Look! Our first registration papers with our own herd name.
Babies are registered with a herd name as the prefix of their given name. The herd name is the name of the herd that the mother belonged to when the baby was bred. A baby retains their herd name all their life, no matter how many changes of hands that may occur. For example, Clover’s full registered name is Rev-A-Lea Farm Clover. Her father’s name was Doemain Acres BB Fallon, but her mother was Rev-A-Lea Farm Valentina–therefore she is Rev-A-Lea Farm Clover. We bought Clover from Destiny Groves Farm, and she is now a part of the Stringtown Rising herd–but she is still officially Rev-A-Lea Clover. Sometimes I call her Cloverlea. Which doesn’t totally make sense, but it’s a sort of mish-mash off her registration name.
Though we own Eclipse and Rhett now, they both carry the Destiny Groves Farm prefix to their official names as they were bred there. Sailor and Pirate are the first babies bred here from our own herd. (It doesn’t matter that the mother carries a different birth herd name–the herd name applied to the baby is the herd name of the owners of the mother at the time of breeding.)
Did all that make sense? Whew. And if you think that’s complicated, you should try the Myotonic Goat Registry, which registers Fainters. I just finished processsing through all the paperwork with the American Goat Society (which registers Nigerian Dwarf–and others) and have launched into setting up our official herd name with the Myotonic Goat Registry so I can get the Fainter babies registered, too. You’d think I’ve have gotten all this done sometimes in the oh past YEAR AND A HALF, but no. I’m feeling a little pressed now as I want to move babies, so I’ve got to get registrations straightened up. I want to hand over babies, with papers, same day, see ya later.
Our goat herds are very small. We have two Nigerian Dwarf breeding does (Clover and Nutmeg) and two Fainting goat breeding does (Sprite and Fanta). We have two Nigerian Dwarf studs (Eclipse and Rhett) and one Fainting goat stud (Mr. Pibb). I don’t intend to grow the Fainting herd–they are actually a meat breed, and I don’t want to raise meat goats. I got into them because they were cute and a little exotic, and most people do keep them as pet goats, but there’s not a humongous market for pet goats–and I don’t want to market meat goats–so I’ll be keeping the Fainters to the number they are now. Nigerian Dwarf is a dairy breed, and they are, in fact, fabulous mini milkers, suited especially well to small farms. They don’t take up a lot of space, they don’t eat much, and they produce quality milk. I’d like to grow this herd a little bit. Not much, but a little. Like, maybe add a doe. We won’t be keeping our own doelings when we have them because they are related to our bucks, of course. That means outsourcing for a doe.
And I was just thinking of adding a doe when I discovered–
No, wait, not yet!
Back to the herd. As I was readying Sailor’s and Pirate’s papers for sale, I got to thinking about my whole buck overload situation. We don’t need two Nigerian Dwarf studs for a nanny herd as small as ours. We never intended to have two Nigerian Dwarf studs. We bought Eclipse, and Rhett was thrown in for free (due to buck overload at the farm where we got Eclipse).
That’s the way it is with bucks. People are always trying to get rid of ’em.
Eclipse is a fabulous studly stud, but he is also a handful and an escape artist. While every farm animal is going to escape the fences once in a while, there are the few, the determined, the free-ranging in spirit who purposefully and willfully LOOK for ways out. Eclipse is one of those spirits. We’ve worked and worked on the fencing, yet he is the one out all the time. We are at the point of deciding whether to invest a bunch more money into securing that area to try to keep Eclipse in (no guarantees), or NOT spending a bunch of money (since the current fencing holds the rest of them just fine) and letting Eclipse go. As in, “You’re fired.”
Employee management is a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. We’ll be recommending a stone compound and may have to pay someone to take him. On his plus side, he’s a proven stud and quite docile and friendly.
Now, lest anyone think Eclipse is being fired simply because we’re too lazy to work on the fences, that’s not the whole story. He’s not being fired only because he’s an escape artist or even because he ate all the bark off my plum tree. My original thinking with our two separate herds (Nigerian Dwarf and Fainter) was to keep them in two goat yards. Keep the stud with the does fulltime. (The way we keep our ram with the sheep fulltime.) This makes breeding so much easier. No guesswork about when they’re in heat. The bucks are happy all the time, and there’s no hassle of moving bucks back and forth from a buck yard to a nanny yard and keeping everybody separated properly according to breed. With two Nigerian Dwarf studs, we can’t do that. We can put Mr. Pibb in one yard with Sprite and Fanta, and one Nigerian Dwarf stud in the other yard with Clover and Nutmeg, but there’s always an odd man out, whichever Nigerian Dwarf stud isn’t being utilized that breeding season, who has to be moved somewhere else for the duration to keep the breeding clean and enable proper registration papers. It makes for a pretty inconvenient situation, and I’ve regretted it ever since we brought Rhett home with Eclipse (and have sometimes considered wethering Rhett just to eliminate the problem).
Ironically, the freebie Rhett is the one I want to keep. And the choice between Rhett and Eclipse also isn’t as plain as just that Eclipse is an escape artist or that he ate the bark off my plum tree. Eclipse has a full black coat and so far he has proven to throw black babies. Clover, for all her lovely fawn-colored coat, comes from a mother with a full black coat, so Clover carries the gene to throw black babies, too. Put her together with Eclipse, and guess what we’re gonna get just about every time? Multi-colored Rhett is liable to throw more interesting babies. (Nothing against goats with black coats, but for marketability of babies, a better mix of color choices is preferable.)
All those considerations put together, when I listed Sailor and Pirate for sale this weekend, I listed Eclipse, too. Once I get the Fainting goat paperwork processed, I’ll be selling the Fainter babies, too, and I’ll be redistributing the goats. No longer will we have a nanny goat yard and duck ‘n’ buck yard. We’ll have a duck ‘n’ Fainter yard (moving Fanta and Sprite to live permanently with Mr. Pibb) and a goat yard at the house with Clover, Nutmeg, and Rhett. (And Dr. Pepper, who we wethered and will be keeping. As a pet.)
I wethered Dr. Pepper, by the way, thinking he couldn’t be papered because he’s a half-Fainter, half-Nigerian. (I’m really trying to get my breeding act together here!) I have another half-Fainter, half-Nigerian in Clover’s new baby, and was trying to figure out what I was going to do with him because I don’t want to keep another wether when lo and behold I discovered that I can paper a half-Fainter. I can’t paper him with the American Goat Society as a Nigerian Dwarf–because they only accept purebreds–but the Myotonic Goat Registry has a registration option for mixed. Fainting goats are a sort of unusual breed, more interested in the myotonic gene they carry than other characteristics. You can register a goat as a purebred myotonic, or a “percent” myotonic. So. I won’t be wethering Clover’s baby. I’ll be registering him as a 50 percent myotonic with the Myotonic Goat Registry. (Perhaps due to the fact that they even allow such, the registration process with the Myotonic Goat Registry is crazy complicated, requiring much more information than a purebred-only registry like the American Goat Society, so I’ve got some paperwork to wade through to get there, but I’m hoping to have it all set up and everybody papered soon.)
Now, if you’re not asleep yet after this mind-numbing trip into small farm management and decision-making, I have a fun surprise!
Remember her? Does she look familiar?
Just as I was thinking that I would like to add another doe sometime this year to our Nigerian Dwarf nanny herd, I discovered that, due to a herd down-sizing, Clover’s evil twin was for sale. Or is Clover the evil twin?
Won’t we have fun finding out?!
(Left, Clover. Right, Cookie Doe.) Clover and Cookie Doe the last time they saw each other, which was over two years ago when we took Clover to visit the farm to try to breed her. (That breeding didn’t take.)
Yes, that’s right, Cookie Doe, Clover’s twin sister, will be coming to Stringtown Rising Farm this summer to join our herd!
I’ve always thought Nutmeg took after her aunt Cookie Doe more than her mother because Cookie Doe is a chubby-wubby while Clover is a sleek goat model. She is the same color as Clover and has the same white half-moon on her side–only Cookie Doe has it on both sides while Clover just has it on one. Even! More! Exciting! is that Cookie Doe is currently in with a buck and will be arriving bred, with babies due late fall or early winter. In the Even! More! MORE! Exciting! department, if Cookie Doe delivers any doelings, we will actually be able to keep them to add to our herd because they won’t be related to Rhett.
Cookie Doe, on her first freshening, lost QUADS. Probably because a first freshener generally can’t handle quads. On her second time out, Cookie Doe delivered healthy triplets. Cookie Doe is a mass producer, so we will be hoping for triplets or even quads.
What Cookie Doe looked like when she was pregnant with triplets:
I’m not sure how Clover’s going to take all this news, but I’m going to have a lot of cookies and marshmallows on hand when I tell her.