A journal of our day to day; homesteading and homeschooling in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Doelings and decisions
Xoe kidded last night to two handsome black and tan bucklings. Pictures coming. That wraps up our 2011 kidding season. We now have five milking does, four doelings and five bucklings. One buckling is sold as a registered buck for breeding. We are planning on keeping two doelings and two doelings are reserved - but I haven't decided which to sell. We've been putting much thought into the decision. Above is Bella, (Belladonna). Her sister, Blue (Bluebell), is below. They are twin doelings out of first time freshener Zinnia and our new buck Zanzibar. Zinnia is Rose's first and only daughter until this year's Bramble. Rose is our biggest producer, milking close to a gallon twice a day. She put's everything she has into making milk, and as a result is looking rather shabby at the moment, but we are trying to help her out by feeding her extra grain, alfalfa and extra calcium. Both Rose and Zinnia have lovely wide round udders. They have good teat size and placement as well as udder attachment. Rose's weakness has been that we bred her young and as she is on the petite side, her feet have rolled inwards a bit and need trimmed often. We didn't breed Zinnia until her second fall, so she didn't have the same problem as her dam. She does look like she is following in her mother's footsteps putting all she has into making milk.
Her daughter's are our biggest, strongest doelings. They are tall, long and level. They are very pretty. We haven't bonded with them as much as the other kids, because their dam is so over protective over them and steers them away from us if she can. I feel like I should keep one of them, in part because they such big handsome girls, two, because it will break Zin's heart if I sell both her daughters, and three which should have been first, because of how great Zinnia is looking and how lovely her udder has turned out.
Above is Xanadu's doeling. She doesn't look like much yet as she is just three weeks old and the runt of triplets. I love her coloring. She is very spunky, curious and affectionate. I've handled her a bunch and would love to keep her. Reasons why I may sell her are one: I kept Xanadu's first doeling Avalon from last year, so Xan has a young daughter in the herd. Two, the other doelings look more impressive as they are older, so I really just need to give her a few weeks to grow into herself, and three, I'm thinking of repeating the same breeding next year - although that would be the year to get triplet bucklings out of Xan. With Zanzibar and Zoro both being new bucks, I'd like to keep a daughter out of each of them.
Bramble Rose is the kid's favorite. She has been a lovable friendly doeling from the get go and that means a lot. I am generally tempted to keep the friendliest doelings and not just the handsomest. Bramble is Rose's daughter and Zinnia's half sister, so I'm expecting big things from her, a big producer with a large wide lovely udder for starters. If Rose has a white, cream colored or flashy pinto doeling I will have to keep her, and as I'm thinking of breeding Rose to Zanzibar this fall, there is a likely chance of that. So I almost feel as though I should sell Bramble and keep a Rose doeling next year. But on the other hand Bramble is our first doeling out of Zoro. Zoro was out of one of our best does Maggie, who came to us from Lucky Star farms and was a beautiful doe who out produced Rose, and also had a lovely wide round udder with great teat shape and size - who on top of all that continued to gain weight and look great while increasing her milk production throughout the season. So, when I think of putting Maggie's granddaughter together with Rose, I think: keeper.
Taking pictures of these girls is impossible, as all they want to do is climb and play on us and not stand still.
Above, Bramble, looking a little furry and stout. Below, Blue and Bella. Zuri, back right.
Xanadu's doeling again. Still not named. Brazil? Bali? Suggestions anyone? Mythical or exotic B place names?
Noah, playing with the goats.
Me, playing with the goats. Goofy pictures.
Decisions, decisions. We are trying to keep our number of does around eight. Eight is a great number. Five to six does, kidding each year and being milked is a reasonable number. This year we are selling Xoe, one of our first does. Which will leave us with Rose and Xan, both strong milkers with great udders, Zuri and Zinnia, both impressive and lovely first timers we are excited about. We've got Asia and Avalon, both one and a half year olds ready to be bred first thing this fall. Which gives us six milkers for next spring. With room for two doelings to grow. I don't even want to think about who I'm going to have to sell next spring if we want to keep doelings- which of course we will. I've wanted all the does to get to keep their first daughter, but we can only do that for so long. This is the problem with goats, you can't just have one, or two, or a dozen, or I suppose a more disciplined individual can.
We are a family of four (with one more on the way), living in the Arctic Boreal Forest above Fairbanks, in the Interior of Alaska. I write about our simple life and trying to keep our life simple in a day when the typical American life is anything but. When I first started writing this blog I had a toddler and a baby and we were a growing homestead. I wanted to share our day to day and all the lessons we learned along the way, from mixing our own chicken feed to goat kidding season and cheese making. As our children have grown, home schooling has really taken over and I have had to examine every aspect of our lives to keep our days simple yet fruitful. These days you will still find me posting and sharing pictures of our chickens and garden, berry picking and salmon processing. I also hope to be writing about home schooling decisions and lessons as well as other interests and hobbies the kids and I explore. Reader interest and feedback is what keeps me writing, so please leave lots of comments!
The here and now of our homestead is what I'm writing about. Compelled by a sense that we are participating in something significant, heading back to our roots... this is my attempt to share what we are learning along our journey. For those of you on similar paths, whether you are raising kids, a flock of chickens, a couple goats or run a farm, well I'm hoping to learn from you as well, so feel free to put in your two cents!