How many? Herd replacements?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by blackthorn, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. blackthorn

    blackthorn New Member

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    Hi :D
    I'm just wondering how you guys decide which/how many young does to keep each year?? Here are some numbers: you have 20 adult does-230% kidding-does have a productive life of 8-10 years-so that’s around 20 young does born per year and at most you'd be culling 2-5 older does?? How do you possibly decide who stays and who goes?? I hate selling my older girls and I hate parting with what could grow into a spectacular animal :crazy
    Any experienced goat keeper like to chime in with how they do it??
    Vanessa
     
  2. Legend Hills

    Legend Hills New Member

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    I am very glad you asked this question, I want to know to. I'm just starting so have not done it yet. Will be doing it this spring. The way I personally see it at this point is that I am trying to breed for improvement. If I have a doe that is not up there with the others in production, growth or other factors I would like to think that I would cull her.That is going to be tough. Can't wait for the experienced ones to comment though. Would love to learn what they do. :) Sorry I couldn't help.
     

  3. nitrors4

    nitrors4 Guest

    Flip a coin? :rofl

    I am thinking when you have been in the game long enough you know what you are looking for in a kid somewhat, but then again I have not had but one goat give birth on my land.

    I plan to keep all does this year and sell the ones I don't want as FF.
     
  4. Ravens Haven

    Ravens Haven New Member

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    You have to figure out exactly how many does you can properly care for, then you go from there. I have 16 does to freshen this year and several of them have to go, some are here for milk and never get shown so those go first, then I choose between the 6 first fresheners if they don't meet my criteria then they leave quickly, then I have the GCH does, the 10 year old, and a brood doe (beautiful daughters that are 110% better than herself) that will never leave here. I have one doeling that is beautiful and correct in every way but I just don't like her head, so I will freshen her to see if she will grow on me but if not she is gone.

    So work out what you can take care of, who will never leave, what you can't live without, and who you just don't like. Keep the BEST, and sell or eat the rest....

    This is just how I do things.
     
  5. Theresa

    Theresa New Member

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    :yeahthat The biggie for me is to keep the numbers where chores are not chores. When you have so many that you just don't have time for them or can't care for them properly then it is time to cut down. I will have 8 freshen this year and have already decided which will stay and leave out of those. I then will look at kids, but don't really want my numbers to be more then 8-10 does at any given time. I am even thinking 6 might be better. So that helps me to choice. If you are hard for me to handle, or just don't fit well here, then you are first to go. I also want those that are staying to be improvement over those that are here, better milkers, better breed characteristics, better everything.
    Theresa
     
  6. blackthorn

    blackthorn New Member

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    Okay-I'd like to keep all to FF and judge from there too.............but how do you not know they are not a lousy FF and will be a spectacular second freshener?? And how do you decide on cut offs?? Do you just say-right any doe that doesn't ######## will always go, or do you say if I really like her and she has great kids she stays anyhow?
    Vanessa
     
  7. Legend Hills

    Legend Hills New Member

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    There are so many factors that each farm/individual breeder looks for. It mostly depends on what is most important to you. Very good questions though. Can't wait for tomorrow when more comments will have been made on this. :)
     
  8. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

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    I totally agree with Theresa...I had too many last year and it became work for me and a huge sore spot between dh and I. This year I have 7 goats total...1 buck and 6 milkers, two of which are already slated to sell. Ideally I would keep every doe kid until she freshens....but that's not possible for me. Some of the kids have obvious faults, some of my yearlings freshened with huge pockets in their udders, etc and those are sold for family milkers. Basically...I only keep a kid who is better than or at least as good as her dam.

    If the faults are things like body capacity, slight pocket in foreudder, those things sometimes improve with age. If they have poor feet, winged elbows, pendulous udders..those things don't improve and are a one way ticket off my place.

    It costs just as much to feed a good goat as a poor goat...and the good one will pay her way a whole lot better. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and many times I've tried breeding up a really poor doe just because I like her personality and the kids are just as poor.
     
  9. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    What I used to try and do was show all or most of the doelings and keep the ones who did best in the show ring. The I started having more dairy doe kids as I phased out the Boers, so I couldn't keep doing that. This past year, I had more call for fresh does than doe kids. Choosing which of my fresh does to sell was easier. I sold does that didn't have really competitive show udders to people who wanted them as commercial milkers and to a soap maker. I needed to reduce the herd, so I actually sold my top milker. I kept does with the best udder structure. Doelings I've sold, or on my for sale list are those who are younger full sisters of does I sold or sisters of ones I decided to keep. Bottom line for me now is that I still have too many goats. I'm supposed to sell 3 tomorrow. I just got more alfalfa hay today and the bill for it keeps getting bigger. I need to reduce the herd. I just can't bring myself to put bred does on the meat truck, so I'm hoping there will be a demand for fresh does this spring. I now have 30 goats, with kids on the way, and ideally would like a herd or 15-20. Kathie
     
  10. Kaye White

    Kaye White Guest

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    LOL...my planning is a little different. I use show classes and age as a determining factor.
    I dispose of obvious faults at birth...steep rumps, narrow chests, short necks, short bodied kids. Twin doelings? The lesser of the two goes. By day 3, I have a pretty good idea which is the better. Then I'm down to show quality kids. I start selling those kids that I feel will do well in the showring. By the time show season gets here, I generally have it narrowed down to one kid per class, unless there are two that are of the same age and equally as good as the other. Of these two by breeding season, I've made up my mind which one goes and which one stays.

    This is the first year that I will have 3 yearling FF Toggenburgs. Of those 3 only one will get to stay after freshening. The udders will be the deciding factor on which one gets to stay. I usually have 1 milker in each class. Yearling, 2yr., 3yr., 4yr.old. Enough to make group classes

    LOL...this year ALL the Togg milkers were EX 90 with EX in mammaries. It got a little harder, even after LA, to decide who got cut, but it was possible.

    I will have several Obies that won't make the cut in staying here, but they've already got a home to go to, after I pick which one will stay as a yearling milker added to the show string.
    Kaye
     
  11. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    You have to give yourself and opportunity to learn about conformation. Getting your hands on lots of goats, looking at lots of goats at shows etc...having appraisal at your home, coming from a livestock background so you know horse flesh or scouring the ADGA appraisal booklet and books ...I love Harvey Considine's old book which is nothing like he judged :)

    As you freshen your does year after year you will see quality kids coming from both your prepotent bucks but also doe lines. You will see in most herds, more daughters out of certainly lines, easier to spot when they are all similarly named.

    So for my farm my replacements come from my prepotent dam line, but then the problem is they are the first to be deposited for the most money, and you have to sell some of these kids to ;)

    I would prefer to freshen all my doe kids, or at least give myself until breeding age at 8 months to make major conformation sales, but that is also unrealistic in that sales of kids shipped to their new homes is the most amount of money. Now if you are in dairy land like we are now, you could keep your kids until about 8 months, breed them, and start selling conformation faults, bred, for some pretty good money....hmmmmm, I think I may have talked myself into something here :)

    Anyway, my sales seem to be always motivated by money, but each year, you will have the one or two or five :) spectacular kids born...two years ago it was Red and Tater, although I let a 4H kid have Red for a project, but to come home later. You just know when they are born they are spectacular....Tater had two identical kids this last year that fit that bill, and yes I sold both of them.

    So really it is a question that is personal to each farm. I prefer to raise out 6 doelings, I usually keep or purchase 2 bucklings (well purchase one and keep one of mine) this year I am keeping 2 of mine if born. It's what I have room for, money for, and biggy here milk for, which will still give me alot of milk for soap and milk sales to pay the feed bill.

    And I honestly despise raising kids, I hate the whole baby thing passed the birth, the constant smell of milk, my barn clothes smell like sour milk, my long hair and my towels at the sink...my clothes are always covered in tiny feet prints and baby poop, iodine, and green paste from tattooing, so it becomes easier and easier to sell and sell somemore :) Vicki
     
  12. blackthorn

    blackthorn New Member

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    Yes I'm not a baby raising lover either...........but I still get an attack of the guilt’s when I sell them! LOL I guess there are hard decisions to be made *sigh*
    Vanessa
     
  13. laughter777

    laughter777 New Member

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    My herd consists of 1 PB Nubian, 2 RG Lamanchas, 1 MM, and 1 LM/Nub and I am a total newbie here, but my hopes are to keep any purebred Nubian doelings out of my doe, and sell 1 of my recorded grade Lamancha, the other is from Lynn (on here) and is very attached to my husband and us to her so she will probably stay. I am not sure if I will keep my minimancha doe, she was my first and I love her so much, but she is staying so fat, with feeding 3lbs alfalfa pellets per doe, and have no way to separate just her. I purchased a Nubian buckling that I will keep for a year or two (to breed to everyone, except the mini)
     
  14. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    I'm one of those people unable to put down a baby goat at birth just because it's a buckling or a not perfect doeling. Now, grossly deformed, that would be a whole different thing. Last year, I got to the point of banding everything except out of my best three does and sending wethers for meat at 8-12 weeks old rather than wait till market weight in fall. I think the guy who used to buy up my excess doelings fell off the face of the earth. I haven't been able to reach him this year. There just doesn't seem to be as good a market for doe kids here in Montana as in the South. So, this year I seriously need to do a few different things. Make hubby hold the does when they freshen for some pictures and get a website. Sell some of the doelings at the auction if I don't have orders for them. I love baby goats, but I don't need dozens of them underfoot and I need to make the hay last as long as I can. Kathie
     
  15. BlissBerry

    BlissBerry Guest

    You won't humanely put a kid down at birth but you willingly send your kids to the auction? At the vast majority of auctions, animals are not treated well or at least as not nearly as well as they could be. Not to mention they are removed from everything they know, their safe environment, to be manhandled and then sold for meat? And before people start saying how well their auctions treat their goats, save your time as I won't buy it. For a few dollars.... it wouldn't even be worth the time and money you have into them just to raise them to that age.

    I just don't get this way of thinking. I am a softie at heart... I euthanize at birth to save them from the scenario you speak of. :sigh

    Sara
     
  16. Qvrfullmidwife

    Qvrfullmidwife New Member

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    "but how do you not know they are not a lousy FF and will be a spectacular second freshener??"

    Or third...we had one doe...mediocre at best as a FF. Noty much better as a 2nd. Trotted her out to maybe sell her early in her 3rd lactation and she then blossomed into one of our best milkers.

    But how much money did we lose on her waiting for that spectacular third freshening? I cannot afford to keep does that arent paying for their keep from the get-go. Maybe three or four years ago but not now.
     
  17. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Yes but in a dairy situation you can't expect or want the young FF replacements that we grow out and will keep even if milking 4 pounds because as second fresheners they have milked more than their 2 year old 1st freshening counterparts. So you have to give your replacements credit for the poundage they have even when milking less per day. A dairy also doesn't need to always be raising replacements and in most parts of the country it's cheaper to buy replacements than to grow them....here it means driving into another state though.

    Kathie, you have some beautiful does, I saw them at LeeAnn's you are doing your herd a huge disservice. Nobody knows you in reality. The number one thing that happens to folks who can't sell stock is that they either piss off all the old breeders when new :) or they are so silent nobody ever knows them. I have said this to at least 5 others on the forum when answering the same exact question. How do I make money with my goats and sell all my kids?

    Get a website if you can't show, apparise if you don't show, or if like some your show ciricut is filled with National show placers, this way although you have 2nd and 3rds all the time, we can see those appraisal scores. Look at Birdy, she isn't a GCH, mostly because she was in Shoofly's shadow alot but then I wouldn't do the surgery on her salivary cysts, but she does have good appraisal scores and marketing through her daughters and son etc....so I never have problems selling stock out of her, especially bred to good bucks. Make good decisions based on being able to sell your kids, which means bucks with names.

    You have to cull. What I do with kids with problems like Kaye talked about, well doelings...course nubians have more bite, ear problems that you don't have in swiss breeds, but I keep a few folks around who want doelings for free without paperwork. So it's a phone call and they are gone. But yep I kill the boys or doelings with serious faults. You can't make a profit with your goats with pens full of dairy goat kids unsold drinking all your milk and colostrum and taking up all your time you could use for soaping, making cheese and marketing your product (which is your adult does and bucks).

    Nothing is more irritating than the green rubber band method of selling bucklings "If someone doesn't buy them they will be castrated" Sorry but if you don't have deposits on the bucklings why aren't they in the freezer to feed your LGD? Or the "I am slashing my prices because I have kids due next week"...or that $500 kid born March of 2008 is now for sale for $150...why not just lower your prices of your kids if you can't fill orders?

    There is no way you can put pen to paper and justify selling dairy kids for meat at weaning. Yes for your freezer I get that whole idea, but not for sale.

    I learned this at a judges house, and the trip home my husband and I talked about nothing more than why, milking 35 does year round (by hand) on contract, I hadn't seen that the open hole in my whole dairy was the kids I kept, fed colostrum I could sell, milk I need desperatly to fill my order each week....when in reality they were selling for aroud $40 or so. I have only had 4 unprofitable years since, and I don't dairy at all like I used to. I just do it alot smarter. Vicki
     
  18. Tim Pruitt

    Tim Pruitt New Member

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    "TOO MANY GOATS ARE NOT FUN." "SELL THE BEST AND KEEP THE REST." These two statements are my mottos. First of all, too many people are prone to keep too many breeds. Son Tommy has a Nubian, daughter Sunny has a Togg and Mama wants LaManchas. Decide on the breed you like and focus on that one breed. Let Mama, Tommy and Sunny all raise the same breed - give the children each a kid of your favorite breed. They can have something "different" without having a different breed.

    Cull all kids for conformation faults. Keep replacement does from kids that are structurally correct. Eat or sell the rest. Does that don't freshen with good mammaries, those who have chronic health problems and those who have difficult personalities don't stay. Here, all goats are on probation until 3 years old. After that, they have a permanent place in the herd.
     
  19. This is a very informative thread. I am glad someone asked these questions. :)
     
  20. Bella Star

    Bella Star New Member

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    I now just have the 4 dairy does,2 LM and 2 N/LM mix, I will always have the 2 LM till they die as I just cant get rid of these 2 pets but they are what I want in a dairy goat as confirmation,size and wonderful taste and quantity of 1 gal. of milk per day each . The 2 doelings are from breeding to N last year and I did get my splashy big doeling with ears that I have always wanted but she's wild and unsociable and a solid brown shorter doe that looks LM ..... I will see what these FF kids look like and also how the udder looks and what they produce and IF they are up to my 2 LM , then I may keep 1 but if not they will be sold.
    I am into large (deer body) goats, milk production,confirmation and health , so I cull heavy .. including the Boer herd.