Is she or not?
Today we went to get ultrasounds of Diva and Tansy. Diva was bred to Cajun and I wanted to confirm if she was pregnant or not. Tansy was just getting super huge and I needed to know if perhaps she had been bred by one of the bucklings before they left, or if she was just fat. We hauled up from Kent to Lake Stevens, got the ultrasounds, then hauled to visit kin who think goaties are cuties, then hauled on home. It was a long haul, but Tansy and Diva just chilled in their kennel like the pros that they are. Enough chattering? You want to know the results? (As if the pic didn't give a huge hint...) Diva is PREGNANT! She is expecting 2+ kids around November 7th! Tansy... is just really fat
|First Linear Appraisal|
I participated in my first LA today to get two of my goats judged. Alani is almost completely dry and has just been nursing Roka rather than being milked. She could have been excused, but I asked for her to be scored anyways so that I could see how she lined up with the understanding that her mammary wouldn't be very accurate. Alani scored a "+VVF 78". Cajun was also scored today and he got "AVV 81", but he was judged to be 1/4" too tall and was marked over height. Reading through this it also looks like he was marked for having thurls too low and spread toes. I'm still reading through things and trying to figure out what everything means. He also told the whole group that some of the items on our score sheets were genetic and just there in the goat's make up and that other things could be impacted by maintenance... so I'm trying to figure out which is which in case there are things I can improve with my management practices to help my goats out. All in all this was a fantastic learning experience and I am so grateful to have it. I'm pretty sure Alani would score high 80s if she were being milked instead of dry after nursing a single with no milking. She always gets compliments, has a reserve championship already, and is out of high scoring stock. However, I screwed her up this year by not milking her and allowing her to just nurse. That's on me, but I still needed to know where her structural strengths and weaknesses lay so I could make sure Cajun was a decent match for her for her next set of kids. Thanks to this LA I found out that the appraiser's main complaint about her were her front legs not having enough bone and looking to be a bit bowed. Cajun has good front legs. Hopefully he can help her next kids out in that department.
Scrub A Dub Buck!
Cajun got a bath today so that he would be clean(er) for LA this weekend. He is a stinky boy! For non-goat folks, LA means Linear Appraisal and is where a judge comes and evaluates your goat against the "perfection" standard and gives your goat a score for how close they are and in what areas; which is a huge deal when considering breeding plans etc.
My grandma's lamb escaped his enclosure and went wandering around the property (lucky he had already been vet cleared). He is lonely and so was out there visiting the girls. They were curious about him. He did try to visit Cajun, but Cajun ran and hid from him. The little lamb (who my grandma calls Cotton and who I call Lambchop) is extremely wild. He is so wild that he will repeatedly smash himself into things (including solid walls) to try and get away from people. This made him difficult to catch, but eventually I was able to corner him and then get him. The poor thing just lays down 'dead' when I get hold of him. Sheep are so stupid.
|Vet Work and Farriery|
Last week we got blood testing done and so this week the results are back (negative for everything nasty). That's no surprise for the goats since they are all nice quality animals from tested herds who have limited exposure to other animals, however it was really good news for my grandmother's lamb. She had gotten a cheap ram lamb off of CraigsList from a really sketchy situation and the lamb looked rather sickly so I was concerned he might be infected with something. Luckily he is not and now he has been vaccinated, wormed, castrated and had his feet trimmed. With his test results back and negative, he will now be allowed to mingle with the other animals on the property as previously he had been in complete quarantine. Also, in the news, all the goaties got their feet trimmed. This wouldn't be that big of an event except that we had to use a new trimmer this time as our old trimmer is moving and no longer available. This gal was fine, though, so unless I get a stanchion soon, we'll schedule her again. I can actually trim the goat's feet, but I can't trim them and hold them at the same time. If I got a stanchion then it would hold the goats secure for me while I worked on their feet. It's on the To Buy list, but we haven't gotten there yet.
Kennewick Goat Show - Does
Unfortunately none of the girls did well in their classes at this show. Alani showed in showmanship, which of course she isn't judged for but rather her handler is judged. Then the next day Roka, Diva and Tansy all went through their classes. Roka is pretty solidly in the middle of the pack as far as all of her classes and since she still isn't setting up well she might even be able to have scored higher. Diva was to the rear of all her classes and so was Tansy. Tansy was judged harshly as being overweight for one judge and for being 'too mature' for another judge... which actually made her place below Diva. All of the girls seemed content in their classes and not majorly stressed out like last week, so that at least was good news.
Wine Country Classic - Bucks
Cajun is coming along so nicely and he's such a sweet boy. This weekend at the goat show he was just so easy and gentle. A lot of the bucks were having issues (even penned up), but not Cajun. He just nicely sat in his pen and ate his food. He was quite interested in the girls next to him. He would stare at them and make little murmurs to them, but that was it. A lot of bucks were being obnoxious to their female neighbors and screaming, spitting, and peeing at them - but not Cajun. However, there were some kids (like only a few weeks old) penned on the other side of Cajun and while he thought the girls were sweet, he seemed to be afraid of the buckling. The buckling would do little postures at him and Cajun would get as far away as he could in his pen. Cajun is such a wuss that I can't help but feel sorry for him. I also felt sorry for him because he was cold and I ended up putting a coat on him. I thought he might destroy or spoil the coat, but he was a good boy and didn't. When it came time to show him, Cajun walked every so nicely on his lead and did pretty well. He was still pretty scared in the ring, but it wasn't as bad as last week. The first judge put him as third in his class. The second judge placed him First in his class, First among the senior bucks and then Reserve Grand Champion of all the bucks... unfortunately she had previously excluded 2 of the other bucks for being overheight, so there were only 9 bucks left and that wasn't enough to sanction. The third judge said that Cajun was overheight and dismissed him from the class... I don't think he was overheight, but you can't argue with the judges. In any case, I am ever so proud of Cajun! He is coming along nicely and he got a very pretty ribbon!
Yesterday was the Monroe goat show. It was great! Or at least it was great for the boys ;) The big winners of the night were Hero and Darcy. They won 1st & 2nd in all their classes, then went on to win Junior Grand Champion (Hero) and Junior Reserve Grand Champion (Darcy) three times each. Unfortunately they couldn't beat the adult winners and since the bucks were sanctioned together, they don't get any permanent marks on their record. Hero and Darcy will hopefully be showing under their new owner Natalie Connaughton at the Kennewick show if all the paperwork goes through in time. Cajun won 1st in all three of his classes, but they were really small classes. All three judges triple checked Cajun under the height stick because he is really close to going over, but he squeaked under. Everyone had good things to say about Cajun, but he was so scared that he kept tucking his rump under himself and trying to disappear. I think he'll do better once he is more used to being handled. Roka placed towards the lower middle of all her classes (which were huge) and she was a lot better behaved. She stands pretty decent now, but she looks like a puppy trying to drag his person on a leash while she is moving forward. Diva and Tansy both had a really bad day at the show. We changed up their routine a bit and Diva just mentally fell apart completely. Tansy handled it differently and was basically ticked off at the world. I also really need to find a way to get Tansy's weight down (she is on grass only! she gets no more than any of my others!) as all three judges said that she was too fat and that it affected her placement. All in all it was a very fun time for me, anyways. I had a lot of help and I can't thank Brandee and Natalie enough. Sabrina and Ryan also helped tear down and load everything up and at the end of a long day that is a huge thing.
This was Roka's first time on a leash, second time off the property (first time was to the vet to be disbudded) and first time she had seen very many people as previously she had only seen me, Brandee, and the vet. She was, of course, more than bit stressed. Nevertheless she did pretty good and Alani did a good job of providing her with emotional support. If goats could actually talk to each other using language as we know it, I would have thought that Alani was explaining what being a show goat was all about to Roka. Alani herself, was perfectly behaved both in the show ring and out, however due to not being fully in milk she placed near, though not at, the bottom of her classes. Roka was a bit of a wild child in the ring and I think that contributed to her poor placement as I think she is actually pretty darn good quality... of course, that might be barn-blindness since she is my first Banshee baby. Tansy did fairly well in her classes and placed in the top half. In one class she was 9th out of 28, which I think is pretty good. The judges said that she would have placed better if she weren't over conditioned (ie fat). Diva had a blast at the show! She loves the people, the activity, and the attention... all that is good because she consistently placed poorly in her classes, although never last. Last, but not least, I won a new set of clippers with about a dozen brand new blades and a whole tattoo set in the raffle.
Food from the Sky!
The girls got a new feeder today! I have been looking for one of these for them for awhile, then recently a friend had one up for sale and I snagged it. They have mixed opinions. The bigger girls don't have a problem and Diva likes to get in the tray. Roka has a bit of difficulty reaching things, but she'll figure it out. I wouldn't be surprised to see them all sleeping in it tonight.
Alani and Tansy got shaved today by Brandee for the shows. They were not pleased, however I think they look great! Diva and Roka got a reprieve due to timing, but that just means they will get shaved the morning of the show.
|The boys are out of town...|
Alani's two bucklings, Darcy and Hero, have gone to live with Sabrina. They were starting to take too much of an interest in my does and, due to unforeseeable events, I was unable to isolate them into the backyard as I had anticipated. Sabrina will be keeping them for the next month or so and her daughter, Natalie, will be teaching them to walk on a leash for the shows. After their last show in June the boys will likely be wethered and rehomed as pets. Sabrina will get first dibs and that might just happen :)
I got a new (to me) truck. It's been a long time coming and I'm pretty happy with my decision. It's a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Laredo. It has the 5.7 Hemi Magnum and all the options. One of my favorite features about this truck is that the back seat folds up completely flat and a hard tray thingy lays down so that you have a extra cargo area. Mostly it will be used for picking up feed and supplies, but also for hauling my goats to shows. I anticipate getting a small cargo trailer for it to pull for extra goat show supplies. It's also possible that I might use it to pull a small horse trailer for local hauls as well.
Said goodbye to my dog Mighty Mouse today. He was a good dog. Thought I could write something up, but I can't.
Long Live The King!
Cajun has arrived! Or, well, he has arrived to where he is going to be living. He won't be staying with the herd, but rather will be boarding with my friend Brandee. Cajun is going to be the 2019 herdsire for the Banshee herd, but in the mean time he will be shown in two shows this summer and is scheduled to be LA scored in July. He isn't very friendly at this point and doesn't know anything. It is going to be interesting teaching him to walk on a leash and preen for the shows, but I'll get it done. Oh, and bathing and clipping him is going to be a blast too! LOL! Actually I tease, but I am excited to be showing a buck this year.
Lions and Tigers and BUCKS! Oh My!
Exciting news on the goat front. I'm getting a buck! Agreements have been made and deals decided, all that is left is the logistics. I probably won't be using him for breeding until Dec/Jan, but it was important to get my buck early because I want to take him to the Monroe and Kennewick shows as well as get him graded on the linear appraisal rounds this year. The buck I will be getting is: Sans Gene De Cajun Swing. He is impeccably well bred and I think he will do well at the shows. His mother is a Grand Champion that scores an almost perfect score of EEEV90 and was sired by a buck who scored VEE90 (almost unheard of for a buck), her grandmother is also a Grand Champion that scored the nearly perfect EEEE91. His sire is a nice Sans Gene buck that scored VEE88 and was out of a Grand Champion EEEE91 doe. This boy has got the numbers and I can't wait to see what he produces when crossed to my girls, especially Alani!
No one likes going to the Doctor
Today was the kids' worse day of their life so far. The morning started off well enough with being allowed out of the pen and into the paddock to play with the big girls. Then Sabrina and Natalie came over, which the kids weren't too sure of since they were strangers. Then I rounded up all three kids, stuck them in a dog crate and took them on an hour car ride. Sabrina and Natalie stayed with Alani to make sure she didn't panic and hurt herself, but it sounds like after a few minutes of calling that she gave it up. In the mean time the kids were on their way down to Enumclaw and they made not a single little peep during the entire car ride, which to me says that they were terrified. Once at the vet's a big guy that they didn't know reached in and grabbed them out one by one and stuck them with a needle. Soon they were falling asleep, which was a good thing because what came next was even worse. Once they were out good the vet gave them lidocaine shots in the head and then burned their horn buds, cut the top off, and burned the open wound. It looks and smells as horrific as it sounds. The only saving grace is that the kids are well and truly out of it and don't feel a thing. They slept the entire way home and for a little while even after that. Hero was the first to awaken, perhaps because he is the biggest and wore through the sedative faster. In any case as soon as they woke up I put them all back in with their mother. Alani took them all back easily enough and once they had gotten a drink off her they seemed back to their normal selves. Goats are not allowed to have horns for shows or even for living in my city.
Playing with the Big Girls
Today was the first day that my entire herd was let out to play together. The yearlings, Diva and Tansy, were intrigued by the babies, but they played with them pretty gently. The babies had a blast running all over the place and jumping on everything that would hold still half a second. They are wild and crazy! They have absolutely no fear of anything outside and just want to run around like mad. I don't blame them. Alani seemed absolutely thrilled with being outside. She just seemed to wander around without purpose, but she seemed happy enough. She doesn't like being cooped up with the kids all the time and she has spent basically the last three weeks in a 6 x 6 foot pen. Since they are getting along well I am going to start letting them spend as much time outside as possible. They will still need to be locked up while I am at work until the weather gets a bit better... or they get more common sense... However, I will be letting them out during the days when I am home.
Video of the herd introductions
A Box is a Wonderful Toy
Yesterday I noticed that Darcy had figured out how to jump up into the feed basket. Since his siblings haven't figured it out yet, it is his own personal club house (see last pic). That got me thinking about what else I can do to give the kids something to play with. I didn't have many ideas since their pen is only 6 foot by 6 foot and I didn't want to take up much of their space. However, I thought, maybe a small box. They could stand on it, jump on/off it, and maybe play King of the Mountain or something. Well, that went over as a stellar hit with only one problem. It seems that Hero is convinced that the box belongs to him and him only. He claimed it immediately and does his absolute best to keep his siblings away from it. He has succeeded with Darcy, but shy little Roka was able to climb up on it while he was busy eating. The videos of all this are hysterical and can be found on my FaceBook page. Eventually even Alani got in on the action. I'm not quite sure if she was pulling a "cool mom" moment and showing the kids she could play just like them, or if she was trying to climb the box to escape her kids... either one is possible.
Video of the babies playing on their box
Registrations and Banshee Beginnings
Today I sent in the registration paperwork for Alani's kids. This is the first time I am registering animals that I have bred since I was a kid. I have registered tons of animals since then (mostly horses), but none were animals that I had bred. I am a bit nervous. I went over and over my paperwork and I think I have everything... but there is nothing to do now but to wait and see what happens. It could be weeks before I know. The names that I put forward for the kids are: Banshee Alani Roka, Banshee Mister Darcy and Banshee Little Hero. Banshee is my herd name, of course. I am registering the boys, even though they will probably end up as wethers and it is not normal to bother registering wethers. There are two reasons for this... I plan to show the boys at two shows in order to find out if they are quality enough to consider keeping as a buck, and of course they have to be registered in order to be shown. The other reason is that even if they are wethered, being registered means that they can be used in 4-H as dairy wethers for the kids to use for show and showmanship. Yeah, they will probably just end up as pets, but I would like to keep as many roads open for them as possible. I specifically picked the Nigerian Dwarf as the goat breed I wanted to be involved with because I disliked the practice of butchering unwanted boys and it seems that Nigerian Dwarf boys can almost always find homes as pets.