Thursday, April 26, 2012

Downed tree brings bounty from above

We were in the office working yesterday morning when we heard this loud crash outside. At the same time, I heard the guard dog puppies squeal. A big sugar berry tree had blown over just down hill from the Goat Rancher office (which is located in the old farm house here on the ranch). The tree didn't hit anything; the puppies had just been startled and were hiding underneath the barn.

It wasn't until late yesterday afternoon when the goats began coming in from the pasture that they found the feast of leaves waiting for them. Everyone gorged themselves. I was afraid someone might get sick, but this morning there seem to be no ill effects. Just lots of happy goats who didn't bother to go out to graze. They're hanging out around the tree grabbing a leafy snack whenever they get the urge.
After feasting on the tree yesterday afternoon and this morning,
the goats have decided to just camp out here for awhile.

A ditch had washed out around the base of the tree loosening
the roots. The strong winds yesterday gave it a final push.

See the black & white doe in the tree? You can tell where the 
goats cleaned the leaves as high as they could reach from the
ground. Now they are starting to work their way up the branches.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Creating 'Kiko Composites'

We call this guy Peg Leg because of his red left front leg.
This young buck was sired by a 100% New Zealand buck but, as you can tell by his coloring, his dam had some Boer influence. He could be described as a Kiko-Boer cross of unknown percentage, but I prefer to call him a Kiko Composite. It sounds intriguing, experimental and even secretive....

If all goes well, he and several other Kiko Composites, along with some Kiko fullbloods, will be going to the Kerr Center Oklahoma buck forage test this summer. The buck pictured above was born on pasture and he and his mom are thriving on fresh grass. If he proves to be parasite resistant and can gain weight quickly on forage, I'll know that the secret formula from which he was created has potential for  producing a profitable terminal animal.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Our barn isn't fancy, but it's functional

This 48-ft.-wide shed has been patched many times over the years.
When I talk about our "barn", I use the term loosely. It's actually a shed — an old hay shed that my dad built in the 1960s to use for hay storage on our farm, which was a cattle operation before the goats came along. Over the years most of the roof has been replaced, a few partitions have been installed and I've added a few kidding pen gates. It's relatively dry (yes, there are still a few leaks) and some of the wood is rotten, but it faces south so it offers reasonable shelter when it gets cold and wet. It's not large enough to house the entire herd, but it works well when we're sorting or doctoring on goats. 
Catch pens and the working system are located in front of the shed.

Out "barn" isn't fancy but it does offer a dry place out of the wind.