Brownie Out, Buttercup In

19 09 2011

Well, on SUnday we said goodbye to Brownie, our Oberhasli herd queen and producer of fine milk. We’ve been waiting to find her a home until the end of milking season, as her loss cuts our daily milk production by half. Brownie was a good goat, but because I am trying to breed smaller goats, her size and flightyness made her more of a problem than an asset. Once she started giving less milk, and it became clear that she was physically healthy, it was time to bid her farewell. I am sure she will be quite happy in her new home, with two does similar in size to her that have their horns as well.

Taking her place as my herd queen is Buttercup. Buttercup is a smaller LaMancha with a wonderful, sweet temperament and a passion for staying in one place. She loves to eat, and is already doing a great job keeping the herd eating right alongside her. She prefers browse, pasture and foraging over eating hay, so I am pleased that she wants to stay out and eat the free food for as long as possible. Not only is this easier on the feed budget, but it produces healthier animals and better tasting milk.

The first thing I did yesterday at milking time was take the bell off Brownie’s collar, and adorn Buttercup with her very own collar and bell, signifying to the household (and maybe to the goats) that she is the queen now.

I think that even my goat-herd helpers C and P are pleased that Brownie is gone and that Buttercup has replaced her. Brownie had no problem with forcing the other goats back to the pen before they were ready, mainly because she prefers the easy life of eating hay and not having to work for her food. Hopefully she will get plenty of that in her new home.

Now all I need is that mobile goat pen so I can take them out in the morning and leave them to forage all day. It will free up a lot of time that Bean will be demanding from me in the upcoming weeks.

One final note for this post. Our new little buck is taking his job quite seriously. Navin has been courting Nelly and Buttercup, both of whom have gone into heat this week. Here’s hoping that they both kid in February! We’ll know by Christmas or so if they are pregnant for sure. So next year, we may be adding chevon to our freezer and availability with the chicken eggs and goat milk, cheese and soap. I daresay this herd share thing is going to be downright spiffy.

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