Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How we got Pickles

Much to Paul's dismay, I was browsing the online area classifieds on Monday and came across a listing for an orphaned female Boer goat. And I immediately ran (actually kicking a cat out of the way) to the phone and told the guy that I wanted to buy her.

We've been contemplating (ok, I have been contemplating) getting Boer goats to add to our homestead to provide some of our meat.  I've been unsuccessfully soliciting the gal at the feed store who raises Boers for over a year now to buy a female from her.  I've run ads in the paper and been scanning Craigslist and the Horse Trader magazine.  It seems as if NObody wants to get rid of their Boers.  Well, except for one or two somewhat-local Boer farms who are selling their purebred, papered, fancy Boer kids for hundreds of dollars.  And we're not really in a position to fork over that amount of money for a goat for our homestead meat supply.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I understand that there is value in purebred, papered, fancy-pants goats.  I have one myself (Nettie is, although don't tell her that she is or she'll never get over herself) and think she was worth the $350 we paid for her.  But like I said, we're just not in the position to buy a papered goat and I feel that we can eventually breed up and get what we're looking for if this gal isn't completely up to snuff.

I never wanted to bottle feed any of our goats.  It's just too much of a hassle in my opinion.  And unless you are practicing CAE prevention (where you have to pull the kid from the dam before she even licks it and then bottle feed it heat-treated milk) or for some reason you LIKE having to get up every 3 - 4 hours to bottle feed a goat kid, I see no reason to bottle feed and I leave our goat kids on their mothers.  People also say that a bottle-fed goat is more friendly, but I've never had problems with any of our dam-raised kids being unfriendly.  Maybe shy at first, but when they find out you've got raisins in your pocket or that your appearance means that they'll be getting a bucket of grain, they warm right up to you.

Oh, back to the bottle-fed thing.  So, since this doeling was orphaned, she has been bottle fed since birth.  She was given colostrum for two days and I am now feeding her milk from Nettie and Annette.  I'll have to forgo some milk in our fridge to feed her and have to be up every 4 hours to do so, something I'm not crazy about but am willing to do.

Another thing I won't be looking forward to, but is ultimately something I knew I would require in our female Boer, is that she is still young enough that we can disbud her.  Most Boer goats keep their horns.  I'm not sure why, but I guess it's just a meat-goat kind'a thing.   But since this goat will be living among the rest of our de-horned goats, it was one of the almost-impossible requirements I had for any potential meat goat on our farm.

I can clearly feel Pickle's horn buds now.  So that means tomorrow is disbudding day for her.


  1. You've named her Pickles!? I love it.

    We always disbudded our goats and it was never something we looked forward to but you just have to get your mind in the right spot and do it properly and efficiently. It's over in seconds and the goat forgets it quickly.

  2. With Pan gone you now have two sets of breeding fees to look forward to!

    Are there any local folks offering their Boer bucks out to stud?

  3. Mama Pea, Yeah, isn't Pickles just FUN to say! Pickles, pickles, pickles!! I can't stop saying it :)

    Chai Chai, Actually the person who took Pan off our hands also bought one of our doelings this year at a discounted price in exchange for breeding rights to Pan! So we still get to use him for our two dairy does, but I don't have to DEAL with him for more than a few weeks a year. What a deal! Now the problem is trying to find a Boer buck.

  4. When I read the title to your post, your new little goat was the last thing I thought of! LOL!!
    Congrats on NOT having to pay an arm and a leg for her. I was lucky enough to get my purebred, but unpapered, little Alpine doe Daphne for $50! Woo-hoo!
    I really don't think you need to feed her every 4 hours, check the Fiasco Farms site, 4 times a day should be sufficient. Just tryin' to help you get some sleep! ;-)

  5. So, is your Boer buck going to be named "Dill"? Or is that too obvious? She looks like a nice little doeling - and I hope that you can ease up on the feeding schedule. I can't imagine you in a sleep-deprived state...I paid a small fortune for my two, so I can relate.

  6. so you were literally tripping over yourself to get this goat? Love it!!! Love the name!

  7. Congrats, Carolyn. How exciting! We are in search of a herd sire around here - I'm thinking Nubian. We, too, keep a close eye on Craigslist. That's also how I found Matilda! :) Looking forward to hearing more about Pickles.

  8. Hey, I have a GREAT boar/Myotonic cross buckling for sale. Hint, hint. hehehehehe