Tuesday, December 13, 2016


I woke up thinking about sex. Not for me, but for the girls in the barn.

Chucky the Boer/Nubian cross buck has been here for a few weeks. The entire reason for his occupancy is to knock up my Alpine does so come spring there are kids to sell and udders to milk. Some people breed their does once and keep milking every day for years. I don’t. Me and the goats have the coldest months off and I think we both prefer it. I don’t want to be out in a snowstorm in -10 weather to milk a goat in an unheated barn in the dark. I also love kidding season and having those tykes around a few weeks before they are sold. So I stop milking in the fall, the dry girls spent the winter eating and enjoying their gentlemen caller, and if I have an intense chèvre craving I remind myself that goat milk and their soft cheeses freeze great.

So right not the girls aren’t milking and the buck is with them, but I haven’t actually seen him breeding Bonita and Ida. I assume he has, but I’d feel better witnessing the congress. It lets me write down an estimated kidding time five months down the road. It also means I can start deciding Chucky’s fate. Im not interested in putting him in the freezer - being a buck of several years - but he is so sweet he’d do great as the live-in-lover at another small farm. For me it is a lot cheaper and easier to rent, borrow, barter or buy a buck a few weeks a year then create separate facilities and feed indefinitely. As sweet as Chuck is, this isn’t a petting zoo. Animals are eaten, sold, traded, and moved when needed if they are herbivores that don’t wear saddles. This is definitely a show ran my carnivores (who occasionally eat potato soup).

When I started this farm I avoided dairy animals. It was a fear of commitment, not work. The idea of getting up every morning with a milking pail and making cheese, soap, and the like was wonderful - dream life material really - but the presence needed seemed impossible. Things change. I stopped traveling to PA for the holidays. I quit my day job at an office. When you grab your life by the horns with such decisions you have a lot more time to do things like milking goats.

Back to sex. I hope Chucky is performing for the ladies. I may have just brought him when their cycle wasn’t in sync with his desires and a few head butts to his belly made him cautious? Right now I am cautiously optimistic about May kids. The idea of going a summer with the twice-daily spring milkings and spreading soft cheese over toast sounds barbaric at this point. Gods willing, he's packing heat out there.


Blogger Unknown said...

Have your does been in heat since Chucky has been there? I have Nubians not Alpines so not sure if Alpines are seasonal breeders or not. My does will come into heat after a cold spell if the weather warms up right away. You could try the nail on a string trick to see if they are bred. Tie a big nail on a string & hold it over the Doe. If the string goes in a circle there are girl babies, in a straight line there are boys. If the string just hangs there they are not bred. I've never done this but know goat people who swear by it ;)

December 13, 2016 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

The best way to know is what you are saying - see the action! But I always keep my buck apart from the girls in the next pen. Then every morning, when the girls are let out, those who are ready to go will be crawling over the fence to get to the buck. This year my buck didn't seem to get the job done the first cycle - but 16ish days later the deal was done! I agree. Having a date on a calendar for kidding is really nice. And keeping them apart is an excellent way to keep track of everything. It's a shame it does work like this with sheep! Definitely 2 different species!

December 13, 2016 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger English sheep gal said...

Can you put a 'raddle crayon' in a harness on a buck the same way sheep farmers do for rams? Or wipe another colored substance like chalk directly onto his chest, so that if he was mounting the girls you'd see a transference of the color onto their rumps?

December 14, 2016 at 1:42 PM  

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