Saturday, August 18, 2007

Comings and goings

Yesterday we traveled almost to St. Louis, Mo. to get the new buck for our angora goat flock. I think we'll name him Cappucino.

And yes, his fleece is as divine as it looks. It was hard to keep from petting him all the way home!

He came from Herbal Maid Fiber Farm and has generations of solid, beautifully fleeced, colored angora genetics behind him. I am already telling the girls that they all better have beautiful chocolate twins next spring. Of course, they think he's a little kid and beneath their notice right now, but once it cools down, I think they'll be happy to look at him as a boy.

Because it has been so hot, I thought he needed the benefit of air conditioning for the 7 hour trip home. Kathy, his breeder, showed me a trick that worked great. We just duct-taped a disposable diaper around his belly and over the leaky bits. The goat rode comfortably and the truck stayed clean (well, as clean as usual) and dry.

I've always believed, or at least since the early 1980's when I studied this stuff, that the buck/ram/stud is half of your herd. You can breed up a mediocre flock by bringing in top genetics through the male. You can make a good flock better by using a sire that strengthens the weak points.

So to follow through with this concept, we bring in one new sire each year. We raise three types of animals, jacob sheep, colored angora goats and lamancha diary goats. This year, we added Cappucino, next year, we'll be looking for a good, 4-horned jacob ram and the year after that, a new lamancha buck.

Part of being a breeder, especially with a rare breed like the jacob sheep, is helping other people get started in the animals you cherish. I'd like to congratulate Mona Sloop on her purchase of a good starter flock of our jacob ewes and lambs this week. I wish her daughter, Lake, best of luck showing LHF Alice in the breeding sheep show at the county fair. I'm sure she'll do great. Alice loves to show off and I think she still remembers her Reserve Grand Champion win at the 2006 National Western Stock Show in Denver. I'll let you know how they do.

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