Tag Archives: Boer goat

The light at the end of the tunnel

More months have gone by, time seems to go quicker than ever.

I had a successful kidding, which means no real disasters, although at times a bit stressful as I started to go back to work when a few where still due. Night-shift and a relaxed attitude are not me!

Some of the kids where rather small at birth, but all by a few have caught up. My adults do a good job raising them.

kids sitting on hayrack

rest before action

It turned out there are resistances to multiple wormers which caused considerable trouble, but at the moment I seem to have it under control. Nevertheless it is a major concern, in this wet climate parasites thrive.

A while ago I made the decision to move again, which is a long drawn out business when land and livestock are involved. At last it seems to be happening.

The main reasons are the missing infrastructure here, my “local” abattoir is 45 miles away. a 1 & 1/2 hour trip one way. By the time I pick up the meat I traveled 180miles! More local abattoirs where just messing me about or did a sloppy job. With these huge distances involved it is very difficult to run a profitable business, not only because of the fuel expenses, it is also the  time spent sitting behind a wheel. To me as well sustainability is a main concern and I can’t really plead to buy local where the cut-off point is about 65 miles.

My animals don’t seem to be very happy here either, so since I love to please them 🙂 I thought to look for  newer and greener pastures…

Details will follow in further posts, I am a bit superstitious counting the chickens before they hatch.

Talking of which, after months of confinement the ducks and chickens can again enjoy their freedom and I was looking forward to some healthy happy and free ranged eggs. Non of the chickens seemed to be laying much until I spotted Gerald my Patterdale to going in the henhouse, taking one egg after another, enjoying a mid-day snack!

Well, I put an end to that…

Since I have made friends in this area, I will be returning every so often, so my valued customers will still have the chance to buy my Boer goat meat as before.

I plan a few changes in my system of keeping and raising them, but more about that later.

At the moment I enjoy watching the kids play inside and out since the summer doesn’t seem to be too bad so far…

kid standing up on side of wheelbarrow :)

Oh, hello!

Another year end

As the year draws to an end, I realize how quick 2014 it has passed.

Not the best of years I have to say, no actual progress and loads of negativity. In October a goat kid was stolen, very sad and again very unsettling. Further unfortunate events mean that my breeding program has been jeopardized and I am not sure what is happening when yet. It looks like kidding will be split in two periods.

I planted a few trees and carried on observing this rush infested land and it turned out to be good to wait. With the strange weather patterns we had I got a good idea what is happening and what I can do now. It all takes time. This patch of land took years, even decades, to ruin by neglect and mindless use of heavy machines and it will take many years to get right again.

This seem to be something visitors and passers by don’t quite see! Constant remarks about the state of the fields and suggestion how to remedy the problems just dragged me down! Pouring and spraying chemicals on vast areas to get me out of a predicament seems to be general consent. I only see them as a quick fix, a sticky plaster rather than a cure. Yes, the state of the land is bad, and I am not sure whether I will have to resort to the chemical solution or whether I will find an alternative. Since it seems to be impossible to find contractors with useful tools and a will to work, the job will take longer doing it myself, but I can take the holistic approach slowly but effectively. At the end of the day I always have done what I believe in no matter how big the opposition or how difficult it was. I try harder not to get demoralized by other people and just hold on to my vision they can’t see!

Not all was bad, after a fashion I had my concrete floor in the goat shed and their yard, and now I see it as a blessing. The whole area is clean and bright, easy to work in and the foot problem seems to be under control. Unsuitable genetics and the constant wet when we moved here, as well as an overaged population of goats contributed to the scald and rot.

So, everything with chronic foot ailments and those beyond a certain age had to go. Removing the infection improved the situation dramatically.

I have, for years, worked hard on developing a herd of Boer goats capable of living on the poor ground and the wet climate. I have made progress, although I sometimes doubted whether the Boers a suitable for anything else than intensive systems with loads of processed feed. I am now left with a small herd of young animals well adapted to an extensive summer system and being yarded in the wet winter.

It is also very interesting to notice that changes are very slow to adapt to by animals. We move them around from one part of the country to the next, to totally different systems of doing things always expecting them to go along and perform their best. The longer I observe their behaviour and learn about their nature the more I see that animals are very rooted in their surroundings.

I have sold a few kids, it looks like to forever homes, I have kept some for myself and I must say that this years was very good, they have done well.

Boer kid on hay rack

Dana

My Fjord horse had a colt foal, now six months old, so she was on maternity leave for part of the year. He will be weaned now and I can carry on with light work with my horse. The foal will come up for sale, there is no use for too many animals on the ground until it has been restored. Also it is sometimes tricky to do everything single handed, so I will leave the training to those who have the time, help and the facility for doing a good job.

Fjord foal

Dag 4mths

My Mastino pup Pinto has almost grown up, he still likes to devastate the place by raiding bins, playing with flowerpots (with and without inhabitants!) shredding anything he can and stealing my shoes. He has stopped chasing goats, he leaves the ducks and chickens alone and doesn’t mind the horses. After the goat was stolen he is out on the yard and at night he has access to all fields as well. Feral cats and foxes seem to be under control so far and he is a good friend for Gerald.

 

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And finally I have started to go to food festivals and selling the meat again. I missed that I have to admit.

I have tried various abattoirs and butchers last year, but I was not satisfied with the work they’ve done. Now I go back to the one I have used years ago and I am happy with the job. They are sadly a way away, there is always a waiting list, but I get my carcasses hung and butchered to specification, and they do a tidy job!

I have more plans for 2015 to add to my product list, but for now I can recommend winter-warming spicy hot dishes with my delicious diced Boer goat meat 🙂

For me Christmas time is a time of reflection, introspection. A time to close a chapter and get ready for the new.

Thinking about life’s lessons, experiences dreams and whatever else has happened this year, it is all in the past. The days are getting longer now, soon it will be spring and a new cycle will start with all its riches, new experiences and new ideas. I am looking forward to 2015 and it is up to me to make the best of it.

I wish all of you, dear readers, a happy new year, health, prosperity and that your dreams come true!