Yes, you read the title correct…artificial insemination…better known as AI.
Vince, Mikey, and I recently took a AI course on AI’ing goats. We had our buck *B Saada Blue Flame’s semen collected first. What an experience! Nothing like a bunch of people standing around watching a buck get collected. I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say, we learned a lot.
After everyone had their bucks collected, Geoff Masterman of Superior Semen works began the AI course. We began by learning the basics of a doe’s reproductive anatomy, her estrus cycle, etc. We then went over the AI equipment and how to handle the semen. Lastly, we all got to practice the actual AI procedure on a doe.
Most of the women in the class had a true appreciation for the poor demonstration animals. Being women, we could “feel” for her. I guess sort of like the men do when wethering a buck.
We had our semen tank inventoried while we were there as well as collecting Flame and putting 35 straws of his semen in our tank. We found that we had more straws than we realized and more bucks as well. It’s like being a kid in a candy store now trying to figure out whom we want to breed to whom. Being able to AI has really opened up breeding possibilities for us. We can breed to quality animals all over the country without having to purchase the buck, house him, feed him, and care for him.
Although I was given a tremendous amount of information, we left feeling confident we could AI one of our ladies. As a matter of fact, two of our ladies came into heat today so we plan on getting to practice here at home for the first time.
We also ordered a new herdsire from Saada as well as a doeling. Laura was extremely nice and talked to me for hours about our animals, the strengths, weaknesses, and breeding plans. She was more than willing to share her knowledge with me and help guide me in breeding the big beautiful nubian style that we love. The animals we currently have, combined with the does we are bringing into the herd from Cream of Kansas and Saada, should really help to improve our breeding program.
Our Linear Appraisal with ADGA was this past Thursday. John White was our appraiser. We had heard he was scoring animals hard and being our first time, we were a little nervous our herd was going to be ripped to shreds. We had 99% of our herd appraised even though all were not show quality. We felt it was an excellent opportunity to learn from the good and not so good animals in our herd.
John spent 6 hours here. Explaining everything in great detail, teaching us how to look at our animals from a whole new perspective, and answering every single question one of us had. We had two animals go VEVV88, one VVVA85 (she had mastitis last year & could only be scored on 1/2 of her udder), and another VE+V86 (a 2 year old expected to do much better with maturity).
All of our young stock was appraised except for one doeling who hadn’t been feeling well. How excited we were to have two doelings get VVEV, two get +VVV, three get VVVV, and what put us through the moon?…our buckling Danny Boy.
John said this little buck kid was just a beautiful animal. He apraised 26/27/27/28/6/29 & 21 in Linear Traits. In Structural Cateregories he scored Very Good across the board in head, shoulder assembly, front legs, rear legs, feet, back, and rump. This gave him Very Good in General Appearance, Dairy Character, and Body Capacity. He told us that he should only improve with maturity and if it was him, he would breed him to every doe on our farm. Made me breathe a sigh of relief since I begged my husband to keep him intact. I knew the little guy was gorgeous the day he was born and am so glad someone with a trained eye confirmed it as well.
On another note, my goat milk soap just won ANOTHER BLUE RIBBON! My parents entered it into the Elizabethtown Fair in Lancaster County without my knowledge. They called to say, I had won the blue ribbon! What an excellent surprise it was! My soap has only ever been entered into 2 competitions and has won 1st place in both…The Pa State Farm Show and now the Elizabethtown Fair.
Still waiting on my Lynnhaven doe to kid any day now too. I just can’t wait to show her. We think she is beautiful and she is really making a beautiful udder as well. When John was here appraising he did take a look at her for us although he didn’t score her because she is just too close to kidding. He thought she was beautiful too and would help our breeding program. I really like her personality, maybe because she has become a mama’s girl already.
We are also considering breeding year round now as well. Giving us milk for my soap business and a show string for winter and summer shows. Vince is all for it and so are the kids. I kind of like having one month off a year when pretty much everyone is dry. It gives you a break from milking chores but this year I will be milking one through the winter. So, I guess I see his point…if your milking one you might as well be milking more than that. Plus it would most definately free up space in my freezer for more meat. The freezer is currently filled completely with milk for soapmaking in the winter months.
We are headed to Unionville/Kennett Square Chester County Pa to sell soaps and show the girls at the Unionville Fire Dept’s Country Fair the first weekend in October. Also that weekend is Vince’s 20th high school reuion. He graduated from Unionville High School in 1988. We are really looking forward to that weekend…showing goats, selling soaps, and catching up with old friends.
So now you have “the skinny” on what’s been happening and what’s in store for the future. I seem to have just as many locals interested in the going-ons at Bada Bing Farm as I do throughout the country. All I can say is, thanks for your interest. It is nice seeing all those familiar emails address show up in my blog stats when I check them from time to time.
Ciao for now…