Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!!

We reflect on the past year and give thanks for all the good times and good people we have had the opportunity to meet.  2011 will be another beginning to improve our milking herd of Nigerians even more.  The milk test will let us know how we are doing.

We are on the edge of our seats waiting for UDiamond to kid.  We call her Diamond and she is a Diva. She is a Uni Daughter sired by Galaxy.  She will be two in February and she is bagged up and ready to kid by Mr General.  Her udder is really nice already and she is such a beautiful doe.  This breeding is bringing together Eclipse, Tiger and Uni.  Mr General is line bred on Eclipse and has produced very consistent wide rears and beautiful toplines.  Diamond is already perfect and really is spectacular when she is clipped up with her golden, glistening coat.  We just need to verify her greatness in the milk pail.  She knows she is special and struts her stuff like the queen she is.  She is a sweet heart and loves her mom...

Mr General's first daughters as yearlings will be kidding in 2011.  Galloway is bagging up (BOB and Jr Doe), Brat's daughter by Mr General, Rosa, and several others.  Pay Off is just starting to bag up by Mr General son, Mr Marine.  One daughter out of Silver by Mr General has kidded, but she is very small  (snow granddaughter) and her udder is good, but not spectacular.  She kidded before a year old and was a triplet.  She had a single doe who is so fat she can hardly walk.  I plan on milking her a bit to see how much she is producing, but will wait until next year to see what she can really do in the milk pail.  The baby doe is beautiful and we will grow her out a bit to see how she matures.  Both the mom and baby are very friendly and the baby pesky.  It is neat how some goats are just friendly and seek out attention, while others prefer to stay at a distance and just watch you...

Have a Great New Year and be safe!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Wishes to All...

It is Christmas Eve and we are working to milk the girls and get everyone ready for the Christmas Holiday.  We want to thank all our Clients and Customers for a wonderful 2010.  We could not have accomplished our goals without your support.  Thank You Everyone!!
We plan to work even harder for 2011 and bring you more GOATS THAT MILK and sheep and goat products of outstanding quality.

Since our Blogger does not seem to give a darn about the picture upload not working, we are not sure what to do.  We may just do a monthly newsletter to let folks know what is happening.  We have so many folks who enjoy our blog, but if we can no longer up load pictures...  It is of little value.  Especally since I love to photograph everything and let folks see through my eyes...

We appreciate you all and want to wish you a Merry Christmas and an even better New Year for 2011!!
Thank you,
Terry Babb
Oldesouth Farm

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Heading into the Holidays...

Time moves to fast for me...  Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas Season is upon us.  Our weather went from warm to cold again and we are checking for snotty noses on our young kids.  Extra bedding and full bellies keep the babies warm.

We are preparing to go on DHIR (Dairy Herd Improvement Registry) Test and working out the many details.  Once we get going, things will sort themselves out.  We have been milking with the Capralite Machine, which has been wonderful, once a day, until the kids are weaned.  We will milk twice a day once the kids are weaned.  We are milking 8 does now, until several others freshen.  We have several kids who are half bottle babies.  What does that mean??  We are milking mom in the morning and if she has triplets, we need to bottle them to keep the kids from attacking mom and biting teats while they fight for a teat.  We have a couple of kids who have just decided they want some bottle too and show up for a snack.  This tames the kids, but gives us the flexibity to not have to bottle them while at work.  The kids have mom during the day, until moms are locked up at night for morning milking.

The fresh Nigerian milk is wonderful and the cheese even better.  The yield of cheese, with the Nigerians, compared to the Nubian is almost double.  Nigerians have more milk fat and protein.  The smaller teats of the Nigerian makes it difficult to hand milk.  My hands are large and shot from hand milking.  My Nubian Ariel is hand milked because she has large teats and it takes just a few minutes to milk her.  We will be the FIRST and ONLY Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Herd on DHI test in Alabama! 

As our does freshen, we will milk them and decide who to keep and who to move on.  These does will be used to milking both with a machine and by hand.  We do have a waiting list for milk stand trained goats.  If you are interested in a home milker, let us know and we will add you to the list.  These will not be record breaking producers, but will give enough milk for the average family.  Some may even end up quite nice down the road if one continues to milk them.  The more you milk your goats, the more milk they will produce.  The less you milk, the less they produce.  It looks like the blogger photo insertion is not working, so we will cut this short and add photos at another time.  I have some great shots of Oldesouth Blue Alexa's second freshening udder.  It is really nice and she is milking over a pound and a half once a day.  She may just qualify for her star this year.  We will wait and see.  The cold weather has the girls giving less milk.  They milk the best at about 50 to 70 degrees.  I think this will ease up once the girls get used to the colder weather. 

We are going to move in another large storage shed type building to make into a milking Parlor and clean up area.  It will be heated and cooled and have hot & cold running water.  It will be a joy to milk, no matter the weather.  It will not be Grade A or anything, but comfortable for us and the girls.  We won't have the water dripping on our heads either.  When we have frost on the metal buildings, as soon as the sun comes up and it begins to thaw, it is like a rain forest dripping on us.  It is absolutely miserable...  Enough for now...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving is near...

As Thanksgiving approaches, Mr Paul tells me we are going to have one of the Tom Turkeys for dinner.  I can not eat either one of them and they would dress out at a huge weight.  Who is going to eat all that turkey?  We still have turkey and ham vacuum packed from last year.  That was my excuse for not killing my beautiful Turkeys.  The one below is suppose to be a Royal Palm.  But he has some tan on him as well.  His build is lighter then the Broad Breasted Bronze Turkey.  The Palm and his hen can roost on the gates.  The Bronze Turkeys are to big to fly or even roost up high and sleep on the ground with the guardian dogs.

This is the group of Toms, pictured below.  You can see the difference in size and width of the two different breeds.

 Another shot of the three Toms.  The Broad Breasted Bronze Turkeys are molting and still growing new tail feathers.  The Royal Palm in the back is a younger Tom, probably 3 months younger then the big boys.
My favorite Tom is this one to the right.  He looks like he has apples hanging.  They are very tame and will let you pet them and will come running up to you like a herd of dinosaurs.  Tom is still bringing in new tail feathers and wing feathers.  He will be really beautiful next year when he has a beard.

The weather keeps fluctuating from Hot to Cold and we have had some frost. With the hot and cold fluctuations, the young kids get snotty noses.  We have to watch closely or we can loose a baby or two to pneumonia.   We have a bunch of kids at the moment.

The last blog had Annie Oakley very pregnant and she had quad bucks.  Two will be offered as bucks and Annie has one heck of an udder this year.  Then things really got going and Thundersnow, Silver Queen, Brat, AnnaLynn, Sweet Caroline, Onyx, and then Amber Blue kidded within days of each other.  We had the lambing pens full of goat moms with kids.  They sure are handy and recommend them for kidding or lambing.  They fold up and can be stacked alongside a building when not in use.  Will get pictures of everyone For Sale on the Goat Sales Page shortly.

We have finally made the decision to bite the bullet and go for the Capralite Milker from Furney Register.  We considered a reworked cow milker from a fella on EBay who collects the old bellie cow milkers and retro fits them for goats with a reworked pump.  The price was half of a new milker, but upon further questioning the fella, he did not respond to emails.  That, to me, was a good indication of after the purchase service.  It would really suck if it was junk and I would have to pay for the new milker anyway.

Furney from Capralite is a character and even answers his own phone when you call him.  We received the machine and called Furney and he talked us through the set up and was fantastic.  I highly recommend him and the machine has been working great.  I am milking ten Nigerian does in the morning.  Their kids are a bit over 2 weeks of age.  I have one, Amber Blue who was being hand milked and was trained to the stand when we received the machine.  She is a first freshener and is taking to the machine well.  She is a daughter of Butter and we hope to get her miking like her mom who has given half a gallon when she first freshened.  The other does are still getting used to the whole thing and of course we have Brat in the line up.  Actually she is doing well, not throwing herself on the ground anymore...  I am milking Blue as well and her baby is ready to wean.  Blue is used to being hand milked and does not mind the machine at all.

Alexa, Brat, AnnaLynn, and Sweet Caroline are milking the best so Far.  We are working the details out to go on test DHIA in January 2011.  Our Alabama DHIA is out of Auburn and we are working on details to become certified DHIA testers and arrange verification testing through our Alabama DHIA.  I was more then thrilled to learn we even had an Alabama DHIA!!

We have also made arrangements for a couple of One Day Milk Tests in January and February.   It is amazing how the girls are improving with their milk in just a weekend of machine milking.  I have some Chevre cheese going as I am typing and will drain it when I finish this blog...  Nigerian Milk is so rich and creamy, it makes spectacular cheese.

We went to the Peanut Festival at Dothan, Alabama and our Oldesouth Girls did very well. We came home with Grand and Reserve Senior and JR does and Brat took Best of Breed. She had just freshened two days prior to the show and is milked out in her picture.
We are done showing for this year and will put together a calender for next year shows. We are also planning linear appraisals (Physical Evaluations of each goat) for our herd and young stock. ADGA does rounds in the fall to Alabama, but most of my herd is dry during that time. We will either milk into that time, change breeding dates or do a special session.  Still considering options to get it all done.

Blue Amber, daughter of Oldesouth Blue Alexa won Reserve Champion Jr Doe.  She is a lovely doe like her mother and she is pregnant as well.

We will have pictures of the new babies shortly and will post the For Sale pictures as well.  The babies are all together and it is difficult to get pictures with out help to hold each kid to take a good picture of them, rather then a group of gangsters running around like a herd of bratty baby goats.
More later... it has been a busy week and need to go drain my Chevre cheese.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall needs to stay and Summer go away...

It has been HOT the last few days and humid.  Boy, I hate humid weather.  Still waiting for goats to kid.  Mr General sure took his time in getting the girls in a motherly way...  Big belly's everywhere, but still no babies.  Annie is pictured to the right and below.

Have checked on Annie Oakley twice, she is huge.  She is clipped up to go to a couple of shows, thinking she would kid prior to the show.  But she is holding out and  is way to pregnant to stress at a show.  She has been left home.  Annie herself is a quintuplet.  She had a single her first freshening, a beautiful doe, Oldesouth Galloway.  She looks like she has at least quads this time...
Annie is a really nice doe and so Dairy.  Her udder is great and she has perfect teat placement.  She is pictured very close to her second freshening.  Maybe she will kid today, will check her again shortly.

Fall color is coming slowly and photo to the right
shows the Pecan trees turning color.

Hannah our newest Heifer calf is pictured to the left.

These bantam chickens are an elderly couple.  Not sure exactly how old they are, but I have had them over 3 years and they were given to me.  Have not had eggs out of the hen in years so can only guess their age.  They are together all the time, like Grandma and Grandpa.

This is AnnaLynn, Blue's daughter by Buddy.  She is one of the does we are waiting on.  She will be freshening for her second time.  Her sister was beautiful and had a single doe, we named Reba.  Her udder was outstanding and I was sooo excited to have a yearling for the show ring.  Well, that was not meant to be and I found sister, who looked asleep, dead (never did find out the cause).  Reba was jumping on her back, trying to awaken her mom.  We started to bottle feed Reba and she was doing great.  When Reba was about a month old, AnnaLynn lost her kid and I had to help with the miscarriage.  I kept AnnaLynn in a stall with Reba, so I could check her and treat her if necessary.  Well, AnnaLynn adopted Reba and ended up raising her, milking fairly well for not being full term.  This pregnancy AnnaLynn looks really good and may even be as nice as her sister was.

This little rooster is a bantam brought to me by a friend.  Is he not beautiful, such color!
These two characters are Father(front) and Son (back).  This is Bubba and The Politician.   Both of these Nigerian Bucks are For Sale.  Check out our Goat Sales Page.  They are nice bucks, their height is within the standard, I estimate 22-23 inches and The Politician was shown last fall and they have the bucks pass under a measure stick as they enter the ring at most shows.  I have used these two bucks for years, Bubba is 5, Politician is 4 and they are ready to move on to another farm.

Enough for now, need to go check Annie...

Monday, October 18, 2010

We love October!!

October is my favorite month of the year.  I love the cooler weather and generally love Fall!  In the south we do not see fall colors until late October into November.  So, what have we been doing since the last post.  We have done a bunch....  I have been off from the hospital since October 1st and just went back today, the 18th.   Are you ready...  We did more then lay on a beach somewhere...

 We sheared the Icelandics and the pictures following are the before pictures.  It is amazing at how much fleece can be grown since April.  The ewe to the right is Black Berry, with a yearling white ewe in the back ground.
 The photo to the left is Sarah and a couple of yearling Icelandics waiting to she sheared.
 This is The Trump, before shearing.  He is always spectacular.  He was to big for me to put on a stand to shear and I sheared him tied to the fence.  He was no trouble and stood like the gentleman he is.

This is Saxon to the left.  His fleece was awsome this year.  Clean and sooo soft.  He has a golden color to his white wool.  It reminds me of the golden fleece fable.  When the sun hits it just right, his fleece will glisen in the sunlight.
My older ewe, Angie had a decent fleece, nothing to brag about.  But we had to reshear her from the half assed job the pro did, so she did not produce a long enough fleece this year.  But, she made it through the summer and is a great old gal.
 This character is Havvah, our spotted leader sheep ewe.  She is a chow hound and you can see she is the first to check out the feed bowl.  She had a great fleece this year and her daughter is behind her with a perfect horn set.  Havvah is one of my favorite ewes and our hardiest.
The photo to the left is Havvah again with her daughter Ulani, enjoying the cool fall after being shorn.
 This beautiful ewe is Black Berry.  She is a spectacular ewe and my favorite color is the gray.  Her lambs sired by Phantom were the only ones to survive the summer.  Her genetics are a treasure as well as her beautiful fleece.  She is built like a truck and has a nice hornset as well.
The ewe to the left is Crazy.  She is scurred and crazy as a bed bug.  But, she has an absolutely spectcular fleece and is very well built.  She leaps in the air like a horse jumping a fence and is the hardest one to catch.  Once caught, she is no problem, but gives us a run for our money...
 The photo to the right is Snow Man sheared.  He is a sweet heart, could use more butt, but is a long and thick ram.  His fleece was one of our best and he will stick around for awhile.  Our lamb crop for 2011 will be sired by Trump and Snow Man, with Saxon as clean up ram.
This is Sarah, a gray morrit ewe pictured to the left.
 This is goofy old Saxon sheared.  His fleece is why we keep him around and his disposition is the best I have ever seen.  I thought he was a bottle baby and emailed his breeder to find out he was not.  Saxon is just himself a sweet boy.  There is nothing he enjoys more then a scratch under the chin and a back scratch after being sheared.
This is a photo of the Trump as he was leaving.  The Trump is not mean, but not thrilled with handling.  He puts up with it all, but makes a quick exit when he has the chance.  He has a great build and is an easy keeper, requiring very little care, worming or general fuss.
 The little guy to the right is Amos.  He is a white Shetland ram lamb from Tenn.  We are going to use him as a back up sire behind Duncan.  We will remove Duncan from the ewes this week and put in this young ram to cover any ewes missed by Duncan.  He is very friendly little guy with a beautiful hornset and a super fine fleece.  He is pictured sheared.
The photo to the left is Saxon instructing the ram lambs on the rules of the pasture.  These are Trump sired lambs.

The picture to the right are some ram lambs sired by The Trump.  They show the main Icelandic colors, Black in the front, morrit in the middle and white at the rear.

We sheared 27 sheep, mostly Icelandics. My son, Tim and I sheared 13 in one day and I did the lambs and the rams after he went back to New Mexico. He is in the Air Force. We also sheared several Shetland lambs, harvesting the best lamb wool in the fall. Now the shetlands will be sheared once a year, in the spring. The Trump has a thick beautiful fleece, but it is not as soft as Snow man and Saxon.

October 1st, Fairla Jean-Louis finally was flown in from Harvard, Mass..  After all the details, he finally arrived.  He is a beautiful Nigerian Dwarf Buck and worth the effort.  He is a sweet heart on top of it all and now out of isolation, having a party with the ladies.  Louie, as we call him is a great little guy.  I have clipped him up a bit, but his coat was so thick, he was like trying to clip a wool sheep.  I did not want to clip him to short, because it is getting cold, in the high 40s at night.  He was rough on the small clipper blades, but looks decent.  I almost broke out The Judge (Oster Sheep Shears), we call the heavy monster clippers The Judge.  But, I did not want him that closely shorn.  Just wanted to see what he looked like under all that hair.

We also shaved 10 goats for the show in Montgomery and another show coming up in November at  Dothan, Alabama.  Of the 10, two were to pregnant to show.  The does are all pregnant and have not kidded when I expected.  Even Sweet Caroline has not kidded yet.  We showed them dry and we came home with Grand Champion Sr and Jr doe, Reserve Champion Sr and Jr doe, and Best of breed Nigerian.  We made some cash as well.  We will be traveling to the  Dothan Peanut Festival Goat show in November and that will be the last show of the season.

 The photo to the right is Brat taking Grand Champion Sr Doe at the Alabama National Fair in Mongtomery as a dry doe.
This is Sweet Caroline taking Reserve Champion Sr Doe at the Alabama National Fair in Montgomery.
 This is Oldesouth Galloway taking Grand Champion Jr Doe and Best of Breed in the Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  The show was the Alabama National Fair.

The picture to the left is UDiamond taking Reserve Jr Doe at the Alabama National Fair.  UDiamond is a Diva and you can see how proud she is for her win.  She is very jealous and does not like to place at the end of the line.  She is a special girl and we enjoy showing her as much as she enjoys showing.  She is pregnant with Mr General kids.

So while preparing goats, working with goats, etc, we also made a trip to Auburn to pick up a couple of older Nigerian Does from a friend of mine who is in nursing school.  The does are older, but good does and I would like to add them to my breeding program.  They are in isolation until their blood work comes back, CAE and Johnes.  We had the entire herd tested again, October 6. 2010, an annual event to make sure our goats are CAE and Johne's FREE.  We have a CAE negative herd and intend to keep it that way. Dr Doug Halbrook came out to draw the blood and it was sent directly to Washington State for the testing.  We should hear back this week with the results.  The two does missed the original testing and I hauled them to a local vet and sent their blood off as well.

Sunday, we traveled to Jackson, Mississippi to the Mississippi Fair to pick up our lastest buck.  He is Lost Valley PG Superb *S (right).  His dam is the number 1 top producing doe for 2009 AGS in Milk, Butterfat, and Protein.  ARMCH Lost Valley BDC Serabi 4*D/3*M.  His sire is also a champion, a Madison son.  He is a beautiful buck and we look forward to showing him next spring.

Yes, it is time to take a break and go back to work and rest.  The final photo is some fall color peaking out of the spanish moss of the oak trees out at the farm.  We hope you enjoyed our vacation and will stop by again to see what is going on at Oldesouth Farm....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall is Finally Here...!!!

Wow the weather has been wonderful, 70 to 80 degrees and low humidity.  All the sheep are happy and the goats are out sunning themselves.  We had a new calf born Sept 30th to our old cow Daisy.  She did not calve with the other cows this February and was a bit depressed over it.  Now she is strutting around like a queen with her new Heifer Calf.  She is small, Brutus calf, which is what we want, small calves that grow like crazy and are easy on the cows.

The picture below and to the right is the new Heifer calf.  She is black with white on her tail and white on her belly.  She is beautiful.  These photos were taken from a distance with a 200 lens.  Getting to close to a cow's new calf is not a good idea....

Look at the expression of the cow, below.  Can you see "That Look".  Daisy is a shy, unassuming cow who minds her own business.  Once the cow has a calf she switches to protector mode and can be very dangerous. Daisy is pictured below with her new calf.  The name of the calf is Hannah, named after Mr Paul's grand daughter, Hannah.  Mom has a nice full udder and this baby girl will grow like crazy.

See Daisy looking at me looking at her.  She is waiting to see if I am going to make a move on her calf.  You can see "The Look", which is hard to miss.  I saw the look in action when one of the protection dogs barked at her new calf.  Within a second she bellowed like a bull and charged at the fence the dog was behind.  It startled me to see her bellow and did not know she could move that fast.  She continued to bellow and pushed the bull out of the way during her BF.  The bull was startled as to what was going on.  Daisy immediately rounded up her calf and left, still snorting and had a couple more bellows to voice while rushing off.

Final words of wisdom.  Do not mess with a cow and her new calf, unless you have a pickup to keep her between you and the calf and keep the dogs out of the pasture.  Daisy taking her calf to safety below.
Below is a picture of our new buck Fairlea Jean-Louis *S.  He has jetted in from Harvard, Mass and is our Ivy League buck.  He has come from a long line of Milking, ARMCH dams and we have high hopes he will add to the udders and milk of our Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats.  He is really wide in the rear and has an awesome top line.  Check out the Buck Page on our website for more info and pictures of his mom, grand mom, and great grand mom.  They are awesome does who milk.

Blue is pictured below with her triplets.  She had two bucks and a doe.  The bucks are in the back and the doe is up front with blue.  The doe is reserved, but the two bucks are available. They are listed on our website in the Goat Sales Page.

We have 10 goats to prepare for a couple of shows and the Icelandics to shear.  We will be very busy the next week.  Our Vet is coming out next week as well to pull blood for our annual CAE testing.  We are going to test 8 sheep for OPP too.

Enough for now, must get back to work....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Wait for Fall Continues...

The short break in the weather is over and we went back to HOT.  Saturday we had some rain and now we are cooled off and it is beautiful.  I love this fall, low humidity weather.  It is in the 80s during the day and down to 55 at night, which is a bit chilly for us.  We need more rain and am gearing up for October shearing.  I am going to shear Icelandic sheep and lambs and the shetland lambs.  Already have 4 done. 

 One of our icelandic lambs is pictured to the left.  The Icelandics are sheared in the fall and the spring.  The fall fleece is the best fleece.  We make the spring fleece into felting sheets.
 Duncan, our shetland ram is pictured to the right and his fleece will be sheared next spring.  He is in his breeding pen with his ewes.  We had to cut his horns because they were pushing into his face.  He is much happier and doing great with them removed.  We tried to keep as much as we could to keep him comfortable and  him still be handsome.

We have worked the Icelandic Sheep and removed the CIDR inserts.  We put the rams out as planned.  Did not see anyone in heat, so we are not sure if it worked or not.  The Icelandics are secretive and shy with their honey mooning, so we will not know if they worked until next spring.

The Trump is pictured above and really has a nice fleece this year.

Our herd of goats are gearing up for October kidding.  Blue kidded Sept. 18th with triplets.  The bucks are For Sale and the doe is reserved.  Blue is pictured to the right with her daughter AnnaLynn who is very pregnant.  She is sired by Buddy and is bred to Mr General.

The triplets pictured to the left are Blue's kids sired by Oldesouth Black Panther.  The bucks in the fore ground are for sale.

I think the two Boer does (Hestia & Sally) will kid soon as well,  my guess is the end of October, first part of November.  Sweet Caroline and  Blue's Daughter "AnnaLynn" are bagging up too.  Thundersnow is starting to bag up (that means they are getting milk in their udders).  Butter's daughter is just beginning to bag.  UDiamond looks pregnant, but not bagging yet.  This doe has been giving me heartburn for some time, waiting for kids and dying to see what her udder will look like.  UDiamond is a Diva and struts around like a rock star.  I keep asking her when she is going to have some kids and she just parades off like a queen...

Mr Paul has cut more hay and we have round baled this cutting for the cows, horses and pastured sheep for winter.  We will plant rye grass on these pastures for winter grazing.  We want to disc up a pasture and reseed with coastal and winter wheat.  As usual, the weather has not been in favor for winter pasture.  It is ether to wet or to dry.

We need to run electric and water to the new barn.  We will trench to the barn and put both water and power lines into the same trench.  With the days getting shorter, we will need lighting shortly.

Have been pricing and looking at different milking machines for the goats.  I hope to milk 10 to 15 goats this fall and winter.  We have not decided on which one yet, but will let everyone know once we freshen several does.  Milking the small goats by hand is very difficult.  I have been breeding for larger teats and have some who are easy to milk, but the first fresheners are still pretty small.  Ariel, my Nubian is a breeze to milk with her large teats.  She will be milked by hand.  She is due to freshen in November.  We will be doing more one day milk tests and still trying to figure out the DHI.  There are several ways of doing the DHI and it is confusing.

Enough for now...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Labor Day...

I hope everone has had a wonderful Holiday Weekend. What spectacular weather we have had!  It really is to bad I have had to work Friday through Labor Day!  The weather has been in the 80's, humidity not to bad and it feels like fall.  My bucks are going CRAZY with this cool spell.  They are snorting, hollaring and generally being old Billy Goats!  Love is in the air... at Oldesouth Farm.

I have sent a young Nigerian doe home with a friend of mine here near Selma.  Her name is Oldesouth Blue Freckles and she is out of Oldesouth Christmas Eve, sired by Rosasharn MR General B *S.  She had been a problem child for some time with a few health problems which have worked themselves out.  She has the signature topline and wide rear The General puts on all his kids.  Freckles has bright blue eyes and with her red spotting on a white back ground makes her stand out in a crowd. She will be another one to watch for the future.  She is pictured to the left and below, standing natural without positioning.

These pictures were taken by Kerri Dutreil and emailed to me.  She is enjoying Freckles and has a couple other goats from Oldesouth, Reba & Sequoia who are rotten girls.  We are working on a competive show string for 2011 and this young doe may be one of the contenders.

I am still working out the details on bringing two new young sires into our Nigerian Herd.  I can not say who they are until everything is finalized and they arrive at the farm.  I really need a couple of nice bucks to breed to my General daughters and then line breed from there.  Both new bucks will have to have MEGA milk in their pedigrees and Conformation.  Both bucks are stared and I love ARMCH moms.  I hope to have an entire herd of ARMCH goats in the future.  That is our goal... 

What is an ARMCH?  This is actually two awards given to both bucks and does who earn their conformation Championship and Advanced Registry Program requirements (MILK).  These does participate in DHIR (Dairy Herd Improvement Registry), which is a lactation usually of 305 days.  This is with the American Goat Society.  A doe can earn both her AR and a star title *D.  The star means the doe has met the minimum requirements with milk or butterfat during any 305 day or less lactation.  It is a measure of both milk production and conformational excellence.  Bucks earn the AR titles through their daughters and inherit their stars from their moms.  Of course the conformation MCH is earned by the buck.

We have already put the Cheviots into their breeding pen with a young ram from Washington State.  His name is Victor and he is tiny.  Even smaller then Mini Long Tail.  He came from the Washington State Herd of tiny Mini Cheviots.  I bought two rams last year and one did not survive.  Victor did and he is ready for the girls.  We will leave him with the 7 ewes.  The ewes, 4 new ones from Missouri, our 2 original ewes from Mississippi and Mini Long tail from Washington State.  We will switch out rams the third week of October with Goober.  He is back up and will take care of anyone missed by Victor.  We are working to refine the Cheviots a bit and Victor is the ram man to do it.

We have gathered the Icelandics and inserted Vaginal CIDR Sheep Inserts.  They are progesterone inserts, kind of like tampons that stay in the sheep for 5 days to bring them into heat sooner.  This is a new product, from New Zealand, for bringing sheep into estrus out of season.  We want our Icelandics to lamb about a month sooner then usual.  If we can get the Icelandics to lamb in Febuary in the south, they will be weaned by May and shipped to their new farms before the heat and parasites hit.  Moms can be milked until June & dried up to ready themselves for the stress of summer, especally if we have a summer like this year.  The picture to the left is the bag of inserts.  The picture to the right is the doo hickie to insert them with.  You have to have both or I am not sure how one would get them in.  It was quick and easy.  We inserted 10 CIDR in 10 ewes yesterday evening and will remove them 5 days later, which is Saturday, then we will put the first ram with the group.  We are going to use Snow Man.  He is a beautiful huge, white ram, just turned 2 years.  His snow white fleece is so soft and thick.  I will be shearing him the beginning of October.  He carries spots and we are hoping for some spotted sheep.  Mid October we will switch out with The Trump and Clean up ram will be Saxon.  We pull the rams the end of December. This is an experiment and do not know if it will work or mess up the ewes and get no lambs.  We will keep everyone posted.  It would be nice to get all 10 ewes to lamb within a few days of each other as well.  We have 3 Icelandic ewes who are yearlings and will be bred for the first time this fall.  They will not be induced.  The CIDR is for ewes who have lambed in the past, not for virgin ewes.

I will be going to TN to pick up another Shetland ram.  I need to get some new and better pictures of the Shetland herd.  They are nicer then the current pictures.  The new ram will be white to add more genetics and give folks a choice to have a ram and ewe lamb who are not related.  I do not have any white Shetlands, so this will add some variety.

I am off today writting this blog and of course the heat is back and we are hot, hot, hot again.  But it will not be long before cooler weather will arrive.

We have made reservations for Dr Doug Halbrook to make his annual trip to the farm to draw blood on everyone (goats) for CAE.  We may do Cl this year because we did Johne's last year, but that is yet to be determined.  We want to test some sheep for OPP as well.  I have tested some of the Shetlands and they were negative and will test the Cheviots this year.  We will have everyone tested eventually and then will close the herd and only test incoming new rams.  I do not think anyone in Alabama tests their sheep, but we are upscale and want folks to know our herds are clean.

The Cheviots are mini baby faced little sheep.  Their wool is medium and they are sheared once a year.  The little baby ram to the left is Madeline's ram lamb and he is For Sale on the Sheep page.   He has grown into a really nice ram.

The picture below are the three lambs we had this year.  Two were twin ewes out of Sunshine and the ram lamb.  They are playing on an old hay bale.  They are really cute lambs.

We are working out a schedule for some fall Goat Shows and have sanctioned the Nigerian Dwarf Goats at the National Alabama Fair in Montgomery this year.  They had not been sanctioned in the past and now they are.  We hope to make this a major deep south show for the Nigerians in the future.

Enough for now...