September 16, 2013

Closing a Circle

There used to be a lot of coming and going.

My first buck, appropriately called "Buck", was borrowed from my neighbor's herd.

Several does that had been born here were sold to friends, and came back home each fall to be bred.

But after the fire, when I started my dairy herd over again, I decided that this time I would have a closed herd. This is the best way to prevent disease in my new herd. The two most-dreaded goat diseases, CAE and CL, do not have vaccines. (Well, technically CL does, but it is a live vaccine and a vaccinated goat will test positive for it, even if they don't have it. Most goat people don't vaccinate for it because there is no way to know if a vaccinated goat really does or doesn't have it.)

Dream at the county fair
While I never took my goats to a "real" goat show, I used to take them to our little county fair. I've made the decision to not do this anymore. I've had a great deal of fun with the goats at the fair in past years, but my situation has changed. A friend who also took her goats doesn't go anymore; our daughters have both grown up and graduated and are no longer involved in 4-H. It isn't as much fun going alone, without the camaraderie and a little friendly competition.

Right now this isn't a hard resolution to keep, since I work at the fair doing record-keeping and taking entries, and I don't have the time to spend with my goats if they are at the fair too.

Imagine as a yearling
At last year's fair, there were just two girls with dairy goats, one of whom worked for me one summer in exchange for a yearling doe. I enjoy seeing her with Imagine, one of Dream's granddaughters, now a grown doe producing kids and milk each year.

I had planned to give her a buck kid this coming spring, to grow up and be her herd sire, which would in a way join my new herd with my old herd. However, she needed a buck now; waiting till my new does grew up and kidded, then waiting till a buckling was old enough to breed, will take another year. Instead, I helped her buy a mature buck from a friend of mine. This buck is the sire of my Firefly... I've joined the new herd with the old herd after all.

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  1. What a nice thing for you to do :)

  2. Sandra, her doe was one that used to come here every fall to be bred. I felt bad that she couldn't do that anymore because I changed a rule. I love seeing youth work with animals, I think it's so good for them and teaches them so much!

  3. Having a closed herd does seem like the best way to prevent diseases. I know I'm pretty vigilant in my management of my flock of chickens so no diseases or illnesses are introduced.

  4. It does take a lot of vigilance, doesn't it, Tammy? Keep at it! This has really given me peace of mind, just knowing that this is now my policy.


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