Well, today was the day that the boys and girls got put together to make our June babies. I really agonized over what to do because of the genetic defect in our herd. I don’t want to pass it on. I don’t have a test to get rid of it. I did talk a bit with the vet when he was here to re-cast Millie’s horns, and after even more agonizing I think I have a plan. I don’t know if it’s a good one or not, but it is a plan.
First I sorted the goats into groups to add the boys. One group doesn’t get a boy with them. They seem to be enjoying their half of the barn. They get some of the best basking places on sunny afternoons. You’ll notice the two Nigerian Dwarfs are not getting put in with a big buck. My retired girls~Minnie and Cutie are here. Meg isn’t getting bred because of her sore hoof. Stormy is also in this group. She was horrible sick with her triplets this spring, and I just can’t get the last of her cough to clear up, so she’s at least taking the year off.
Scarlet is in about the same situation. Triplets two years in a row and our bad weather has earned her the right to retire. Right now she has two of her kids with her. Casey will stay in this pen for his Maa’s protection, but I’m undecided on whether or not Cookie will get bred.
Then there’s Kizzy. She gives everything to her kids, and she just hasn’t picked up weight since they were weaned the way I would like. She’s without a buck right now, but if she gains weight and looks better, she might go in with a boy.
There are four girls already bred. Millie and Joe were bred by Marley (not my choice) when he escaped. They are both due on March 2.
Bambi and Pam were put with Boeris for spring break babies, and they are due March 21st and 22nd.
For some strange reason, Jelly ended up in this group too. I’ll probably try to catch her and move her in with Fionn.
The Second group gets the other half of the barn. The first thing the vet recommended is to get totally new blood into the herd. That’s where Boeris van de Yell comes in. The odds of him having the same genetic defect is pretty darn small. He will be the primary breeding buck for the herd. Breeding him to my girls that I know are carriers should stop me from losing anymore kids. The girls that I know are carriers will not get to keep babies. Remember I am allowed to change my mind when my heart says I have to.
He still has a bit to learn about romancing the girls. Jilly was not really impressed. She would have been yesterday, but today the hormones were already wearing off.
Still, she could settle and give us the first kids of June.
Muffin and Helen are in this group, but I think Boeris already bred him the one day he escaped. That means they are due May 12th. Lily is in here also, and I don’t know if Marley bred her when he did Joe and Millie or if she is just fat and has hormonal issues.
This group also has the two wethers in it. Osmo and Boeris had already been together and getting along. I wanted Bud to be able to stay with his twin sister since they’ve never been apart. So far Boeris and Bud have had a couple of minor spats. This is mostly because Bud is chivalrous and protecting his girl friends.
Vixen appreciated Bud’s efforts to keep her safe from the boy. She’s without her maa now, and that will be quite a shock for her. All told, Boeris will have fifteen or sixteen girls to breed.
Another thing I am doing, is on-farm breeding tests with the goats. This will be an experiment to see if I lose kids. The third group is on the south end of the barnyard. Marley is a carrier of the genetic defect from his maa Scarlet. He is the one that is killing me. I kept him because his daddy got too big (185 pounds) and still wanted to play with me like when he was a little kid. It became dangerous to keep him, so I kept Marley to carry on the Osboer name. After all, my first buck was Ozzy Osboer, and I really want to keep the line going. His long-term future is still in question.
For this year, however, I have three (possibly four) girls that I will breed to him. They have all had kids with him or another carrier of this defect but not lost kids. That means I think they are normal. They just haven’t had quite enough for me to be convinced that it is probable that they are normal. Annie (in front above) has had three kids and one grandkid with bucks that are carriers. Pebbles has had two with a certain carrier and three with a possible carrier. Penny had twins with Marley last year.
Because I assume they are normal, any kid with Marley would not die. It seems to be pretty consistent that when two carriers are bred 25% of their kids are affected and die. I do not plan on keeping these kids, but it will help me know with a bit more certainty that they are does that I can keep kids from in the future. There are other girls that I’d like to test, but they haven’t had enough kids for one more breeding to make me feel confident, or they are Marley’s sisters, and I don’t want to breed them to him. He will have three or four girls to breed.
Finally, I have Fionn with his girls on the north end of the barnyard. Fionn is Marley’s kid. I believe his mother Annie is normal, but there is a fifty percent chance he’s a carrier because of Marley. I’d give anything to know he was normal. He’s my hope for carrying on the Osboer line.
His girls are a test for him, and he is a test for them. He gets nine or ten girls. There are five that were born last March. They are all from Red, who has a fifty percent chance of being a carrier. Their maas are all girls that I think are normal. They could be carriers. If they lose a kid, then I know both Fionn and that girl are carriers. If I don’t lose any, it doesn’t tell me anything about the girls, and it doesn’t tell me anything about Fionn.
Of the other five girls, two are Jack’s kids and have a fifty percent chance of being carriers. The other three are Flash’s daughters. They have to be carriers because he died of the disorder last summer. There’s even a chance that they could be affected because their mothers could also be carriers, but I don’t know. Their moms are two the girls I can’t put with Marley because they are his sisters.
If they do not lose a kid, there’s a really good chance that Fionn is normal.
The last part of the plan is making sure all the bucks born are banded. I don’t want to pass this on. It’s especially important that any male doesn’t get used for breeding because they would pass it on to half of their kids making it a problem throughout the entire herd. That’s how I ended up in this situation.
Please I don’t want people to freak out over the possibility of losing kids. The chances of having an affected kid are very slight even if you have carriers. I have a large enough herd, that I have enough kids born for it to be noticeable. This year I will have about thirty girls having kids. That’s more than I’ve ever bred before. Wish me luck.