Two live girls!
March 12, 2013
Kidding season has only just begun, but the first birth is encouraging. Gertie, one of our Toggenburg does, went into heat in early October on a day when Brady, our Guernsey buck, happened to breech his pen. We were hoping to hold off breeding until mid October, thus holding of kidding until mid to late March, but alas, the deed was done. So we marked the calenders for a March 4 birth. When there were no signs of a birth on the 4th, or the 5th or the 6th or the 7th, we assumed that we had mistaken the date, or mistaken her heat, or mistaken Brady’s escape. But on Friday morning, in the middle of a snow storm, we looked over in the middle of chores to see two perfect kids. Alive and standing with their mom. We would have preferred to have been there for the birth so they wouldn’t nurse from Gertie, but we were an hour too late. As we have mentioned before, there is a hard to detect virus known as CAE which plagues dairy goats. The only way to prevent the spread of this disease is to take the kids from mom, pasteurize the milk, and then bottle feed the babies. The moms only get a little upset, and it makes for some first rate bonding between us and the babies.
Since we both had to work a long day on Friday, we boxed up the kids and took them to work. They were a hit at the food co-op where we work “off-farm.”
We hadn’t been able to find any good photos of Guernsey x Toggenburg crossed goats, so we were excited to see what would come out. We expected something intermediate to both breeds, but instead we got one of each. Dolly has typical Guernsey coloration, and Deloris could pass for a Togg, even though she looks as though she will have golden markings where pure Toggs have white.
Crossing these two breeds is a part of our breeding up plan to help increase numbers of Guernsey Goats in the US, and to add some genetic diversity to the shallow gene pool o f this breed. After our disastrous attempt to start last year, we’re happy to have 2 more partial Guernseys in our herd.
Look for lots of “D” names this season. Some goat breeders use this naming convention, supported by the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). Even though ADGA wants nothing to do with Guernsey goats, starting names with one letter one year, and then next letter the following year makes it easy to keep straight who was born when. We have 12 more does do to kid this year, all fathered by our Guernsey buck, Brady. I’m sure we won’t be free of birthing difficulty, but if Gertie’s gift of easy, healthy, twin girls is any indication, we’re hoping for a good spring.