The last month has been pretty busy around the farm. All of the remaining does with kids were weaned, which means the beginning of the milking season. To make things easier I did order a basic milker.
It takes a long time to milk seven goats, but thankfully the vacuum pump milker helps to save my hands. It also allows me to do other things such as feed while I am milking.
Right now the majority of the milk is either being frozen for future use, or fed to the pigs to help them gain weight. It’s a lot of milk to handle every week, but it’s very important for me to keep the does in milk for linear appraisal and for the fall shows.
Linear appraisal will be held at the end of August to early September, and will allow me to see where my herd is, which will allow me to make plans for where I want to go.
The American Dairy Goat Association has appraisers that travel the country and give goats a score based on how good they are. This number helps breeders to know where they are succeeding, and in what areas they need to improve.
This year will be my first year to participate, and I’m very excited to see what things I am doing well, and where I can do better. I am always striving to better my herd, and this is a great way to do it.
I did get to attend a show this month, which was held in Nebraska. Each year, many different breeds of livestock hold a National Show. From cattle to goats, these events showcase the best of the best. The American Boer Goat Association National Show was no exception.
I had the opportunity to attend this show in early June. I wasn’t showing any of my own livestock, but I wanted to see what the best of the best look like.
I was not disappointed. The goats that were exhibited were some of the most beautiful, bold and majestic Boer that I have ever seen. I have seen a lot of great goats in my life, but these were amazing.
Even though I wasn’t in the ring, I was still in heaven throughout the show. I got to watch more than 1,200 goats compete, meet breeders from across the country, and watch even the youngest kids strut their stuff. It was a great trip.
I did have one baby born this month, a crossbred Boer goat. He will be raised for early January and February shows as a market wether.
In about a month, breeding season will start for the Boer goats. I have been looking at pedigrees and trying to figure out which buck I want to breed to which doe. This is always an exciting time, and to make it even more exciting, I purchased a buck out of Windy Acres Boer Goats in Texas.
The moment I saw this buck, I knew I had to have him. I believed he would help me not only in my fullblood program, but also in my wether program. I breed for several different markets, so having a buck that can perform well in both is very important to me.
I believe that this buck, combined with the other two bucks that I have, will make a great set of babies for next year. It’s hard to believe that I’m already in the planning stages for 2015, when we are just barely over half way done with 2014. That is the way that is works, however.
As for the pigs, I am expecting a crossbred litter of Hampshire/Berkshire cross piglets in a little more than a week. These piglets should make great National Western Stock Show prospects, and any that aren’t sold for that will make great meat pigs. It’s been a little while since I raised one for my family, and we are starting to run low. There is nothing better to me than homegrown pork.
This last month we did have a little bit of unexpected addition, but something that I am very excited for. I had the opportunity to get into the alpaca business, and the opportunity was too great to pass up. In the next few months, I will be adding about 15 alpacas to the farm.
I have spent the last several weeks doing a lot of research, and am very excited for this new opportunity. Alpacas are very unique, and will challenge me to learn more. It should be a very exciting time!
The next month will be full of county fairs, and then prepping for State Fair and for linear appraisal. The baby pigs will also keep me busy, as well breeding season. ❖