Friday, January 30, 2015

Winter Update Part 2

The short of it is, I've reduced my herd, or two herds, really, down so far that I'm very low on breeding possibilities.  I retained only two ND does and one ND buck, and two mini-Nubian does and one mini-Nubian buck.
When I decided to sell both of my Nubian does, I hadn't researched the process of creating a line of mini-Nubians to the fullest yet.  I'm still getting a handle on that process, and realizing that it would take a lot of time and a lot of good goats to develop my own line from scratch.  Yes, I can breed my does and buck for 50/50, second generation mini-Nubians.  Yes, they will be some really nice, mini sized goats, and they should be rather milky with nice udders and teats.  But they won't have any more breed character than my current mini-Nubians.  I need more Nubian in the line first.
I'm also not ready to leave the Nigerians behind.  I love the little darlings who give so much in terms of loving personality, rich and creamy milk, and even some meat for our table.  All on so little space and so little food!  I can't fault them for much, unless it is their short stature and smaller teat size.  It is hard to get a pail under them.
Right now I have a loose plan for moving ahead.  I would like to keep the Nigerians that I have until they grow old and pass away; at least the does.  I will be breeding the mini-Nubians I have now for milking, and selling the doelings they produce.  I expect them to be quality, and worth investing in. They just won't have the roman nose and floppy ears of the Nubian.  At most I suppose they'll have airplane ears and straight noses, like their mothers and father.  I hope in a while to get a 5th or 6th generation mini-Nubian buck who has great breed character, and breed him to my current does, and perhaps a daughter or two.  It will be years down the road when I can say I am producing doelings with the character I'm hoping for.
This has all been a huge learning experience, and I'm not sure that with the relatively small resources I have as far as land and $, that I've made a "wise" decision as far as breeding mini-Nubians.
However, I think I have made a wise decision about the goats I've kept for my homestead.  These first generation mini-Nubians of mine are feeling like a perfect fit here.  They're just what we need.  Great size, great personality, don't seem to eat any more than the ND's so far.  I'm really pretty sure their udder and teat size is going to be really nice for hand milking, and they are tall enough to get a bucket under with ease.  I'm really looking forward to freshening them, and I don't think I'm going to be disappointed.
All that said, I still don't know exactly where I'm headed in the future, but I like where I am right now.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Update, 2015

I'm finally posting an update, and it is long over due.  For that I apologize.  I really love it when I can go to a website, blog or Facebook business page and see up to date activity.
The main reason for my long absence is that in order to share what's been going with our little farm, and the decisions we've made in the past 6 months, I have to think about and share some hard things.  It has been hard to find the time of energy to do that, but I feel up to the task today. :)

In early August, my sister in law was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.  It had spread to much of her organs and lymph system.  Soon after that, for a variety of reasons, she and my brother's three children came to live with us for an unknown period of time.  We were suddenly very busy with the farm, milking, homeschooling our own four children, and loving three more sweet ones.  We suddenly had children aged 16, 14, 11, and 9, with an added 4 year old and set of nine month old twins.  All the changes and the added emotional challenges for everyone involved ...well, you can imagine.  After about three weeks, I dried off my does early.  At the end of October we had decreased our herd to 6 goats total.  We now have the four does below and two bucks.
The great news is that my SIL is doing WONDERFULLY!  She has been able to have the children at home with her since mid December, and she seems to be holding up fine and is very glad to have her family all together.  She had two chemo treatments, after which the docs didn't hold out much hope for her.  She decided to fore go the conventional treatment options and try lots of prayer, a product called Protocel, as well as some very careful diet choices and exercise  It seems to be working, as she continues to feel and look better and better all the time.  You can learn more about Protocel with an online search or in the book, Outsmart Your Cancer by Tanya Harter Pierce, should you be interested.
Because of the many unknowns in the future, we have decided to hold off breeding any of our goats this winter, and see how thing play out.  We may breed one or two does this spring if all seems stable, if any of them go into spring heats for us.
Also putting me at a bit of a stand-still are the breeding choices I've left myself with because of who I chose to keep and who I let go when cutting my herd back.  I'll try to post a bit about that in the near future.
Suffice it to say, I am missing two human babies and a sweet little girl who have gone back to their own wonderful parents, as well as missing the excitement of having a new crop of spring kids to look forward to, and all that delicious fresh goat milk.  How forlorn it occasionally feels!  I'm off to hug my own human children, and see if I can talk the younger ones into a snuggle and some read aloud time.  Heaven knows I'll have to wrestle the oldest two just to get that hug, let alone snuggling up for a story!

Starlight, Ginger, April and Moon