We have been BUSY on the homestead the last few weeks. This is of course a good thing for a lot of reasons.
First, we successfully grafted a buckling to our 3/4 Guernsey doe, Honey. She was a skeptical adoptive mama at first, but we were correct in guaging her maternal drive to protect and care for her babies, and she has accepted Fonso (Fonz) as her own. They are absolutely adorable.
In surprising news, we are thinking that it is possible Honey’s AI actually took. We first bred her the 1st week in December. 3 weeks later, to our disappointment, she came back into heat. So, on Dec 29th, we bred her again. And again, we were disappointed when she started showing signs of heat 3 weeks later. We expected a 50% success rate with AI and our research had concluded that AI in goats was more like 30-40% successful, for breeders who are proficient in AI procedures… I am an absolute amateur, though thoroughly researched, so I expected our results to be on the low end. Well, I went out to help Fonz eat last week and I thought Honey was looking rather rotund. I got out my measuring tape and lo and behold, she was measuring 4 inches larger since her insemination date, which was 6 weeks prior. For those of you not jive with the AI procedures, 6 weeks is when you can begin measuring for growth to confirm pregnancy. 4-6 inch increase in barrel size is typical within the first 6 weeks of gestation. Anyway, that means I’m being EXTRA vigilant with her and monitoring her health and wellness since she is actively nursing Fonz. If she IS pregnant, what a happy surprise! If she isn’t, then we are no more disappointed than we were when we presumed that her AI had not been successful.
Fonz is 3 weeks old now, and we plan to wean him at 10 weeks, and that should be copacetic with Honey’s dry off date.
For more info on our goat breeding chart, you can check out our Goatzz page! I love having quantifiable data for our farm. It helps me stay organized, and it gives visual representation of what we have going on with each of our animals.
We have been busy working on the business aspect of things on the homestead; working on finances, planning our enterprises for this year, and taking care of all our registration applications. Our does are BGS registered, and we are waiting on BGS registration for Fonso. We are also now members of GGBoA (Guernsey Goat Breeders of America) and BGS (British Goat Society) and pending registration with ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association). It is a lot, and probably unnecessary from a strictly homesteader perspective, but we care about the genetics of our herd, and as the only Guernsey goat breeders in East Tennessee, we are making it a priority to enhance and improve the breed as we build our herd.
So all of that has been exciting for me, as I enjoy record keeping and organization and lists of all kinds. In the meantime, we are anxiously awaiting spring here on the homestead!