Thursday, August 2, 2012

ECR Rusty's Rambo meets the women

ECR Rusty's Rambo (ECR Rusty x ECR Hanky Panky)
in with a group of does.
I got up early this morning and was able to catch Rambo before he and the other bucks took off for the pine forest for the day. He didn't like being dragged through the yard and to the next pasture, but as soon as he saw who was waiting for him, all four brakes unlocked! I put him into a pasture of about 20 head that I plan to sell bred. They are all nice does, so if they don't sell and I keep them, they'll be bred to one of the best bucks on the farm. There's still not a lot of activity here -- just too hot. But a cool front is headed this way, so a small change in the weather may spur some action. 

For pricing on these does, see the Goats for Sale-Does link 
in the top right corner of this page.
Rambo likes the look of this commercial Kiko doe.

Sorting and deciding who to sell

The goats pass a neighbor's home on Hankins Road on their way
to the barn. It's a quarter-mile from their pasture to the catch pens.
For several days this week I have gone through every pasture and looked at every goat, male and female, making that annual decision on who will stay and who will be sold. In an ideal world, I'd keep them all and just keep growing the herd. But in reality, there are feed bills and land notes coming due this winter and the goats are responsible for covering a lot of those expenses. So some goats have to be sold.

Some selections are easy, like in a goat show. The very best and the very worst are easy to spot. The worst — the ones with rough coats, the skinny ones, those that didn't raise kids this year — can go to the local sale barn (or in the freezer as ground goat meat). The very best stay here. At least most of them.

Some of the good ones go to the Cream of the Crop Sale, which Egypt Creek Ranch and Goat Hill Kikos have hosted since 2008. These is where the decisions get tougher. If they're good enough for the production sale, they're also good enough to keep. Sometimes it gets down to "one for me, one for the sale ..."

This year I will be taking 21 does and 3 bucks. I made my final decisions yesterday and hope to begin updating my For Sale pages soon. I have a good number of really nice Kiko percentage does that I have raised and purchased. I plan to offer some of these for sale off the farm also. 

I was extremely pleased with how well the does and doelings were looking. Everyone was healthy and meaty. The hot weather seems to have agreed with them. We are about 15 inches behind in rainfall, and in this area, that's a lot. The pastures are crispy on the hilltops and hillsides. I was surprised to find quite a bit of bermudagrass in the bottoms. The goats don't love it, but they eat it when there's nothing else. Also, with the drought, I've noticed a lot of leaves falling off the trees; that has helped the forage situation a good bit. 

The does in the bottom photo have been with their moms all year and have never had any supplementation. I'm putting four of those and four of the red doelings in the Cream of the Crop Sale. All of these doelings are on pasture. The ones I purchased from the Russells are on light supplementation because they were pulled off their moms and moved to a new environment. That "change of address syndrome" can be tough on kids so I try to keep their nutrition level up. 

Yesterday, however, most of the 35 doelings that I am supplementing didn't show up at feeding time. I jumped in the truck and found them around a drainage ditch enjoying some fresh grass. It was after 6 p.m. and they were content to continue their grazing. I blew my horn and headed them toward the barn. I knew that once it got dark, they would just bed down right there. There is no guard dog in the pasture, so I wanted them closer to the barn at bedtime. 

These are some of the percentage Kiko doelings that I
purchased from Lynn and Ware Russell of Camden, Ark. 
These ECR doelings have been with their moms on pasture since
they were born in February-March.