Monday, November 29, 2010

Bach'n it

Breeding season is over here at Havencroft. Sheep and goats are seasonal polyestrus, meaning, they cycle and breed in the fall and have their babies in the spring. This cycle is light induced, so humans can muck about with it, but I like the poetry of the natural cycle. This way, the momma's are having babies when the grass is coming in, we can shear before they lamb, and I can dry off most of the dairy goats so that we all get a break from milking in the dead of winter. Nature has a good plan.

Here in Arkansas, we don't want babies born too late, either, because as it gets warmer, the parasites get stronger and that can be tough on young lambs. They need to get big and strong before the bugs get going.
So, even though the boys are still willing and the girls who are not yet bred are getting desperate, breeding season is over.
Dapper Dan the Jacob ram, Sultan the colored angora goat buck and
 Footloose, the Saanen/Lamancha dairy goat buck in their bachelor pen. 

The boys have been moved to their bachelor pen, where they'll stay until February, when hormones have settled and then we'll clean that pen out, rest it a bit and have it ready for kidding and lambing. It's right behind the house, so easy to keep an eye on whatever is going on in there.

Last night about 2 am, the coyotes had me awake. The air was fairly comfortable and I sat out on the back porch for a while, listening to the night. The moon was bright, even at 1/4 full. I watched as the clouds scudded over the southern mountains behind the house and filled in the sky. The boys were all talking to their respective flocks as the storm rolled in. Now this morning, it is raining again, but still fairly warm.

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