Each November, I take time to sit down and remind myself what I am thankful for. This year, I am especially grateful to have a new home where I can have my livestock. I am very thankful for the time that I get to spend with them, and the 4-H and FFA students that I get to work with. I am also thankful for my family and friends, who help me care for my animals when I am out of town. I wouldn’t be able to do all of the things that I do without their assistance.
Early winter is one of the slowest times of the year on the farm, except for the breeding of the last few dairy goats. Spring is going to be very busy as I will have goats kidding from February through the end of April, and am expecting around 36 to 40 kids this spring.
It appears that all 10 Boer goats are settled, but we will be confirming that through a BioTracking BioPRYN test, which is down through a blood draw. I am excited for the kid crop this year because I will have a great set of show wethers to sell for 4-H and FFA projects, as well as some percentage does, and seedstock does and bucks. It has taken me five years to grow to where I am today, and I finally feel like this year I will have a great offering for my customers.
It will also allow me to choose the best does out of this year’s crop to add to my own herd. With seven retained females from this year that will kid for the first time in 2015, I am just two years away from reaching my goal of 20 breeding Boer does.
On the dairy goat side I am also continuing to expand. It appears that my LaMancha, Tornado, has settled. I am breeding the Alpine and Nubian does right now, and will be breeding the Nigerian Dwarf goats in the next few weeks.
This last month I did have the opportunity to purchase a purebred Nubian buck, since the does I thought would kid this fall failed to do so. I decided instead of leasing a buck, it made more sense to buy one that I can also show. His first day on the farm he showed interest in one of the females, and now has two of the three that I am breeding to him bred. We will know in about three weeks if they settled or not.
I will be showing six milkers this year, as well as two dry yearlings and whichever does I decide to keep out of the kid crop this spring. I am hoping to add a couple of bucks this spring so that I will no longer need to lease bucks to breed my does. This gives me more flexibility on when I want to breed, as well as more control in guaranteeing they are bred.
I will also be venturing into the world of artificial insemination with goats next fall. I would like to breed several of my dairy goats this way, and my top Boer goats. This will greatly allow me to expand the genetic pool that I can access when choosing what bucks I want to breed to. It will be an exciting time for my herd.
On the hog side of the operation, I know for sure that both purebred Hampshires I bred are settled. The sows have not yet reached 30 days post-breeding, so I won’t know for another week or so whether they settled or not. I bred six, and hope that they all took. If they did not and they aren’t special to my program, they will be sold.
I do hope to add a bred purebred Berkshire to the program this year, so I will begin watching online sales in early December to find that gilt that I would like to add. Most of the bred gilts that I have purchased have come out of the Midwest, and it’s always fun to add new genetics and breeds to the sow herd.
I hope that each and every person can take a few minutes out of their day to realize what they are thankful for, and to take the time to thank those who have helped them succeed. I know with Champion Livestock that even though I have put in a lot of work to grow my business, it would not be where it is today with those who help me, and my customers. Thank you for your support! ❖