Friday, May 19, 2017

Empty Udders

Udders are fifty percent of the linear appraisal score card or conformation points on a dairy goat. Makes sense since milk equals udder and it is a DAIRY goat. So since I have not blogged in a while and I am going crazy with end of the year school events and babies, babies, babies as our eight year old says. I thought I'd give you a brief lesson while I wait for the five year old granddaughter in the bathtub. Then it is clean stalls, feed the Nubian twins born last night once again, check on the baby bunnies and chicks being born, cook, and clean house.  Oh yeah, and plant the baby pine trees that will hopefully grow and become a wonderful wind break to protect the north side of the house.  

 This is Comedy and she won her Permanent Championship in the ADGA association. Her strongest area is her udder. It is a gem! Wish I could show you it full BUT it does not presently get full -adjustment problems. She was set in her ways and then she arrived here where everything changed. We had to modify the milking stanchion to her liking, work out disagreements in social status among the herd, and figure out a feed she will eat. So far it is this one this night and that one another night or morning depending on the day. Her score card for us today must have been good since on the way to pasture she dodged and dived; bucked and leaped and maa...d with joy. With a great improvement in her emotions we hope the milk production follows. This girl when first freshened this year gave 2 gallons of milk and before she arrived she was milking 11 pounds morning and night. Now we are lucky to get 3/4's of a gallon a milking.  It happens. The production will return next year if not in full this one.

So empty udder is the lesson today. The Nubian on the left is about the same age as Comedy. Note how much fuller Belle's udder is than Comedy on the right. 

Belle has dense tissue in her udder. In a woman this puts her at a six times greater risk of developing breast cancer. Keep in mind there are all over dense breast and denser in a few areas type. Density makes it harder to detect cancer since it blends in. Belle has the dense in the top region but it is a good sized area. You don't hear of many goats getting udder cancer but you do hear a lot about mastitis which is harder to detect when there is a lot of tissue involved. Dense tissue takes up room and that is area milk will not be in. Hence same size udders can store quite a variance in the amount of milk. The same holds true for women. Breasts not udders in their case.

Belle had mastitis at one time before I bought her. I assumed the infection was treated immediately since I had pointed it out at an early stage. Obviously it was not since when I brought her home and milked her, I discovered a substantial rock hard knot. The entire one side of the udder can be lost to mastitis. The greater the amount of scar tissue, the less milk produced and stored. So the best udder is one which when empty is a wrinkled empty skin sack. 

When you have your goats linear appraised, the judge scores them full and empty. When you milk tonight. Check your girls. Also feel to see if the udder is soft and supple, another thing scored. You don't want thick, tough skin. It doesn't stretch well.

So tell me. What have you got? No, I'm not referring to ;your personal breast tissue. But at your next mammogram be sure and ask. There are four different tests that can be run and which is best for you is in part determined by your breast density tissue. Keep your doctor on his toes. It is your life on the line. 
So keep an eye on yourself but what I'm asking is that you to take a good look at your dairy cow or goat when you milk tonight. What kind of udder do they have?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Arrivals

 What a crazy time of year. So much to do and the kid's school is wrapping up with concerts and activities galore. I'm crazy busy fencing, building new structures, and trying to slip in some gardening as well. Changes are huge on our list this spring and summer. Problems have come to a head and either we make change or quit. So the first huge change is the goats.
Meet Connie. That is what I'm going to call her. Her professional name is Comedy but I like Connie. She is built like a tank. Broad as a barn and stout. She has her ADGA Permanent Champion award. You can see why. Look at that top line. Almost table top but what won her the most points is her udder. Wish I could show it full BUT Connie is emotional right now. Her production dropped from 11 pounds to 4.5 from the trip from Carpenter, Wyoming to here. From birth to 5 years old she lived with her adopted human mom and now everything has change. Her previous mom is upset and she is upset. It was a rather emotional parting. BUT if you have a show herd, you have to let go and Connie is at the end of her show career.

Everything has changed for this poor girl. The other Nubian does have been amicable. There was for the first few hours the, 'Who is the alpha doe in the group?' but nothing rough. I won't have a biddy in my herd. They now remain separated. No antagonism but just no interest. I really feel for Connie, I can't help it she is so... sweet and I try to love on her as much as possible letting her wonder around with me as I work outside. I am confident she will enjoy her new home as my animals never wonder off. They would if it wasn't a great place to live, so it is not unusual to see the whole motly crew of them let out to wonder the place while I'm outside doing my thing.  

The little buck, Bravo, and the doeling, Commitment, love the place already. They have jumped in weight since arriving and we are quite attached to Bravo. He is a hoot. He does not take any guff off of anyone including the full sized does and yet is the sweetest thing - totally confident in himself. A great trait for a buck. That and all the goats like him. Every time we fill the large wheelbarrow full of hay, he leaps on top for a ride. I realize that will have to soon stop but it is so funny and you can't get mad at him as he holds still and just moves his head gazing at the scenery.

As for Commitment on the right. She is a bit iffy. At her previous owners, an inexperienced friend helped give shots and hit a nerve causing her left back leg to lose most of its use. She can't use it unless you Popsicle stick brace it. The yellow on her leg is to treat a sore. She came pretty rough and not sure if she will stay. I think I'll take her to the vet when I have Ellie de-horned once again. They are growing back. I want to see if he thinks Commitment will come out of it. Great blood lines in this little doe and she is a another sweetheart. When Karen called and asked me if I would be interested in Comedy, I asked her to pick the foundation of my new Saanen herd. This is the line up. 

I knew I had missed my Saanens but I'm amazed how content I feel since they arrived. I am just meant to be a Saanen owner. It is funny because my husband said the same thing. He is much more content with them and I catch him out loving on Connie. We have great Nubians but they are just more demanding by nature. Yet they are less demanding than the norm. When they become vocal it is a 'deal with me right now' deep throated beller. The Saanens have a quieter stacato ma, minus the insistence. 

Why did I ever have Nubians? They are suppose to give more cream and that is why I changed. What I got was a lot less milk and lots of drama queens. Keep in mind it does not take much to be a drama queen in my book. I thought I could handle it and hung in there for 10 years. Alas, what I found was that Nubians don't give nearly the amount of milk and I can't help but wonder if the increased amount of milk with Saanens equates to more cream over all. If I can get up to double the amount of milk with one Saanen and have one set of hooves to trim versus two; one goat instead of to feed is less time and money; one goat versus two to pay for to house and bed down versus the expense of two then why am I raising Nubians? I crave calm, not excitement as my life has too much drama in it already. What took me so long to realize this?

My first clue should have been that I've never grew really attached to any of our Nubians. Keep in mind I have some really sweet Nubians. Others comment all the time about how wonderful the goats are that they buy from us. A vet said she had never met such nice personalities for goats. She was not fond of goats until ours. It is just a clash of temperament between the Nubians and us.
We have found our favorite animals are all cold weather breeds.  We love our Swedish ducks. 

 We love our Brown Swiss/Normandy heifer.
We love Saanens and I'm getting more thrill over these three new goats than I have had in ten years of raising Nubians excluding a doe named Jujubee which we did not have very long. All our cold weather breeds are all laid back, quiet, and don't complain about the weather or much of anything. 

We live in a quiet, low population area, and so this comes as no great surprise. I would guess that is in part why there are so many different breed of animals. Some match different locations and owners far more than others. You could say some breeds are better at one thing or another but in the end it most often boils down to personality matches between owner and animal in choices. Have you noticed the same thing? Do certain breeds trip your trigger far more than others?