September 27, 2008

What did you say?

We had visitors to the farm. A young couple, city dwellers. Totally clueless to anything to do with a farm or animals. They located us through a listing on an on line goat breeders registry. I guess we where closest to them. I am going to have to update our website and state no visits to the farm unless scheduled. I need to take our information off the registries also. Don't like strangers just showing up to the farm unannounced.
They had driven an hour to find us. Amazed actually they didn’t get lost out here in the boonies. They seemed like a nice enough young couple so I gave them a quick tour.

During their visit, one of the Angoras came close to where we were standing. The young lady pointed and said you have sheep. I said we use to, not right now, we pick the new wethers up next Friday. She looked confused and asks what was she looking at. The conversation went back and forth of my saying it is a goat. She pointing out it has wool. Nope, not wool, fiber, Angora Mohair. Her asking is it a boy or a girl, I said a doe. She got flustered and said but you said it was a goat not a deer.

At times my mind doesn’t fire on all four cylinders, I am not the brightest crayon in the box… so I was totally confused and couldn’t understand what she was saying. It then dawned on me I said doe not female.

Remember the song from the Sound of Music Do Re Me Fa So La Te Do…
Doe a deer, a female deer
Ray a drop of golden sun
Me a name I call myself
Fa a long long way to run…

I said "doe", she thought deer.

I cut everyone slack, when it comes to the goats. The neighbors who are born and raised country folks thought we had sheep too. They had no clue there were fiber producing Angora goats and they now call ours the sheep-goats. Around here if it isn’t cattle no one knows (or wants to know) anything.

The entire visit was similar in conversation, basically my explaining what the animals were, the who’s, what’s, why’s and how’s.

The most humorous to me is when people see the La Mancha goats. They have no ears. They were bred that way. Never fails they just freak out. What happened to their ears! It does take some getting use to...earless goats. My niece calls them our Shrek goats. But imagine telling folks this would confuse them more.

The day in review provided a bit of entertaining conversation between the better half and I during his evening phone call home. The humor not being that she was unfamiliar with the language of the farm, but that I had difficulty in not being able to speak in I guess you would say layman terms.

So I thought I would blog a bit on a vocabulary for goats.
Doe - Female goat
Buck - A intact male goat
Kid(s) - Baby goats, either sex.
Yearling - A baby goat between 6 and 12 months of age.
Wether - Castrated male goat
There are different breeds of goats, but also different types of goats.

If you were interested in getting goats to clear land, you would want what some call Scrub goats, they are goats of unknown ancestry. Crossbred goats in the "goat world" for most would not serve many other purposes. They can also be referred to as Unrecorded Grade goats -A goat whose ancestry is either unknown or just not recorded.

There are Grade goats, these are goats with one parent being registered and the other not. For example we have our ABGA registered SA Boer buck who if we crossed with a dairy doe would produce grade goats. The purpose could be to have their offspring as terminal meat sales (I’m sorry I know it not always pleasant to discuss how things go on the farm) and to have the dairy doe in milk. If you wanted to register the offspring from the above mentioned breeding –
With the meat goat registry they could be registered as percent animals (50 % meat 50% dairy breed).
With the dairy registry they could not be registered due to being crossed with a meat goat.

On the other hand if you had two dairy breeds of goats for example a purebred Saanen doe and a purebred La Mancha buck you could then register their doe offspring as Recorded grade.
Recordation - Documentation of a crossbreed on record with a registry.

Then there are the purebred breeds of goats. These are goats that their ancestry can be traced. They are registered with the different registries.
Registration -Documentation of a purebred or American goat on registry with a registry.

Our Angora herd is either registered with the CAGBA Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association or the AAGBA American Angora Goat Breeders Association.
Our South African Boer buck and doe are registered with ABGA American Boer Goat Association.
Our dairy goats are registered with the ADGA American Dairy Goat Association.
For our farm purposes the Angoras are for fiber, breeding stock and pets. The meat goats are registered and are for breeding stock and terminal meat sales (if we have to). Our dairy goats are for milking, breeding stock and if crossbred offspring go to terminal meat sales (again if we have to).

We have found that any breed of goat will make a good farm pet. As long as there are at least 2. Goats are herd animals.
Herd animal - a group of animals, or related wild animal species, which live a collective life together. A natural pattern of behavior.

Goat meat is called Chevon.
Goat cheese is called Chevre (French Classic). However you can make any type of cheese with goat milk. It would be called goat milk ricotta, goat milk feta, and so on.

What we feed our goats is a ration.
Ration - The amount of feed fed to the goats over a 24-hour period, or a specific amount given on a regular basis.

If a goat is pregnant she might be referred to as In kid.
If a goat has just kidded (gave birth) she will be In Milk.
If you understand this, raise, breed and care for goats you are a Capriculturist.
Capriculture- New term that refers to Goat Husbandry.

On sheep, what I remember but don’t hold me to all of it.
Lambs are young sheep and are either ewe lambs (female) or ram lambs (male).
A ewe is a female sheep that has had a lamb.
A ram is an uncastrated male sheep.
Male lambs that are castrated become wethers.
Spring lamb is a lamb that has only been raised on it’s mothers milk and grass. Never having been fed a ration.
A young female sheep is a ewe lamb until the autumn after her birth, then she becomes a ewe hogg. She remains a ewe hogg until she is shorn for the first time at 14 - 16 months, when she becomes a gimmer. She is a gimmer until she lambs and becomes a ewe.
Crossbred ewes are referred to as Mules.
By definition a Mule sheep is only bred from the Bluefaced Leicester ram on a purebred ewe of another pure breed. But I am thinking that all crossbreds are now commonly referred to as Mules.


barefootchef said...

Ah, yes the ewe hogg...the first sheering of her, the fleece, is called a hoggett. Also known as virgin wool...

Hot Belly Mama - taking it all back said...

ah, that couple sounds like me and my husband. when we visited a farm a few weekends ago, we said the exact same thing "what happened to his ears!" The nine year old girl that was touring us looked at like, "do you have a brain?" lol. I keep telling everyone that anyone that lives on a farm is a walking encyclopedia and you are a great example of that. I bow down to the master...