting started. Well, we are well on our way with Danish giving birth to quads early yesterday morning, a day before her due date.

The first two kids could not decide who was coming first and I was getting sick looking at two bubbles presenting at the same time but they finally got that sorted out and we got two healthy bucklings - with spots to boot. Hubby was getting meds for his allergies and missed these two, even though he stayed home from work to help. Nadja and Sebastien helped drying the kids off and took them home to warm up as it was still quite chilly outside, considering the kids came from 102 internal temp to 65 outside.

With the next bubble, I could see the hooves but they were facing down and I could see the hocks too, great, kid coming out backwards. He came out ok with a gentle pull - another buckling ! We ran out of spots at this point, as this one was brown with black trim and solid brown ears. Took the kid home and ran back to the barn to find placenta AND another kid coming - breech ! Yep, there it was - a butt with a little tail, no way to turn the around or get the feet first, so she came out as she was - with little help from me and a lot of help from the Lord and strengh from my doe - a tiny brown doeling.

I just remember crying at this point and not much else, I was tired, scared, worn out, emotional ... but we had 4 healthy live babies and all the "what ifs" of that labor have now faded away and I just let it all out and bawled like a baby. Gave thanks where they were due, to our gracious Father in heaven, who answered my prayers, directed my hands and showered us with these 4 little blessings.

My relationship with my doe also transformed during the process, as it has slowly been evolving during the last 5 months. She now has a permanent place in our herd, something hard to explain to folks who never had dairy goats or have not been around them - their social relationships that often show with open outpour of affection and other times with just a quiet understanding of the bond that's there - they definitely earn more of my respect every day.

Nubian gone to the FAR SIDE

My hubby swears this picture makes him think of the FAR SIDE cartoons every time he look at it. It cracks me up for sure. This is Danish 145 days bred, with 5 days to go, round as a blueberry with a happy preggo glow. Enjoy :)

Friday, January 29, 2010


Since we were going to raise Nubians we thought it best to aquire an LGD. LGD is a livestock guardian dog that stays with the herd (goats, sheep, etc) and works as their protector against predators and strays. I had my heart set on an Anatolian but we ended up getting a local pup from working Pyrenese/Akbash parents. LGD pups are raised with the herd, not with their human family. This little guy settled right in and the girls accepted him with no problems. We named him Bundash , name that came from my Slovak heritage. My great grandparents used to have Kuvatz dogs and each one was named Bundash.


Dakota is the gem in our herd. He was the greatest investment valued more than any other animal we own, but he is well worth it. Not quite 6 months old he was already working as a junior sire in his herd before he came to us. It is hard to find a quality buck with such flashy markings and we are very hopeful to get spots in his kids. His dam had two sets of triplets and all were moon spotted. He was bred to all of our does but one and we also "rented" him out to two local herds. For a little guy not yet a year he was pretty busy !

For a buck, he is very easy going, with sweet personality and always a gentleman. We love his little curl on top of his head but most of all , we love the spots !!


We found Adventure on Craigslist and met our good friends, the Towells, through this transaction. They just moved back from Germany (military) and got their first goats (mostly from the Hills Acres lines who were selling out at that time). Their doe freshened with triplets and the two bucklings were for sale. Adriane was more attractive in his coloring but Adventure had much better conformation and we chose him. I liked the fact that his dam was able to give birth to triplets as a first freshener and had enough milk for all of them as well as a lovely udder.

Here are a few shots of Adventure as a weanling and a shot of his dam Hill's Acres Adelle.

The boys

Nubians are seasonal breeders and their usual breeding season is fall, even though some does come in heat as soon as August and some will keep cycling well into early spring. Since we got our girls in spring, we had enough time to decide what to do about breeding. Goat lactation lasts about 10 months and goats need to have babies to have milk and you need a buck to have babies. So it's the same cycle every year, breed in fall for spring babies, milk the does from spring into late fall for 10 months with 2 months dry period.

Bucks are a whole different species than Nubian does. Once they come into rut, they perfume themselves for the ladies by urinating on their faces and legs, the urine dries up into a thick layer that has a very distinct odor to it. Some folks are bothered by the smell of a rutty buck but the ladies love this stuff. The bucks also exhibit other behavior that by human standards is considered disgusting. Herd sire is 50% of the herd so it pays to really chose carefully. While each doe will pass her genetics to her offsprings, the buck will pass his genes to the entire kid crop.

Some have come to stay :)

Can't even start to summarize all the critters we added in one year in just one post so I will spread it out some. Without a doubt, the Nubian goats have been the most important addition. We knew we wanted to get dairy goats and fell in love with the Nubians and their long ears, plus the breed does well with our heat and produce creamy milk high in butterfat. We also decided to go with registered stock. We were anxious to try our hand at milkign and having our own source of fresh goat's milk. We purchased a milker (Christie) and a dry yearling (Boston) from the Akins farm in April 2009. They were much more relaxed than the minis and easy to handle despite the fact they were 100lbs + does.

We found most folks have a preconceived idea that goat's milk is off tasting and are usually a little apprehensive about trying it out. While different breeds produce milk with different tastes and the milking and handling technique definitely effects the quality of the milk, Nubians have the most delicious milk we've ever tasted - rich and creamy with a taste I would compare to half and half rather than store bought cow's milk.

Christie was and a doll to learn milking on. - a seasoned pro on the milk stand, with a nice soft udder texture and firm teats and patience of Job. We found our wooden milk stand on Craigslist from a family in Stroud area - Den and Cheryl - who later became friends and homesteading buddies. I've really enjoyed being part of Cheryl's yahoo forum Oklahoma Homesteading and Den has been a blessing to us with his carpentry skills.

A month later we added another milker from Texas - Lonesome Doe Danish Pastry. She blended quite well with the other girls and produced close to a gallon of milk a day for us. By the beginning of summer we were swimming in milk, freezing what we could, making cheese and feeding the rest to the dogs and cats. Personality wise I much prefer Christie and her calm nature to Danish and her stubborness.

Nubians are said to be loud and while that is true to some extend we have not really found them any lounder than their counterparts. Our herd queen is quiet and mellow and they all seem to follow that suit eventually. Danish was a major loud mouth hollering at us 24/7 when she first arrived but she ,too, has mellowed out over time and is quite docile now.

Zia was our last addition of 2009 in the doe department and she was the only one we raised from a doeling. Honestly, I was not planning on raising any kids and deal with the milkers and mature does instead but she was too cute to pass and we got attached to her soon. She came from the Riverside Ranch in Tecumseh and is a beauty with black body and white frosted ears and muzzle. She was dam raised and not handled as much as bottle babies tend to be so she was on the wild side when we first brought her home. We made sure to spend enough time in the pasture with her and with lack of playmates (she was staying in a pen by herself sharing a fence line with the adult does) she warmed up to us fast. Christie is still the family beloved doe but Zia is a close second for all of us, I think.

To clarify pictures - Christie is the blond roan, Danish is red with black trim, Boston is a tri color roan and Zia the black one with frosted ears. Pictures are from when they first arrived on our property and I will post more later what they look like now.

Some critters have come and gone ... continued

Sasha, Henry and Molly, the pygmy bunch went to a wonderful family in Jones last April and are getting spoilt rotten. Sasha had a set of flashy triplets and Molly delivered a single buckling at their new home. Henry and the bucklings are now all wethers. We lost Socks to the coyotes before the herd was sold. Here are a few pictures of the goofy bunch :)