Cool, crisp mornings are starting to become the usual, only meaning one thing: fall is here. For me that means the last goat shows of the 2013 year, and the beginning of breeding season.
Last week, I attended the Colorado Boer Classic in Keenesburg, Colo., for my last Boer show before National Western Stock Show. Being a busy week, I didn’t have as much time to prep the does as I would have liked, and ended up doing most of my washing, clipping and blowing at the show.
This was my first time attending this show, and I was surprised at the number of exhibitors from other states. The show features breeders from Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Oregon, and those were just the ones I knew about.
Percentages, purebreds and bucks were all shown, and there were definitely some beautiful animals that attended the show.
I took four does: Esme, Carrie, Tara and Gem. Esme was the only percentage that I showed, and the other three were fullbloods. The show was very competitive, and my best placing was a fourth, which I was OK with.
Since I’m still pretty new at raising Boer goats, I know that I still have a ways to go with my breeding program, and I also realize that I primarily raise wethers, and the breeding does that I use for that side of the enterprise are different than the seedstock does I see at ABGA shows.
The best part of the weekend for me was getting to spend time with my goat friends, and meet new producers from across the country. It’s always interesting to see what other breeders are doing, what works for them and what doesn’t, and to take those ideas home to incorporate into my own herd. It’s a continual learning process, which is one of my favorite parts of having livestock.
One of my favorite parts of August was attending the market goat show at the Colorado State Fair, as one of my friends and a breeder whom I have purchased stock from won the market goat show. What makes her win more incredible is that she won it with a wether that she bred and raised, and you don’t see that happening very often at the state fair.
Back at home on the farm, we are starting the breeding season for the Boer does. I have a young buck that I bought who isn’t quite ready to breed the does, so I began the search for a buck to lease. After speaking with half a dozen breeders around the state, I settled on a wether buck I liked out of Lamar, and made the trek to pick up Abe, who will be the primary sire of my wethers for 2014.
It was a great experience to meet the family that owns Abe, and to see their operation and what they are doing with their wethers. They have had several grand champions in the counties surrounding them, so I felt privileged to be able to learn from them and lease such a great buck.
The buck is now turned in with the does, and I expect to have a great crop of kids come February. They are a little later this year than last year, but since I have refined my feeding program, I believe they will grow out just fine. It will also be nice to not have pigs farrowing and goats kidding at the same time. I can get through all the pigs, and then move to the Boer goats.
The dairy goats will have their last show of the season coming up as well, and I will be taking two milkers and three junior does to that show. It’s always bittersweet to end the year, because it means you begin the preparation for the next year and new babies, but you have to say goodbye to this year.
This will be the last dairy show until the Weld County Goat Extravaganza next April, so we will be taking an almost eight month break from showing the dairy goats.
We have picked out the boars that we want to use on the sows, and have given them their pre-breeding shots. They will be synced during the second half of September, and will be bred in early October for mid to late January litters. I’m breeding six sows this year, so I should have lots of babies for the 2014 market year. ❖