Monday, April 29, 2013

Over"Boer"d With Planning

 A couple of months ago, I got the great idea that I should plan to mate my dairy does to a Boer buck next fall. I need to breed my dairy girls in order to get milk but I don't have a need for the kids. I have had some bad experiences with kids (especially buck kids) ending up in bad places after I sold them or gave them away. (I have had lots of really, really good experiences with selling kids too -- don't get me wrong). So I wanted to avoid the mad scramble to find homes for kids by crossing them with meat genetics to get a meaty kid that I could butcher for home consumption. Ideally I wanted to buy a Boer buck to use, but a pregnant Boer female landed in my lap at exactly the same time I was lamenting only having one pregnant goat on the farm this spring. "Ruby" came to stay on my farm in January. She was pregnant. My plan was that she would have at least one buck kid that I could raise until the fall and then use for breeding before turning him into goat-burgers. My plan was also that she would be able to raise her own kids so I wouldn't have to bottle feed them. That part of the plan didn't work out because she came back CAE positive. Time for a new plan...

Well, I got my one buckling out of her when she finally kidded with TRIPLETS (two does, one buck). But the whole situation hasn't worked out quite like I planned. My plan was to bottle feed all three kids and use the buck for breeding. A local dairy had contacted me wanting a buck for their breeding too. My plan (there's that word again!) was to use the buck for my breeding and then sell him to the dairy in the fall. The two does would be sold as breeders or made into sandwiches.

 The first doe born was Vindaloo. She's a beast who loves to eat. She ate so much yesterday that she is very sick today. I am hoping she is okay by the time I get home from work.

 The next doe is Curry. I tried and tried to get her to take a bottle the first day she was born and she wouldn't have anything to do with it. She would root around like she was hungry but as soon as I put the bottle in she would spit it out. After three hours on my hands and knees making grunting and "baaing" sounds with her stuffed under my belly to try to get her to nurse, I hauled her outside and dumped her back in with her mom. She immediately ran to her mom's udder and began to nurse. She'll be CAE positive and have to become BBQ.

 Finally, the buck was born. Ruby left him in his birth sack and he got very chilled. My husband found him and thought he was dead until he went to pick him up and he moved. The buck was brought in the house and given a bath and then wrapped up in front of the woodstove. It took about 4 hours to revive him and get his temperature up to where he could eat. He was born a runt and had lots of extra skin. I think the other two kids took all his calories and nutrients while in the womb so he wasn't able to grow as big as his skin. He stayed in the house for a few extra days. I took him out to the barn but he got chilled again. I brought him back in the house and nursed him back to health. He's out in the barn now. He's still very small. I am worried that he won't be a good breeder because of his runt status. Unless he really starts growing, he will become sandwiches too.

With two does and one buck, my new plan was to keep one of the does for breeding as part of the herd. That plan faded when I flipped over each kid and counted their teats. The buck has four teats. Vindaloo has two teats but one is a bad fishtail. Curry has FIVE teats (see picture) - two small teats, two big teats, one fishtail on a big teat! Her udder looks like a tree branch! Both does having fishtail teats means that they are unusable for breeding. Fishtails are double orifice teats that are very difficult (often impossible) to nurse on or milk out which leads to issues with feeding kids and huge potential for mastitis. Any does with fishtails should never be bred. The buck having four teats isn't that bad. According to Boer goat websites, four normal looking teats on a buck is not considered a disqualification for showing or considered a major fault. Since he doesn't have to produce milk, his multiple teats do not exclude him from breeding. Unfortunately his multiple teats does increase the chance that his daughters may have teat issues so any kids from him should be slated for butchering and not expected to be used for breeding.

In conclusion, as usual my "plans" have become a shambles. This pretty much happens all the time so I can't say that I am surprised. I can say that I am awfully tired of my plans never working out. Of course, this hasn't stopped me from planning. My new plan is to eat my entire stupid Boer herd this fall. Ruby and her three kids will be butchered once the kids are market weight or as soon as I get tired of feeding them. I can't say what my plan for breeding this year will be yet, there's still too many months for things to go wrong to start planning on next breeding season. All I want to do is get through the spring and summer without accidentally killing any goats. THAT is my plan!!


Missy said...

Poor Rose! Sorry your boers didn't work out for you. I love reading about your plans though:)

Jocelyn said...

HA! Planning! It bites me in the butt every time, too.

Boer goats are notorious for 4 or 5teats. You may be able to "breed it out" of them by crossing your doe with a dairy buck. And if the other teats are "blind", you can still milk.

Just FYI. I have dabbled in Boer goats as well. They are gentle giants, aren't they?