Robyn Scherer: From the Edge of the Ring 10-21-13
Fall is hands-down my favorite time of the year. The leaves are changing color, the temperature is getting colder, and it also means one other thing: breeding season.
Breeding season is one of my favorite times with the animals, because I get to look at the genetics, and make decisions on what I want my herd to look like in the future.
The Boer goats are the first ones that I breed. I have a buck that I bred all of my percentage does to, and my young buck finally decided that he wants to be a part of the program as well. So he will be breeding all of my purebred does.
Most of the Boer goat does are already bred, and will kid in February and early March. The few that are left will be bred in the next few weeks.
The other part of my goat operation is the dairy goat side. These does will be bred in the next few weeks through the end of November. This will put their kidding dates in March and April. It is my goal to have most of these bred by the end of November, so that they will all kid before the Weld County goat extravaganza at the end of April.
This fall I will be breeding several different breeds of dairy goats. I will be breeding a LaMancha, an Alpine, two recorded grades, two Nubians, and two Nigerian Dwarf goats.
I am leasing several bucks to breed these does, and have also purchased a few bucks to breed the rest. I am looking forward to having a variety of different babies this spring.
This will be the highest number of goats that I have ever kidded. I allow all of my dams to raise their own kids, unless they need help, and then I will bottle feed the kids that need it.
In my opinion, one of the biggest advantages to having a large kid crop is that I can be more selective in the does that I choose to retain in my herd. As I bring in better and better genetics, I will probably sell some of my older does, and keep the newer younger does, which will improve my herd.
On the hog side of the operation, we are in full breeding mode as well. I exclusively use artificial insemination on my hogs, so that I can use the best genetics in the country. This allows me to produce the best to show hogs for 4-H and FFA members that I can.
This year I decided to purchase all of my semen from Top Cut Genetics. I have looked at several different boar studs this year, and decided they had what I needed.
I have three registered Hampshire hogs, and I will be breeding them to registered Hamshire’s for purebred litters. One of the gilts will have a mixed litter, as I am also breeding her to a white Exotic for bluebutt hogs.
I also have a registered Yorkshire sow, and she will be bred back to a Yorkshire, and also to an exotic for bluebutts as well. I will have two mixed litters this way.
The last two sows are crossbred Exotics, and they will be bred back to Exotic boars. All the sows should be due at the end of January.
I do not have any shows to prepare for, until January, which is the National Western Stock Show. I will only be showing Boer goats at that show.
The last dairy goat show of the season was held at the end of September, at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, Colo.
I took two milkers, Cleopatra and Mattie, and three junior kids: Jasmine, Nala and Teagon. The goats did very well, with several first and second place finishes.
I also picked up one new addition at this show. She is a purebred Alpine doe, who is the first freshening 2-year-old. She is beautiful, and a great milk producer. I’m excited to see what she can bring to my dairy goat herd, as she is my first pure Alpine doe.
All in all it’s been a pretty good fall. I hope that you all have a very bountiful harvest and enjoy the best part of year. ❖