Goat Words of Wisdom
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We began raising goats in 1998 with seven does. At that time we knew virtually nothing about goats. We had done some reading on the subject and the reading gave us a base of knowlege. However, it was only after putting the animals on our property that the real education began.
A wise old sage once told us that the only way to to find out if a fence will keep your goats in is to throw a bucket of water against it. He said, "If any of the water gets through, then so will your goats." Well, he was right. Within 24 hours, six of our seven goats found an opening and headed off for parts unknown.
Next, we learned that stray dogs will kill goats. We had also been told that a good donkey would protect the goat herd. We figured that if one donkey was good, then two would be even better. We figured wrong. The two donkeys found one another to be better companions than a bunch of pointy-headed goats. We now have one donkey with the does and one with the bucks.
Every day we worked with our goats we learned that we had much more to learn about raising them. In the Spring of 2005, a pack of four dogs slaughtered 21 of our animals over a two week period. We were left with just seven young kids, six does and one buck. A different twist to the lesson learned during our very first experience with goats is that not only must the fence around your property hold your goats in, it must also keep dogs out. Another hard lesson learned about fencing and dogs is that your fencing must be tight enough to prevent your goats from putting their heads through it allowing the neighbor's dogs to rip off their ears. DO NOT count on your neighbors to do anything to control their dogs. They won't.
In October of 2005, we introduced a registered, full blood, Boer buck, Ricardo, into our herd from Bedford Meadows Boer Goats in Waco. He was the rebirth of our goat farming enterprise. We now raise Boer Full Blood and American Purebred for breeding stock and show.
We have adopted a different approach to herd management. Many breeders will change out their herd sires to avoid inbreeding. We have elected to keep multiple herd sires. We presently have three. Using this approach we are able to keep the best of our doelings as breeding does ending the inbreeding concern.
You may have noticed the unusual names we give the animals. Each year we have a theme for their names and the names are selected by our grandchildren. In 2006 the theme was singers, 2007 cartoon characters, 2008 presidents and their wives, 2009 candy, 2010 minerals and gemstones, 2011 US cities and towns then it was rivers and mountain ranges of the World for 2012. 2013 was the year of Fairy Tale Characters, 2014 was Board Games and the 2015 name theme was simple, all the girls names start with S and the boys with T. The name theme for 2016 was herbs and spices, 2017 was the year of cars and trucks, 2018, in keeping with our family's relationship with the military, military bases and installations was the theme. Random Names was the theme for 2019, then for 2020 we used movie characters and in 2021 it was Historic Figures. The theme for 2022 is simple, names with only 3 or 4 letters. 2023 was the year we gave the baby goats clothing brand names. The names for the 2024 kids will be picked, at random, by the grandchild who helps with the delivery. Now that should really be interesting.
From the moment they are born our goats are handled, worked with and loved. They are people friendly and gentle. They are wormed, as needed, and vaccinated for clostridial diseases. All of this is factored into the prices we ask for the animals.
2024 is bringing about some major changes in the way we do things here on the Walking H Farm. Our ages have forced us to accept the fact that we need to cut back. As a result, we will no longer keep multiple herd sires on the farm. They have all been sold. And, we are reducing the doe herd to just eight does. Our focus will be soley upon the traditional coloration, no more reds or dapples. When, and if, we decide to breed the does, we will purchase a new buck for the task and sell him once he has done his job.