Well it's been an interesting time with the goats this fall.
Since the hailstorm we had here in july our feed supplies have been short this year. So all the does got packed up and shipped to the mother-in-laws house. The problem is that at her house there is no fences strong enough to keep the goats in. Well if horses can be picketed why can't goats? Earlier in the summer we had taken them up there for a few weeks as well and had used a dog trolley, and some dog cables and stakes to picket them out. The cables were set up at enough distance apart to allow them to touch noses and be near each other without allowing them to become tangled. This time when we brought them down the MIL wanted them put in the corral to eat the brown weeds. Unlike the first there were no trees to cable them to. I only had one stake still (the other had been bent beyond repair) so I staked Sue out on the north side of the corral. I then pounded a steel T-post in as a temporary solution and chained Ellie to it. I then clipped Rachels and Fantines cables to the fence on the south side of the corral. We did this for several days. Every night I would go and "collect" them and put them in the barn there for the night.
Some background on Ellie...she is a fraidy cat through and through. She was raised and spent her first two years on one farm. Supposedly she went to shows and was shown some. The day I brought her home she cried the entire way here, then freaked and jumped/climbed the four foot fence that she had been in to get loose. Everytime she goes anywhere that is "new" she freaks. This includes being put from the garden where the goats were staying this spring into their pasture here (a distance of less than 100 yards). She spent the entire week after that "move" bellering and pacing. So needless to say she didn't take the "move" to MIL's easily.
The first few days that they were staked out Ellie was wrapped around the fence post every night. If she had paced the other way she would have unwound herself. I got tired of unwinding her day after day since it was obvious she wasn't getting much to eat that way. So I decided to switch her and Rachel one day. After all, Rachel was clipped to the fence and Ellie couldn't wrap herself around a straight fence. Unfortunately I neglected to check the lengths of the tie out lines in the short space of the corral and the distance I had chained Rachels and Ellies lines was a good deal closer than a nose reach. I came to put them away that night and found Ellie's and Rachel's cables wrapped around Rachel. Sadly, she didn't make it.
After taking care of Rachel I did some major thinking. First: If Fantine, Sue, and Blessing (story later) turn out to be good milkers (this is their first freshning for all) Ellie will be sold this year.
Second: I love Sue's calm disposition and adaptability much better (even though it comes with a mischevious curiousity) then the Nubians worried attitudes (although friendly and less aloof). Fantine will stay (as she appears to be somewhat adaptable to new pastures and continues eating calmly) and I will probably always own one/two Nubian/s but the focus of my herd is shifting to Saanens.
In other news: Ellie has been prancing around here for the last month and a half with her tail wagging and acting excited while Sue has continured eating calmly. I discovered that without a buck here it is difficult for me to tell when they are in heat. So I got a "buck rag" rubbed with buck scent since that supposedly works to help tell when they are in heat. Ellies response: "Neat toy! I'll take it and run every time!" Sue's response:"hmm a rag in a jar...so what..?"
Day after day it was the same story. So...when we had a snowstorm on the 10th and Ellie started really waving her tail and even Sue's tail was being held up I decided I might as well try it and loaded them up.
Two hours down to Cheyenne to the Mega-milkers herd for breeding and we get there and of course they show no response to the buck whatsoever. Talking with the herd owner Karen revealed though that rather than hauling them back and forth 20 times whenever I thought they might be in heat I could leave them there. Karen would board them for $1 a day plus feed and would walk the buck by them every day until they came into heat then would put them in with the man of my choice ;). Karen called me yesterday with news...Sue was in heat and being bred. YEAH! One down...due date March 20th, Saanen kids here we come! Today I get another call, Ellie came into heat and was in with "Touch". Fantastic! My two older does are both due a day apart! Now I just get to head down and pick them up and watch for signs of heat in about 18 days. I'm slightly dissapointed since neither was bred to the buck's I originally was hoping to have them bred too but at least they are both bred to good bucks that should produce wonderful kids. Ellie's "man" was out on breeding loan today and Sue's "man" died of old age this summer.
That just leaves Fantine to breed. Since she was born in April she won't be ready until at least next month. Wish me luck trying to figure out when she's in heat.