Monday, November 20, 2017

History of Egypt Creek Ranch Kikos

By Terry Hankins

I purchased my first goats (Nubians) in 1985 to clear blackberries bushes off a small farm in north Alabama but it wasn’t until a decade later that I took a real interest in these animals. Meat goats first caught my interest when I was an agribusiness columnist for the daily newspaper in Jackson, Miss. An article that I wrote in 1995 on a new meat goat co-op created an unusual amount of interest. I figured there might be something to this new meat goat industry.

One thing led to another and I left the newspaper business and became a magazine publisher/goat rancher, a job I’ve enjoyed since 1996. Like many folks I jumped on the Boer bandwagon early on. But it took me only one kidding season to realize I had to do something drastically different.

In the summer of 1996 at the American Boer Goat Association National Show in Tyler, Texas, I met Jacques Valley of Athens, Texas, who had a display set up promoting his Kiko goats.

Jacques and his wife, Therese, were among the first serious producers and promoters of this New Zealand import. Later I also met Steve and Sylvia Tomlinson of Caston Creek Ranch in Oklahoma; Frank and Mary Dyson of Sunset Place Kikos in Robinson, Texas; and Dr. An Peischel of Goats Unlimited, which was located in northern California at the time.

The more that I talked to these producers, the more interested I became in Kikos, especially after I lost 24 Boer percentage kids and 10 does to parasites in one spring. So I began seeking more information on this new wonder goat.

In July 1997, I visited Frank and Mary Dyson at their farm just outside of Waco, home of the famous bucks Money Maker and Generator. My cousin, Joe Luther, and I went together and bought our first 100% New Zealand Kiko buck from the Dysons, a 1-year-old son of Moneymaker, for $1,000. We turned our new buck, Sunboy 111 (nicknamed King Tut) in with a herd of black Spanish nannies. We didn't see much action during breeding season, but come the spring of 1998, we had little white kids running everywhere.

Joe and I didn't know what to expect. We went to the pasture with our towels and Nutri-Drench, items we had needed the year before when small, weak half-Boer kids started dropping out of two dozen Nubian mothers. This year was different. We couldn't catch the kids to give them the Nutri-Drench, so we finally decided they didn't really need it. We didn't find any weak, wet kids, so we just sat back and enjoyed watching the healthy Kiko kids play.

Those first kids grew up with a bare minimum of attention, medication, deworming or feed. We didn't lose a single kid that spring. They grazed all summer and we put out rolls of hay in the winter. There was no such thing as a sack of goat feed in Mississippi at that time, so we put out a few molasses tubs and range cubes made for cattle.

Although I was still raising Boer goats, it was becoming apparent that with my work and travel schedule, Kikos were going to fit better in my ranching situation. So I started taking steps to increase my Kiko herd and moving from an unregistered meat goat operation to a registered breeding stock enterprise. I went to the friends I had made in the Kiko business to purchase my foundation animals. From Jacques & Teri I added two 100% New Zealand Klondike daughters (JTV Queen and JTV Nina). From the Tomlinsons at Caston Creek I purchased three New Zealand does: a Money Maker daughter (Sunkist 113, a flushmate of King Tut), her doe kid out of JTV Hercules (CCR Anastasia), and a Goatex Generator daughter (CCR Sara 812).

For my purebred herd (94-99%), I purchased a purebred Money Maker son (CCR Xcelerator) from the Tomlinsons, three does from Dr. An and two from Jo Ann and Brinson Taylor of Valdosta, Ga.

These ten purebred and New Zealand Kiko does were so long-lived and prolific that every buck and doe on my farm for the next decade descended from them. One of the Klondike daughters, JTV Queen, had a set of twins on her 9th birthday. Xcelerator lived to be 11. Rusty is 13 and enjoying his retirement.

In 1999 we purchased AAS Goldmine II. We added Southwest Cisco in 2001.
The crossing of these genetics - Money Maker, Klondike, Goldmine and Southwest Cisco - gave us the foundation on which we are still building today. Money Maker gave us the meatiness, Klondike the frame, Goldmine the width and depth and Southwest Cisco the extreme hardiness and parasite tolerance.

Some of our best-known offspring came from these genetics, including:
* ECR Rusty (Southwest Cisco x JTV Nina)
* ECR M2 (Goldmine II x CCR Sara 812)
* ECR M4 (Goldmine II x JTV Queen)
* ECR Gloria (Goldmine II x Sunkist 113)
* ECR Black Gold (quadruplet brother of Gloria)
* ECR Samurai Jack (Southwest Cisco x Sunkist 113)

Within the last 10 years, we have sought to bring in more outside bucks to cross with our foundation does. In 2005 we invited Bill and Brenda Moore of BBM Kikos to bring their Money Maker son, Sunboy Stanton 149, better known as "Nick", to our embryo flush to cross with JTV Queen and ECR Gloria. These matings produced numerous "keepers", including Queen's ECR Hanky Panky.

The "Nick" x Gloria kids turned out to be some of the best Kikos we had ever produced. Kids from this mating were featured in our first production sale, held in Bowling Green, Ky., in August 2006. The nine highest-selling Kikos in the sale all were flushmates out of the Nick x Gloria mating. Kids and grandkids from this pairing are found on many prominent Kiko ranches and have performed well in several buck performance tests.

In 2007 we again went to Bill and Brenda Moore to borrow another buck, SKY S408 Sports Kat, an extremely meaty Kiko buck. In 2008, out of the doelings I chose as additions to my own herd, 75 percent of them were Sports Kat daughters.

In 2008 our breeding program took a totally unexpected turn. Chris Luton of Boulder Hill Farm in Stendal, Ind., announced he was dispersing his herd because of health reasons. Chris had bought out Jacques and Teri Valley when they retired and had spent eight years developing his own herd. Chris had a reputation for producing big, framy bucks that were popular throughout the Midwest. I acquired six bucks that represented different bloodlines he had been developing. In one purchase, Egypt Creek Ranch had acquired some of the best bucks in the country that also were outcrosses to most of my does.

In 2009 when Bill and Brenda Moore announced their retirement from the goat business, I moved our remaining partnership does from Georgia to Mississippi. I still maintain the BBM herd and prefix here at Egypt Creek.

As Egypt Creek Ranch begins its 20th year in the Kiko business, we hold true to the values we developed two decades ago: invest in good stock, raise Kikos that others are proud to own, keep overhead costs to a minimum and above all else let your goats be goats.





Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kiko doe raises kids despite broken leg

CVK Sally II cleans up and nurses her kids while
her broken leg (left rear) dangles uselessly.


On January 30 my grandson Rylan and I were working goats. We were running them through the “tub” and into the alleyway so we could FAMACHA and just give them a good looking over. One very pregnant nanny who has never been a problem before decided she would jump out of the catch pen this time. She didn’t quite make it and her left rear leg got caught in the top rail. When her weight hit the ground, that leg bone snapped with a sickening pop.

It was one of those scenes where you see it happening in slow motion but you are frozen and there is nothing you can do except watch … knowing what’s about to happen. I cussed the goat as she ran down the hill, favoring that left leg as her foot dangled and whirled like an airplane propeller. The bone was cleanly broken but the skin was intact. I debated whether to splint her or shoot her.

I was able to get her into a small corral. After watching her for awhile, I decided she was too heavy and too wild to try and splint. I didn’t want to carry her to the vet. I decided I would keep her penned up and hope for the best. Hopefully she would have her kids and I could bottle feed them or graft them onto another mother.

I had heard of broken legs healing themselves, but I didn’t know about a break this severe. I also know that splinting a leg was not always successful. I once had a buck die from infection after we splinted his leg. Another Kiko producer told me her goat’s leg actually rotted off from infection. In many situations, it’s just hard (or impossible) to catch a wild goat and keep the bandaging cleaned for the amount of time it takes for a broken leg to heal. I decided my best course of action was to leave it to nature. She would either heal or not.

A week later the leg was still dangling, swaying with every step she took. She didn’t seem in pain and she was eating good. When I checked on her the afternoon of February 5, I discovered she had kidded — triplets. One doe kid looked like it was born dead but there was another healthy doe and a buck kid. The mother had cleaned them up and they already were nursing … as she stood there on three legs.

Less than a month later, the leg has healed. There is a knot where the break occurred and her lower leg is a little crooked, but she can put her entire weight on the leg and as you can see in the accompanying video, she gets around pretty good. She is successfully raising her two remaining kids.

I’m still not ready to turn her out in the big pasture with the other goats. She has done so surprisingly well so far, I don’t want to risk her re-injuring it with all the hills, ditches, fallen trees and bullies in the pasture. I figure in a couple more weeks she’ll be as good as new. Just another example of a good goat that was healthy enough to heal herself and raise her kids.

This doe is a 4-year-old 100% New Zealand Kiko that Mary McDonald and Sandy Rittenhouse of Rittenhouse Kikos purchased last year at the Southeast Kiko Goat Association sale in Perry, Ga. (http://www.sekga.us) and brought here to Egypt Creek Ranch where I manage their herd. CVK Sally II was born at Chey-View Kikos in Kentucky. She is a TAY 007 granddaughter on the top and a JTV Goliath granddaughter on the bottom — some old genetics that have stood the test of time. In my opinion, she has endured the ultimate performance test. She’ll have a home here for as long as she wants it. Just don’t be jumpin’ any more fences!





Tuesday, February 23, 2016

ECR Hanky Panky's 'younger' sister makes an impact

9-year-old ECR Princess Nicki and day-old ECR Slash.

My oldest Kiko doe, ECR Princess Nicki, is also my last Nick (Sunboy Stanton 149) daughter still living. She turned 9 on February 7 and became a momma for the eighth year in a row on Feb. 22. This is the first year that she had a single instead of twins. Last year it was twin boys; the year before that twin girls. Nicki’s dam was JTV Queen, a JTV Klondike daughter that I bought from Jacque & Terri Valley’s JTV Kikos in Athens, Texas, in 1999.

Nicki’s is an interesting story. She was actually conceived — became a fertilized embryo — in the summer of 2005. When we did our embryo flush that year, we ran out of recip does, so we had to freeze her and put her in the tank for a year.  We implanted her into a recip doe in late summer 2006 and she was born here in our pasture in 2007. She has been here producing for us ever since.

Her flushmate sister that we did implant in 2005 was ECR Hanky Panky, who went on to become our best-known doe after ECR Gloria. Hanky Panky went to Bill and Brenda Moore of BBM Kikos when she was weaned — that was the stud fee they received for letting me use Nick. They flushed Hanky Panky three times to three different bucks that you’ve probably heard of: Sports Kat, ECR Rusty and TAY Onyx (frozen semen).

When Bill and Brenda retired, I brought ECR Hanky Panky back to Egypt Creek Ranch. We also brought her Onyx son, BBM Hanky Panky’s Y266 with us; he is owned by Rittenhouse Kikos and has produced performance-proven bucks for them and for ECR   (http://egyptcreekranch.com/performance-testing.php).  ECR Hanky Panky also is the mother of our ECR Rusty son, ECR Rusty’s Rambo.

But this story is supposed to be about Nicki — not Hanky Panky. Although she is Hanky Panky’s full sister, Nicki never got the recognition like her famous sister. Because Nicki was born a year later, Hanky Panky was having babies by the petri dish full while Nicki was still nursing. Also, Nicki is white while Hanky Panky was a beautiful gray with dark trim. People remember color.

Nicki has well earned her keep here. She has produced some feminine yet big-framed does and some powerful bucks. We retained one of her buck kids from last year, ECR  Powerstroke, as a replacement sire. And her new buck kid, ECR Slash, looks promising. Already, we consider Nicki a Doe of Distinction. She will always have a home at Egypt Creek Ranch.



 This video is of Nicki's son Powerstroke meeting his first does last fall.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Breeding season under way at Egypt Creek Ranch

BBM Hanky Panky's Y266 (in the back) with some of his girls. The buck,
a TAY Onyx son, and most of these does belong to the Rittenhouse Kikos herd.
For those who don't know it already, here at Egypt Creek Ranch, we manage
the Rittenhouse herd, Bill & Brenda Moore's BBM Kikos as well as our own herd.

Breeding season began in earnest this week. After running together all summer, the does have been divided into different pastures with their bucks. Part of the fun in managing a goat farm is deciding which does to put with which bucks. You sit down with your lists and pedigrees and past performance records and hope you make the right decisions: Which buck will add what strengths to this doe? How did this mating work last year? Am I getting these genetics too close? Do I need an outcross here? How can I maintain that "look" yet add a little depth or muscling? You do the best you can. Try to make the best, educated choices. Listen to your gut on some decisions. Then wait five months to see what hits the ground. 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Custom-made ornaments will add special touch to Christmas tree

Ornaments with the images of ECR Rusty (left) and Iron Horse were
handcrafted from the photos on the catalog cover, pictured here.

A closeup of the Rusty ornament. The image is engraved
on a gourd then hand-painted.

While visiting one of the vendor booths at last month’s Cream of the Crop Kiko sale in Corydon, Ind., I noticed a display of Christmas ornaments engraved with goat artwork. One particular ornament really caught my attention because it looked just like my buck ECR Rusty. As I looked closer, I discovered it was Rusty! And there next to it was an ornament decorated with another famous Kiko buck, Iron Horse. 

I soon learned that the ornaments had been engraved by Pam Jones of Legacy Keepers Farm in Hazleton, Ind. She had used the cover of the Cream of the Crop catalog as a guide for duplicating the likenesses of the two bucks. Pam was recovering from surgery and was not able to be there, but her table was well-manned by her energetic daughter Jaime. 

After the sale was over and she was packing up, Jaime presented me with the Rusty ornament as a gift and also gave Dave and Linda Sparks the Iron Horse ornament. I guarantee these ornaments will have permanent spots on our Christmas trees. 

Pam custom makes these ornaments, working from a photo of your goat or other animal and charges only $20. She has a variety of other handmade items available. Pam says there is still plenty of time before Christmas if anyone would like to place an order. She can be contacted at home 812-784-4104 or cell 812-385-6877. Her website is www.legacykeepersfarm.com.