As Fall approaches, I find myself having mini-panic attacks. Two winters ago here in North Idaho, the real bad weather hit us in January, but February 2019 was brutal. And I had bred for February kiddings! It was tough, but we made it through. However, it was my first year with frostbite on baby ears and I felt so bad. It was also the first year my mom was onsite at their property(where the goats are) and she had a hard time emotionally with the kiddings, since she had no experience. We had one stillborn, so she took that hard, but I was used to that risk.
So taking into consideration last kidding season, I've determined to breed the beginning of November so I have early April kids. I was also considering starting an AI program this year, but I really want to do it right, so I'm just going to collect the semen I want and then next Fall will be my first AI. Whoohoo!
I still find myself in possession of too many bucks. I got up to 9 at one point! I have two Spring bucklings I'm bringing up, and 5 big boys in the pen. I want to get down to Caladbolg, Klondike, Wizard and Celeborn. So that means Lunar Outlaw, Kai Moon and Moonlight HZ have to go. I will be trying to do a blood draw on those three this week so I can get them tested and ready to sell. Lunar Outlaw does have a date with Moon in November and a date in September, but the other two can go anytime.
On a different note, don't cringe, but my breeding philosophy so far has been mostly aesthetic. I'm not ignoring LA data or pedigrees or milk stats. I'm just giving pet traits more weight than seasoned breeders might think I should. With this breed, many would cringe on the basis of breed improvement, but there is a huge pet market for Nigerians. In my estimation, the pet market allows me to keep breeding by providing an outlet to sell kids I can't or don't want to keep. I suppose I could sell for meat, but I haven't gotten that desperate yet. So I've been compounding pet features because those phenotype/genotypes are easy for me to understand so far. This Fall's breedings will be a continuation of this breeding plan. I'm still playing pokemon with goats, gotta collected them all!!
However, I've been doing research on the AI side on things. Right now, as far as I know, the majority of my does are in the low to mid 80s range for LA. Starting Fall 2020, I will be embarking on a breeding plan that will focus more on milking and showing. I've always been a bit of a math geek, so I approach goat breeding like "show me the inputs and outputs" and I'll come up with my own way of doing things. I do this in most aspects of my life. I'm very much an out of the box thinker, sometimes this helps me find a solution to a problem that is new and different. Most of the time I just learn the hard way what everyone else already knew. *shrug*
So I guess the short of it is that I'm packing my herd full of pretty colors and then I'm going to raise their quality from there by bringing in quality semen. Should be fun!