Friday, May 4, 2012


Kids! Kids! Kids! I have too many kids this year on the farm. Since having my own human kid two years ago, I am finding that I have a lot less time for my goat kids. This year I bred three goats. So far I have gotten two sets of triplets. The third goat is set to kid right now. I am already overwhelmed with the kids I have so I am not looking forward to adding more to the mix.

I do love goat kids and enjoy taking care of them. But, I am realizing that I enjoy 2 goat kids more than I enjoy 10. The more kids I have to deal with, the less joy I get out of it. I like having time to play with each kid and get to know them. If I have a lot of kids then I lose that ability because the time I have to spent with each one gets divided by 8 or 10, depending on the number of kids. I only have a certain number of hours each day to play with my goat kids so if more of that time is spent feeding each one and cleaning up after it, then there is less them to spend playing with them and having fun. I enjoy playing with the kids and they enjoy it as well.

My biggest problem with too many kids is the looming dread of figuring out what to do with them all once they are grown. Finding a buyer for goat kids can be hard and getting the price you want for them is even harder. I would like to get a slightly higher price than before because this year all the kids are on CAE prevention. That means I have to pasteurize all the milk they drink and take care not to contaminate it with raw milk. Last year I just dumped the raw milk straight from the bulk tank into the kid bucket and didn't worry about viral contamination. It was a lot less work. I would like to get paid for the added work this year.

Unfortunately my goats aren't purebred and they aren't registered. That is automatically a check against them in the price category. People don't usually want to pay much over $100 for an unregisterable goat, regardless of health or herd status. I do spend a large part of my breeding program on high quality dairy animals. I worry about conformation and udder strength just as much as the fancy breeders with registered purebreds. I want a good quality animal that is going to produce lots of milk for me. Usually that means that it will be very closely matched to what a show quality, purebred, registered goat would look like. Thus even though my goats are not registered, they could compete in the milk bucket as well as the show ring against a more expensive animal.

Any kids leftover after weaning will become chevon in the fall. I don't mind raising up kids for meat. I like goat meat. I am happy to butcher my goats because I know they had a good life while they were on my farm. I don't have to worry about what their lives would be like if I sold them because they will die on the farm they were born on. I do feel bad if a good quality animal has to be butchered due to lack of buyer interest. I hope to sell some of the goat kids. I would love to see them folded into another farm's breeding program to produce milk and kids for other people.

Next year I won't be having as many goat kids. I will only have two does that I will be able to breed in the fall, so that will help me stick to that plan. I might try to breed both does to meat heavy bucks so the kids' futures will be destined to the dinner table. That way I won't have to fret over what to do with my extra kids and I won't have to worry about CAE prevention because they won't be used for breeding. I hope I will have a better time next spring with only 3 - 6 goat kids expected.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I too love kids. Mostly the goat kind. All our human ones have grown up. I am amazed that the US is so into beef and not lamb and chevon. Chevon is a much healthier choice too. I wish we could have a better market for both.