After much anticipation the first of our 2009 kids arrived without incident yesterday. TWIN GIRLS ! Yeah ! The nanny, Allie or BWBA #9, is one of our oldest mothers this year. The new kids are BWBA #402 and BWBA #403. Both are healthy girls. They arrived a bit earlier than we had calculated but that was an arithmetic error on our part.
Yesterday and today we sheared our pregnant nanny goats – 35 in all. This is about 20 less than we had planned on kidding but that’s the way things go sometimes. On the plus side is that all of our girls looked great and we will not mind the shortened kidding season at all ! Sometimes an unexpected break is a good thing. Now in just about another week, we should have our first kids of 2009. Can’t wait ! Many pictures to follow.
Well, we’ve reached a milestone in the countdown to kidding time. Tonight we put the nannies in the barn. Tomorrow and Thursday we shear. Then we wait, and check, wait some more, check some more. The first kid of 2009 will be goat # 402. Hard for us to believe that we have had 401 Angora kids born on the farm. This number pales in comparison to Texas Angora numbers but for us it represents 15 + years of painstakingly breeding for a “better” fiber animal. Progress is slow. Rule of thumb is it may take 10 generations to breed finer fiber onto your animals. We have focused on this trait in our herd. Fine fiber is what goes into our products. The longer an animal produces a fine grade of hair, the more productive the animal is for us. With little exception, all of our adult animals are producing a kid or yearling grade of fiber. Most of our fiber is sold “raw” to other fiber mills and farms, or used for our own products – we only use kid. Any fiber we do not use is shipped to warehouses in Texas where customers come from all over the world to purchase high quality American mohair.
So, tomorrow we begin our spring harvest….
Today we are processing fiber. This is generally what we do during the winter months. Other than the daily farm chores there’s not a lot of things we can do outdoors with a foot of ice and snow on the ground. The barn is pretty much set for our kids to arrive and next week we shear our 35 pregnant nannies. Thankfully it is supposed to be above freezing for the next week so maybe some of the snow and ice will melt and we’ll feel a hint of spring in the air. Elvis ( pictured above) is ready for some baby goat action as well.
Just a couple of weeks from now we’ll have a new “crop” of kids ! That’s right, our main farm crop is our fiber babies – kids and lambs. These animals represent our farm’s future in both breeding stock potential and fiber production. Each day brings the excitement associated with opening a gift – we wonder with each potential birth, what’s inside ?
Before the kids arrive though we will be shearing the mothers, our nannies. The majority of our nannies are experienced mothers, but we always have a few “first timers” that sometime need a hand getting started. We do around the clock barn checks and only help out when needed.
Angora kids can be delicate the first few hours of life, especially when its cold outside. While our goats kid indoors in the relative warmth of the barn, we are always there checking to make sure everything is ok. Besides, we want to be there when our gifts are opened – there’s NOTHING cuter than a baby goat !
Our apologies to all you humans out there – no offense meant.
46 Days ‘Til Spring
The other day we were the recipients of yet one more snow, ice and rain storm combo.
Our solar panels were covered with a sheet of ice as was everything else. There is even a sheet of ice on top of the snow. This makes for a lot of slipping and sliding by all concerned. Where’s spring ? What did Punxsutawney Phil say ? 6 more weeks of the white stuff ! Rats ! -or should I say Ground Hogs !