May 16, 2011

Our Kinder Starter Kit

I am very pleased to announce that our Kinder Goat starter kit is at last complete. Let me introduce you to ....

Sugarland Farm Rescue Me

Tarheel Acres Chipper

They are registered Pygmy bucks, the second half of our Kinder starter kit. The Kinder is a Nubian / Pygmy cross, mid-size, dual purpose goat (for both milk and meat), perfect for homesteaders.

To this cross the Pygmy contributes its small size; excellent feed conversion (high milk production on minimum food intake); high quality, high protein, high butterfat milk; heavier mucsling (for meat production); breed hardiness; aseasonal breeding (i.e. year around); and multiple births (triplets and quads are common).

The Nubian contributes longer legs (better for standing over the milking bucket); larger, easier to milk teats; a well attached udder; higher production of high quality milk; extended lactations; more correct rump and rear legs; adorable "airplane" (long and somewhat lowered) ears; and color.

"McGruff," scratching his head & back on the pick-up.

Rescue Me, well, we're not going to call him that. Nor "Rescue." Actually we've started calling him "Gruffy," "Ol' Gruff", or "McGruff". He's 4 and 1/2 years old, and stands 18 inches tall at the withers. Standing next to Dan's Chevy S-10 pick-up, you can see he's not very tall! His coloring is referred to as caramel, which is one of the six Pygmy colorations recognized by the National Pygmy Goat Association.

Chipper, a grey agouti, is 10 weeks old and smaller than Surprise's 3 week old twins. That may seem young, but unfortunately for little bucks, they are commonly separated from their mothers at about 8 weeks of age. This is because they are fully capable of breeding at 2 months old.

He has some growing to do before we promote him to that role. I got the bucks now because they were available. Last summer, I started looking for a registered Pygmy buck too late, and couldn't find one of breeding size for sale. I had to resort to Breeding Plan E, which at least meant kids and milk for this year. The very day we decided to continue looking for Pygmy bucks, I found a breeder on Craigslist. He had several available and gave us a deal for buying two. We thought two unrelated bucks and two unrelated does was the best way to start our Kinder herd, giving us a larger genetic pool for the first several years.

McGruff has been polite and willing to receive a scratch on the head.

He'd prefer to go home, if you please and thank you very much, but hasn't ruled us out altogether. His bleating is so funny. He sounds nothing like a goat, and everything like the "gruff" in 3 Billy Goats Gruff (hence his new nickname).

Chipper's bleating sounds more like the "beep, beep" of a toy car. We're hearing a lot of it because he misses his mom! By day two, he was hoarse, but that didn't stop him. Actually he'd much prefer being in with the twins and the does.

Jasmine & Chipper eying each other

In fact, he made his great escape in the (now blocked) gap between the gate and the gate post. Once he got in with the girls, however, no one seemed to be very interested in his plight. Much to his dismay, they all ran away. He didn't let us actually catch him, but did allow himself to be herded back through the gate.

Pygmies are really neat goats and very personable. I see why folks fall in love with them. Hopefully they'll make their adjustment quickly and be content with their new home.


Sharon said...

Mim has dwarf laMancha's for milk goats and they are a never ending source of entertainment. Her two does both had triplets. Between all the kids and lambs, there are a of babies calling for mamas.

Benita said...

I noticed that McGruff has long hair - Can it be spun?

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Everyone keeps telling us we need a few goats for hours of entertainment. I can see that now!

trump said...

I get a kick out of watching goats. We do have quite a bit of them here in the Lancaster Pa area, so i do try and feed them crackers or something. Ive never had goat milk before, but i hear that its good. Im just not sure if i have the guts to try it ,lol. Richard from Lebanon county's Amish settlement.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

The smaller the doe, the more kids she has? Doesn't seem fair, or very comfortable. They are adorable though.

Leigh said...

Sharon, I didn't know Mim had dwarf LaManchas. What fun. Dan doesn't like the LaManchas because of their ears, but I hear they have great temperaments and give lots of good tasting milk.

Benita, don't think I didn't examine all that hair closely with the same thing in mind! LOL. It's all guard hair, so maybe for some stout string...

Diana, good to hear from you! Yes, goats are endlessly entertaining. Ours are all more like big dogs (or little dogs), than anything. And the babies! What a hoot.

Richard, a lot of folks feel the same, LOL. I couldn't talk my DIL's folks in to trying a taste when they came for a visit. Good goats milk will taste exactly the same as or better than cows milk. However, not all goat milk is the same! It depends on breed and individual, including diet and length of lactation. Find someone with some good sweet milk and ask for a taste. You'll be pleasantly surprised!

Jane, well, putting it like that sounds odd but true. The mini breeds are known for multiples. Of course, they're smaller than singles at first, but don't take long to catch up.

Woolly Bits said...

your newbies look cute, esp. the baby:)) hard to believe that they mature so quickly! mcgruff really looks like a picture perfect goat with his long coat! I wouldn't fancy spinning it though - it's probably good to use as exfoliation on your hands:))

DebbieB said...

I do declare, you have filled up my "adorable" quotient for the day! How CUTE are these guys????? I'm so pleased that you got your Pygmy bucks, and so quickly, as soon as you started looking again. All in God's timing.

DebbieB said...

I forgot to ask, how early can a Pygmy buck be weaned? I only have experience with kittens, and at 2 months, my little guys were just barely eating soft food. I can't imagine having them raring to go out on their own and ready to breed!

Leigh said...

Bettina, it's almost a shame they can breed so young. I sort of hate to separate them from their moms, but who wants a goat pregnant by her own son only 2 months after giving birth!?!?!

You're right about Ol' Gruff's coat. Not a choice for spinning!

Debbie, good question. Goats can be weaned after 8 weeks. That's when their digestive systems are developed enough to utilize solid foods. I think it's helpful for them to have access to mother's milk for longer, but it isn't necessary. In regards to breeding, Surprise's 3 week olds are already mounting one another and going through the motions! I plan to separate them right after 8 weeks. If they were doelings or wethered, they could be left with their mom until she wanted to wean them. I think I'll try to sell them as grade Nubian bucklings though.

Renee Nefe said...

Congrats on the boys! Looks like you're on your way.

How is Jasmine doing?

Mama Pea said...

Congratulations on the acquisition of your two new "boys!" They are beautiful. I have no experience with anything but standard sized goats so am having trouble imagining just how small these guys are. All of a sudden, you are REALLY into goats. Will be eager to hear more of the story.

The old beliefs of goats being smelly creature who will eat anything and their milk being foul tasting is a hard one to overcome. When we had our small goat herd we, too, had people who absolutely refused to taste the milk. Sigh. (As an aside, I'll take goat poop any day over cow poop! So there.)

Kari said...

Eeeeee! Pygmy goats must rank right at the top of the cute animal list! Congrats on your new herd members.

Michelle said...

I love your title and your new goats! We had a cute pygmy wether for a pet years ago as a companion for my Saanen (I never bred her although would loved to have had a milk goat; my husband is the pygmy lover). If I had goats now I would be tempted by the Nigerian Dwarf breed. Cute and small like pygmies, but not as "portly" and better milkers.

Anonymous said...

They are adorable! I love the name McGruff :)

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

They are so cute! I love the pictures. My mother-in-laws neighbors have goats and they are a lot of fun to watch!

Leigh said...

Renee, truly we're on our way. Jasmine is back to her old self. I'm still dealing with the udder problem which is probably mastitis and/or from previous mastitis damage. Healing that is the focus.

Mama Pea thanks! I reckon we really are into goats. This is my first experience with a minibreed too. I have to say, these guys have personality! Lots of fun so far.

Kari they really are cute, aren't they? I understand they are really gaining in popularity too.

Michelle, there is a breeder fairly close who breeds and sells Nigerians Dwarfs. I've looked at the photos on her website and those little gals really pack some amazing udders! They're supposed to have rich, sweet milk too.

Renee thanks! It really suits him though he's a sweetheart under all that gruffness. :)

Alicia, the kids are especially fun. Surprise's twins do some amazing leaps and mid-air twists. It's really enjoyable to watch them.

trump said...

Ive just posted another story about Jean the old order Mennonite from New York state. Please feel free in giving it a look. Also please post your questions for her while we have her on Amish stories. Thank you folks. Richard

Donna said...

They are adorable! Congratulations :)

* Crystal * said...

Oh congrats on your new boys!!

They are beautiful!!!! I have a friend in Alabama who has a Kinder doe that she is just over the moon thrilled about.

We were tempted to start out with Kinders, but I couldn't find the quality I wanted to start with close by, and none of the local pygmy folks had CAE negative goats :-(

So we ended up with Miniature Alpines. Tootsie, my 90lb 1st freshener is producing 6 1/2lbs of very rich milk per day! It's so sweet and very high in butterfat....Can't wait to try out your yougurt cheese cheesecake with her milk. :-)

I added a new boy too...a Lamancha bottle baby so I have to wait a bit longer so I can have milk to use in recipes, but once my 3 bottle babies are weaned I'll have a flood of milk to play with from my Alpine & Mini Alpine and hopefully by this summer I can start producing the majority of our dairy products right in my own kitchen!


Leigh said...

Richard, thanks for letting me know. I'm behind in blog reading but will swing by sometime today!

Donna, thanks!

Crystal, thank you! We had to travel a bit to get ours. Mini Alpines sounds like a great idea though. I love the minis, they are adorable and lots of fun. Are you going to try your hand at cheese making? I tried one batch. It was a flop on one hand, but melts beautifully anyway so I reckon that part is a success!

Kathy said...

I love it!!!!

Leigh said...

Kathy, thanks. So good to hear from you!