I really do love my Toggenburg goats, but, as I have mentioned before, there are a couple of major drawbacks to having a less-popular breed – primarily relating to genetics. As one of only two registered breeders of Toggs in my whole province, I have to range pretty far to find bucks that are not related to some, or occasionally all, of my herd. This is not really uncommon – one lady drove for more than 12 hours to come and buy a buck from us, for exactly the same reason.
We could have put off getting a new buck until 2016, as we did not have any girl babies in 2014, so there are no major issues with daughters in the herd…for now. However, we’ve bred all of our does this year, so by 2016, we will NEED a fresh buck, and there is really no guarantee that we will have any more time (for shopping, and also to go collect the buck) or money (ha!) than we have right now, so it seems like a good idea to get going with the whole thing. Also, with fresh blood in the herd, we could finally start offering ‘homestead packages’ of a few does and an unrelated buck…something that we have not really been able to do, to date, but that is in the long-term business plan.
Buck shopping is equal parts frustrating and fun. I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at photos of girl goat rear ends – nobody seems to be too concerned about showing off their bucks, but *everyone* wants to send you a picture of the nicest udder in their herd. Even shopping for a boy, you better be looking at pictures of his mom and grandma, since what they have in the udder department will tell you a lot about what the buck is going to add to (or subtract from) your herd. Goat breeders, on the whole, are friendly and down-to-earth, and it’s been fun chatting with folks about pedigrees and breeding plans. On the other hand, trying to find someone who has an appropriate animal *and* can ship it to us, *and* is willing to hold it until weaned is really asking a lot, and there are some really nice herds that we just couldn’t buy from this year because of circumstances.
Looking at all of these goats, and their pedigrees, and their show ribbons and such has really got me thinking. We should be showing our girls, as well. One of our does has both a mother and a twin sister who’ve gone Grand Champion in major shows, and the mother of one of our bucks is also quite decorated, as is the grandmother of another. It would be fun to hang out with all of these folks I’ve been emailing with and talking to over the years, too. Too bad it’s such a logistical nightmare with young children, and all of the shows are a long trek for us. Aah, well, maybe down the road a bit.
Meanwhile, I’ve got some more udders to go examine…