One of the most special days on the Ffarm so far,
16th July 2006 finally saw the arrival of our foundation herd of 20 pedigree British Toggenburg goats, all the way from Monach Farm in Cambridgeshire. Delicate & elegant as deer, in a variety of shades of chocolate, 7 were goatlings (aged 12+ months) with the remaining 13 kids born earlier that year (some still being fed a bottle of milk per day).
In September, they were joined by a young stud male of the same breed, Hetherton Merson, a wide-eyed innocent who was very much bossed around by the goatlings when he first met them as they were considerably bigger than he was! However, undeterred, he successfully wooed them – with the result of 8 lovely, healthy kids, born in March 2007.
Our first kids were born at 7pm on 1st March 2007 – our fourth Wedding Anniversary and St David’s Day, a very special moment. Over the next couple of weeks, the six Mums gave birth to a total of eight healthy kids – four boys, & four girls – although we made the mistake of not taking the kids off their mums, early enough; leading to the unfortunate ‘double whammy’ of not only some teat damage from sharp little teeth; but also to reduced milk yields from the Mums, who were only producing enough milk to ‘supply on demand’ & so not realising their full milking potential.
We then had a further five kids, born to four more new Mums, in mid-July 2007. We learned our lesson from the first batch, & didn’t make the same initial mistakes again; to the benefit of all concerned.
2008 was our second year, breeding pedigree British Toggenburgs. We had twelve exquisite female kids & retained one stunning male for the future of the Herd; having already sold a few males & tragically lost others – some to unfortunate accidents such as getting wedged under a hurdle or a multiple leg fracture; & some, to a dreadful, savage virus which killed several of the boys although any subsequent Post Mortem examinations proved frustratingly inconclusive – it was, apparently, “just one of those things” (but no easier to come to terms with, nonetheless).
Thankfully the virus took none of the girls; & although they’re now all happy, healthy, playful & up-to-date with their latest vaccinations, they haven’t grown on as well as we’d like. However as we don’t put them to the male until they are fully up to weight & certainly never, before they are 18 months old, this shouldn’t be a problem – Merson’s daughters tend to start a little diminutive & then ‘put on a spurt’ during their second Spring!
And now we are into Year Three of our breeding programme; & the babies are coming, thick & fast….we have about thirty to kid during Spring 2009 so are expecting the patter of many cheeky little feet, not to mention plenty of sleepless nights. Wish us luck – & lots of girls!