|Posted on February 3, 2017 at 10:00 PM|
Herd Sires: 5 Tips for Choosing a Herdsire
With everyone starting or about to start their kiddings seasons we will soon be seeing many buck sales post and first fresener does. Some of us may be looking to purchase a kid already on the ground while others may be looking for that first freshener who is a hot topic to put a reservation on. Either way, here are a few tips to consider when purchasing a herd sire:
1. Know your herd. The first thing you should do before even start looking for does to put reservations on or purchase a buck from is your own herd. You should always have some idea of the strong and weak points of your herd. Just sitting down and reading the American Dairy Goat Association scorecard and looking at it compared to your goats can be extremely helpful. Just watching your animals move naturally at home where they’re at their best can be really eye opening. I like to spend maybe 5 or 10 minutes each morning - which usually ends up being more making me late - to just sit and watch them walk to the hay feeder or walk around the pen can help. Once you have an idea of the strong and weak points make a list of 2-3 things you want to improve on. For example, my list for my Nubian herd has been: extension of fore udder, high thurls and dairyness - more specifically angulation in rear leg and flatness and openness or ribs. Once you have more of an “established” herd or line where you can predict some traits and consistency of good and bad traits, you can begin to think about some things you may be able to give up a little bit on. For example, I am guessing I will be giving up a little in front toes pointing directly forward with a particular buck I’m using, but with multiple does appraising excellent and the rest appraising very good in feet and front legs I can give up a bit in those areas to gain a lot in the areas I need.
2. Setting high standards. I cannot begin to express over computer how important it is to have high standards when looking for a buck. Set high standards, then raise them again. There are thousands of bucks listed on social media every year, make sure they have performance program data, National Show records and are excelling in both. I always tell people, it’s much better to buy an excellent buck every few years than average bucks annually. Buy the best you can afford!
3. Do your research. Just because he has the performance program data does not mean he is a quality buck. Do your research! Is his mother and grandmother’s milk test records average or were they above the breed average or even elite or Top Ten numbers? How about the appraisal scores, consistently 90 or above final scores going back at least 2-3 generations? How about show records, not regular shows, but how did his relatives do at National Shows or breed club specialties where quality herds may travel farther to complete? Winning grand champions at a local club show or fair can be deceiving, it all depends on the quality of the competition. Sometimes you may also be looking for a particular animal or line in a pedigree. Personally, I have one buck I look for in the pedigree of every Saanen I buy or use, I know how it mixes and he is outstanding in just about every herd he was used in. I also look for a few particular herds, not as much individual animals, when I’m looking at Nubian bucks. Just remember, do you research and don’t settle! A buck has a big influence on your herd, especially when you may not have an established line yet.
4. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to send an email or call the breeder if you have questions before making a deposit. Most breeders want to make sure the animal will be a good fit in your herd just as much as you do. If you are interested in more pictures, information or even a personal opinion if you are too far to see the herd in person. This is especially important if you are going to spend as much as $800-1600 or more, plus shipping on a buck kid. Asking a more experienced goat friend to give their opinion on your herd’s strengths and weaknesses or if a doe may be a good match for your herd’s needs, this comes in handy if you tend to be barn blind or just to get another opinion.
5. Be confident in your choices. After you’ve spent months researching, waited to hear if the doe had your buck, maybe even waited years on roll over reservations make sure you’re happy and confident in your choices!
|Posted on August 20, 2016 at 5:45 PM|
Phew! After months of getting the does bred, winter & spring rabbit shows, kidding season, goat shows, ADGA Nationals, more goat shows and judging inbetween I can finally sit down and update our website!
The year started off as we finished getting the last few does bred. With the very strange weather we had difficulty catching heats and some having to be forced into heat towards the end of the season. We successfuly bred six out of seven does, including From the Ashes a almost three year old that I am really trying to get an udder on! A few short months later as we prepared for kidding season our "outside additons" arrived from the East Coast! This year we made the leap and purchased our first buck. Up until this year we had always gone off site to use live bucks, but with our herd starting to develope it's own style I finally made the plung and bought a buck specific for our needs - *B Redwood Hills Atlas Drakon. While it was late in the season to make this leap I came across a picture of a beautiful doe with what I was looking to improve on and she just happened to have a buck kid available! Drakon is doing excellent and is just stunning, saying I am excited to see his kids next spring is an understatement - I'l estatic! Not too long after our next purchase came in, Tempo Passa Ellaria a Saanen from the Tempo/des-Ruhigestelle herd in Oregon. I have admired this herd for a long time and was so glad I had the opportunity to bring this doe here. This marks the first American Saanen in the Hops N Lops herd so it's quite exciting! Just about the time our outside additions were arriving we had an unexpected suprise. Mystique who wasn't due until the end of the month kidded at 135 days due to what we believe was being butted. Sadly one kid was dead when I arrived but the other was sitting up and quite active, four months later "Herbie" is doing incredably well and is actually being retained as a companion to our herdsire.
Our "real" kidding season started a few weeks after "Herbie" surpised us in May with Luna (Blue Moon) having a single buck, then Bellatrix having buck/doe twins, Once having buck/doe twins and Wysteria having buck twins... can you say buck year? Both does were retained, Bella's buck left as a herdsire in western New York, Wysteria's bucks went as pets for a local family and Luna and Once's bucks are still available as pet wethers!
In early June we had our annual apprasial, going into it with high hopes we were not disapointed with our mature does both recieveing excellent scores (Bellatrix 91 and Luna 90) and the first fresheners all recieving 86s (Wysteria, Katerina and Once). Now that the two older girls have their permanent scores we're excited to see how the younger generation does next year.
This year we have had many ups and downs. In June we suddenly lost our two Saanen yearlings, Once Upon a Time and Just This Once. We are devistated and it has taken a huge hit to our breeding program. We we fortunate enough to have gotten a daughter out of Just This Once just a few weeks before she was apprasied with an excellent in mammary as a yearling. While Once Upon a Time was dry I has very high hopes for her as a milker, she has the general apperance her sister lacked and could of been an incredable doe. On the bright side, we have a few ways of bringing these genetics back into the herd one including a repeat breeding of their dam back to Companeros Jack JustInTime as well as her daughter being bred back to JT's maternal line in a few years but more information will come on that hopefully in 2017.
Between judging and traveling for shows I made the incredably hard dicision to cut down my rabbit numbers drastically this summer. Having to leave the animals under my family's care while I am away is hard on everyone so keeping numbers far below what I can manage was a choice I had to make. While hard choices had to be made, I am excited about what we have left. With a few hard losses in the rabbits as well I am hopeful the juniors I have left from our spring juniors will do well. I plan on having a few more available this September to keep numbers down to potencially bring in some new stock from Convention in San Diego this fall and for more juniors this winter. With this all said, I hope our potencial buyers will understand my already limited availability just became much, much more limited. I try my best to fulfill inquires I recieve but we are a very small rabbit and goat herd so please keep this in mind.
In July we attended the 2016 ADGA National Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvannia. This was our first National Show and our girls still a bit rough from the loss of their two herd mates we didn't expect anything except some time with our new and old goat friends. We were shocked when every doe we brough made the cut - Ellaria was 22nd Saanen Int Kid, Cold Open was 4th Recorded Grade Junior Kid (at two months old), Bellona was 16th Nubian Junior Kid (at two months old), Imperatrix Mundi was 9th Senior Yearling (of 52 including the National Junior Champion and Reserve Champion), Bellatrix was 20th Nubian 5-6 Year Old Milker (out of 30-something), Wysteria was 12th Nubian 2 Year Old (of 47) and Katerina was the 1st Place and Udder Nubian Milking Yearling! I am at a loss for words after this but am excited to see how they do next year in Madison, WI!
After some other shows we found ourselves in the last weekend of July at the Litchfield County 4-H Fair. This is my last year being able to compete so it was a little bittersweet but we did very well with the highlights being 1st place senior showmanship, Best Senior Doe in Show and Best Udder in Show with Wysteria and Best Junior Doe in Show with Imperatrix Mundi. All of the other girls did very well and we also won Produce of Dam, Best Three Does and Dam and Daughter! While my 4-H experience has been a rocky road I am grateful for the many experience and handful of very special people I have met and am now able to call my friends. I am excited to announce I will be starting my own 4-H Goat Club this fall specializing in dairy goats! Feel free to send me an email for more information, I hope to have many kids who just want to leave more about GOATS!
Now that we are in August we have decided to not do several shows this summer and fall that we usually do, between the heat and Nationals our does are not milking as well and with the heat just starting to let up (very slightly...) I don't want to push them too much. So this could be the end of our 2016 show season, we'll have to see how the fall progresses. I won't be too upset since we can hope for some Febuary and March kids if we do cut the show season short!
So I guess we had a few updates even though we're only just over half-way done with the year we have some exciting things coming up including AI's, future herdsires and new additions the rest of the year and 2017 are looking bright!
|Posted on February 14, 2015 at 5:10 PM|
|Posted on August 13, 2014 at 5:00 PM|
The first weekend in August was our annual Litchfield County 4-H Fair at the Goshen Fair Grounds, Goshen, CT. We had a great time and did very well in all our classes! Luna & Phoenix did a repeat of last year and took Best Doe in Show & Best Junior Doe in Show! The club also decided to add a "Best Udder of Show" which Luna also won. Our Nubians did extremely well and also took champion in the junior and senior show and best udder of breed, this was great since our Nubian kids were the youngest there and they are our first 2nd generation kids under our herd name! Its always very encouraging to see how far our herd has come in a few short years, this proves that dedication and hard work really pays off! Now its time to plan for the rest of our show season and begin our 2014/15 breeding plans!
Congratulations to all the exhibitors and I wish you luck for the rest of your 2014 show season!
- 1st Place Senior Showmanship
Hops N Lops Bellatrix (Nubian)
- 1st Place (& 1st Udder) 2 to under 4y/o
- Nubian Senior Champion
- Nubian Best Udder
- 1st Place (& 1st Udder) 2 to under 4y/o
- Recorded Grade Senior Champion
- Recorded Grade Best Udder
- BEST DOE IN SHOW
- BEST UDDER OF SHOW
- 1st Place Kid under 4m
- Nubian Junior Champion
- 2nd Place Kid under 4m
- 1st Place Dry Yearling
- Recorded Grade Junior Champion
- BEST JUNIOR DOE IN SHOW
- 1st Place Best 3 Does (Luna, Phoenix & Mystique)
- 1st Place Produce of Dam (Wysteria & Mystique)
- 2nd Place Dam & Daughter (Bella & Mystique)
- Nubian Milk Out Champion (Hops N Lops Bellatrix)
- Recorded Grade Milk Out Champion (The Once in a Blue Moon)
- OVERALL MILK OUT CHAMPION (The Once in a Blue Moon)
Above: The Once in a Blue Moon, Best Doe in Show, Best Udder of Show, Milk Out Overall Champion
Above: Hops N Lops From the Ashes, Best Junior Doe in Show
|Posted on March 10, 2014 at 9:25 AM|
After a busy weekend we have some exciting news to share with everyone!
New England Show Circuit Banquete
As always, we attended the New England Show Circuit Banqete this past weekend where we learned the results of the 2013 show season. This is where they total the points for each breed from every show in New England over the past year. You must be a member of a club which is paid and chartered with the NESC to recieve your points! We attend the banquete yearly and are glad to announce we placed 3rd in open Belgian Hare, 1st place youth Belgian Hare, 2nd place youth English Lop and 1st place youth Velveteen Lop! With very low numbers in our breeds we are glad to have recieved the amount of points we did and as always hope to improve for next year! Check out the rest of our placings by clicking here.
Spring is Here!
Finally we have had a good streak of warmer weather and I have managed to (hopefully) get some rabbits bred. As of March 11, I have bred Windy Hill's Zach to PCR Clarissa, both were youth Best Opposite of Variety at the ARBA National Convention at one time and I cannot wait to see what they produce! I am have also tried rebreeding Crawford's Rio and Journey Home's Manhattan, Manhattan produced the 2nd & 4th place solid junior buck at Convention this year! Lets hope they all took. Journey Home's Summer (VL) & Shannon's Dyslexic Cow (BH) are due any day but I am starting to doubt they are bred, I have a feeling we will be having a lot of April babies! More information coming soon!
Our New Logo
I have some how managed to keep under wraps that I was having a logo made for our farm for the past few weeks and finally was able to announce to everyone by showing it to everyone (via Facebook) this past weekend! It was made by Laura of Locket Rabbitry and I cannot thank her enough for it! Now time to reprint pedigrees with our new logo on them!
With the trees beginning to look bare, bitter temeratures and the smell of buck it's a clear sign that we're in the middle of breeding season!
After years of having does kid in April and May, dealing with the heat, younger kids to show and missing some of the spring shows we have decided to get a early start to breeding this year. With our first doe potencially due in early Febuary and all but one bred for March we just have one left to breed and a few we're waiting for day 21 to arrive.
Below is our current (as of 11/03/2016) breeding list and availability. Please contact us for more informaiton on reserving your 2016 junior herdsire.
LakeShore Katerina VG86 - AI: TBA (Back Up: *B Kastdemur's High Tide) - 2 BUCK RESERVATIONS OPEN
Hops N Lops Bellatrix EX91 - *B Redwood Hills Atlas Drakon - 1 BUCK RESERVATION OPEN
Hops N Lops Wysteria VG86 - *B Redwood Hills Atlas Drakon - 2 BUCK RESERVATIONS OPEN
Hops N Lops Mystique - *B Redwood Hills Atlas Drakon - 1 BUCK RESERVATION OPEN
Hops N Lops Imperatrix Mundi - *B Redwood Hills Drakon - 2 BUCK RESERVATIONS OPEN
Hops N Lops Bellona - Dry for 2017
Tempo Passa Ellaria - Doe Haven Jaguar's Dax - 2 BUCK RESERVATIONS OPEN
The Once in a Blue Moon 1*M - *B Companeros Jack JustInTime - NO RESERVATIONS
Hops N Lops From the Ashes - *B Redwood Hills Atlas Drakon - NO RESERVATIONS
Hops N Lops Cold Open - Dry for 2017