Goats are a relatively new addition to our ranch but they wasted no time in establishing a big presence here. Our herd of Spanish goats has its roots in Uvalde county, Texas. We thought they'd be a good idea because:
1) They don't eat (much of) what cows eat. They are supposed to eat weeds like star thistle and blackberry bushes.
2) We have trouble with star thistle and blackberries taking over our pastures.
3) The management met a goat she really liked in Colorado and never quite got over it.
As it turns out, these goats really do eat star thistle and blackberry bushes. These girls have come to call California home
and happily roam across our pastures with an entourage of two livestock
guardian dogs (Jake and Faye-- heads of security and general goings-on)
and a llama (Kelly-- champion giver of stink-eye and midwife extraordinaire).
Our Spanish goats are proving themselves to be hardy, parasite resistant, and excellent mothers. And they are part of a legacy of heritage breeds that shaped the United States. To learn more about the breed, check out these sites:
Our Goat Health Program
Our goats are roaming the ranch on brush patrol about eleven months a year. That twelfth month, which happens to be in February, they are kept in a smaller pasture and supplemented with hay and a bite or two of grain (bribery, more than anything else--goats are scandalous and will happily go most places for a treat). Closer quarters are necessary in February because its kidding season, and the small pasture assures easy access to shelter (The Goat House) and keeps all the new kids in one spot which makes life much easier for Jake and Faye, who make sure nobody ends up as a snack. Nearly all of our does kid unassisted but it helps to have them up close just in case.
At a week or two of age, kids are vaccinated, banded (if male and not one of the chosen few replacement bucks), tagged, and given a couple more days to lounge in the maternity ward before they are off to start keeping up with mom. Moms are watched carefully the first couple months after kidding for signs of parasites or other health problems. We try not to worm everybody -- we only worm the does that need it. Kids never get wormed if going to market.The entire herd cruises the ranch nibbling on this and that till late May, when kids that are going to new homes for brush control or starter herds are weaned and sent to new owners. Then its back out till the end of August, when market weathers are sold and the bucks are turned in with the girls to get next years kid crop underway. In November everyone comes in to get their annual vaccination, to boost the immunity of the doe and her next kid, and before you know it its February again!
| Bred Does
| Mature Bucks