http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:42:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/cropped-logo-square1-32x32.jpg http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com 32 32 Making Suet Blocks http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/making-suet-blocks/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:28:03 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9901 Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Make Suet

One of the things I love about where we live are the many birds. I will often set out seed or suet for them to enjoy.

I do buy suet blocks from the store, but sometimes if I have the ingredients on hand I will make my own. They are easy to make and don’t take much time.

 

INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups lard
• 3/4 cups peanut butter
• 1 cup flour
• 1 cup corn meal (I have read that masa could work better since it doesn’t tend to sink while the block is hardening)
• 1.5 cups mix of bird seed, scratch, & black oil sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup grated apple
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Make Suet

 

HOW TO

1. Using a pot on the stove, melt the lard and nut butter.

2. When the lard and nut butter have turned to liquid, add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Make Suet

 

3. Pour the mixture into a half gallon carton. Place the carton upright in the fridge to harden.

4. When the liquid mix has turned to a solid, tear off the carton and cut into individual blocks.

5. Extra blocks can be placed between wax paper and put in the freezer until they are ready to be used.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Make Suet

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Make Suet

 

FEEDING OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS

Place blocks in a suet feeder and watch the birds flock to it.

The blocks could also be given to your chickens as a treat.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Make Suet

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Make Suet

 

 

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How to Render Lard http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/how-to-render-lard/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:52:14 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9900 Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Render Lard

As we strive to have a sustainable home, we want to use the most of our farm raised animals. Today that means using fat from our pigs to render lard.

When we take our pork to be processed we let the butcher know we would like to keep the fat. The fat comes back to us in slabs. To turn those slabs into a usable product I use a slow cooker. It’s so simple, I should have started rendering lard years ago.

 

Lard

fat from a pig that is rendered and clarified for use in cooking.

 

STEP 1

Cut the cold slab(s) into small chunks. This is the most difficult part of the entire process. Maybe if you have good knives, you will have an easier time than I do using our crappy one. The smaller the chunks the better.

To keep the fat from sticking, pour about a 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of a slow cooker. Then, toss in the fat chunks.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Render Lard

 

STEP 2

I turn the slow cooker on high, at least for the first little bit.

You know you are on your way to rendered lard when the fat changes from it’s lovely pinkish color to a horrid creamish color.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Render Lard

 

As the fat heats up, liquid escapes the chunks and starts filling the slow cooker. This is the good stuff.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Render Lard

 

STEP 3

Using cheesecloth and a funnel, I carefully strain the liquid fat into a jar.

I pour the first bit of liquid about an hour and a half into the cooking.

I turn the slow cooker to low, and let it render some more. Then, when there’s more liquid I strain that.

I typically repeat this process three times.

*Please note – the fat will not render completely out. There will still be some chunks remaining.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Render Lard

 

STEP 4

After the liquid cools, I place a lid on the jar and put it in the fridge. Here it turns into the soft, solid, white stuff we refer to as lard.

It can be used in cooking, baking, suet, or soap making.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | How to Render Lard

 

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2018 Goats for Sale http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/2018-goats-for-sale/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 01:36:43 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9823 Ridgetop Farm and Garden | 2018 Nigerian Dwarf Kids for Sale

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BB1
Buck

Elfin Acres F Tamarack  X  Diji Farm Meredith

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | 2018 Nigerian Dwarf Kids for Sale

DOB: 2/25/2018
Horn Status: Disbudded
Availability: Possibly retained

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BG1
Buck

Elfin Acres F Tamarack  X  The BB Miss Georgia O’Keefe

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | 2018 Nigerian Dwarf Kids for Sale

DOB: 3/2/2018
Horn Status: Disbudded
Availability: SOLD

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BG2
Doe

Elfin Acres F Tamarack  X  The BB Miss Georgia O’Keefe

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | 2018 Nigerian Dwarf Kids for Sale

DOB: 3/2/2018
Horn Status: Disbudded
Availability: May 4th
$300

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BW1
Buck

Elfin Acres F Tamarack  X  KK Snowd’N Edith

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | 2018 Nigerian Dwarf Kids for Sale

DOB: 3/5/2018
Horn Status: Polled
Availability: May 7th
Sold as an intact male
$400

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BW2
Buck

Elfin Acres F Tamarack  X  KK Snowd’N Edith

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | 2018 Nigerian Dwarf Kids for Sale

DOB: 3/5/2018
Horn Status: Disbudded
Availability: SOLD

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BW3
Doe

Elfin Acres F Tamarack  X  KK Snowd’N Edith

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | 2018 Nigerian Dwarf Kids for Sale

DOB: 3/5/2018
Horn Status: Disbudded
Availability: May 7th
$300

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Click here to see our SALES POLICY

 

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Goat Coat Pattern http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/goat-coat-pattern/ Sat, 14 Apr 2018 19:58:20 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9820 Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

Continuing my fascination with genetics, this post is about the coat patterns of goats.

In my previous post on coat color, I mentioned that the Agouti locus determines the color of a goat. Part of determining the color is also determining the pattern.

A goat receives two alleles on the Agouti locus – one comes from the dam, one comes from the sire. If the alleles are the same (homozygous), such as both being buckskin, then the kid would also be buckskin. However, if the alleles are different (heterozygous), different combinations of color patterns can be expressed. The Agouti alleles are co-dominant, meaning they both can be shown. In general, though, the pattern with most tan will be expressed.

Two other things to consider are pattern modifiers and white spotting. White spotting can change what we see on the goat’s coat, masking its genetic color pattern.

 

Agouti Allele’s

This is not a complete list, but the most common in Nigerian Dwarf Goats

 

SOLID

When only pheomelanin is present and no eumelanin this produces a solid pattern. This is the most dominant pattern.

Our goat, Bunny, is a solid light cream color with white spotting.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

CHAMOISEE

Also known as Badgerface. Goats with this pattern are tan or brown, with a black (or dark brown) underbelly, dorsal stripe, facial stripe, and lower legs.

 

BUCKSKIN

Also known as San Clemente. The body on a buckskin can be cream, tan, or dark reddish brown. They are distinguished by their black (or dark brown) cape around the head, neck, and shoulders. Buckskins also express black (or dark brown) on top of their tail and chevron on the back legs. Their head is black (or dark brown) with lighter stripes.

Vern is a dark buckskin with random spotting.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

COU CLAIR/COU BLANC

Also known as Peacock. These goats have a tan (cou clair) or white front (cou blanc), while their back half is black (or dark brown). They also have black (or dark brown) facial stripes.

 

SWISS MARKED

Also known as the Toggenburg pattern. Goats that are Swiss marked have a black (or dark brown) body. The pheomelanin (white, cream, or tan) areas include all 4 legs, facial stripes, ears, and under the tail.

WyldeStyle is Swiss marked.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

SUNDGAU

The Sundgau pattern is similar to the Swiss marked pattern with a black (or dark brown) body and light legs, facial stripes, ears, and under the tail. However, the Sundgau pattern also has a light underbelly. It also has black (or dark brown) stripes on their light legs.

 

NO PATTERN

When there is only eumelanin and no pheomelanin present, this produces an all black goat. This is the most recessive pattern.

 

COMBINATION PATTERNS

Because goats can show both the pattern they inherited from their dam and the one they inherited from their sire, sometimes combination patterns occur.

Crash is a Buckskin/Swiss Marked combination.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

White Spotting & Other Modifiers

Sometimes, in certain areas the eumelanin and/or pheomelanin pigments are not produced. This results in white spotting.

Genetically, the base color is still present, but it is masked by the spotting.

There are multiple genes associated with white spotting, so one goat could have multiple spotting patterns.

 

RANDOM

Random spots on the body

 

BELTED

White band around a goat’s midsection. The belt may go entirely around the goat, or not – and be referred to as a partial belt.

WyldeStyle has a partial belt with her Swiss markings.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

SCHWARTZAL

The body is primarily white with dark markings on the head and sometimes the legs.

 

ROANING

Roaning is when white hairs are sprinkled among colored hairs. They are single hairs, not spots of white.

Georgia has roaning throughout her body.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

FROSTING

When ticking occurs on the muzzle, ears, or tail it is known as frosting.

Georgia also has frosting.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

WHITE POLL

A white poll refers to a white spot on top of the head.

Bunny has a white poll.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

MOON SPOTS

Moon spots are random spots of color on top of a base color.

Moon has moon spots.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat Coat Pattern

 

My goal is to take this information to learn more about and enhance our own herd.

 

Science is Fun & Genetics are Fascinating!

 

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Goat Coat Color http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/goat-coat-color/ Mon, 09 Apr 2018 20:01:49 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9821

Although it is true outward appearance is really of little importance, a fun bonus with raising Nigerian Dwarf Goats is the variety of coats and patterns. One goat can look similar or look completely different from their herd mates. I could have a herd of 15 goats and all 15 goats potentially could look different. This fascinates me.

The genetic process for goat color is complicated, but I have it narrowed down to a few basic components. This is helping me wrap my brain around the science.

For a refresher on basic genetic terms, click here.

 

PIGMENT

Pigment that makes up the coat color is made of the protein melanin. There are two types of melanin – eumelanin and pheomelanin. A number of different genes determine where the eumelanin and pheomelanin pigments are throughout the coat. Coat color and pattern is a result of the combination of eumelanin, pheomelanin, and white spotting.

EUMELANIN = Produces black or brown. Only one color is present, though – black or brown, not both.
PHEOMELANIN = Produces creams, tans, and reds. More than one color can be present, as can varying shades.

 

AGOUTI LOCUS (A)

Most of the genetics behind coat color and pattern come from the Agouti locus. This locus determines where and how much pheomelanin and eumelanin is produced. There can be a lot of pheomelanin expressed and very little eumelanin, or vice versa – and everything in between. If a goat displays only pheomelanin and no eumelanin, the goat will be a solid cream, tan or red.   If a goat does not produce any pheomelanin and only produces eumelanin the goat will be solid black or dark brown.

There are at least 21 different possible alleles for this locus – no wonder goats can come in such a wide variety of colors and patterns!

In most cases, tan is dominant in the pheomelanin areas. This can create a variety of combinations when the dam and sire have different colors and patterns because the tan areas of both patterns will generally be expressed.

 

BROWN LOCUS (B)

This locus is also important in determining coat color. It determines whether the eumelanic areas are black or dark brown. Dark brown is dominant over black, however dark brown is not as common.

The brown locus has four alleles, or four different possible color options. However, any one goat only has two alleles in its genetic makeup – it receives one allele from mom and one allele from dad. The two alleles could be the same (homozygous) of they could be different (heterozygous).

The four alleles in order of dominance are:
Bd: dark brown, sometimes referred to as chocolate brown
Bl: light brown
B+: black, sometimes referred to as the wild type
b: medium brown, very rare

 

SPOTTING (S)

To make things even more complicated, goats can also have white spotting. These white spots are a lack of pigment and can occur on any color or pattern, masking the base color. The spotting can be very little or cover an entire coat.

The majority of Nigerian Dwarf Goats have at least a little spotting.

 

EUMELANIN COLORS

DARK BROWN

Dark brown is dominant on the B locus. It is a modifier of black. All areas that would be black are instead dark brown.

 

BLACK

Black is recessive on the B locus, therefore both parents must pass on the gene for a kid to be black.

Since it is recessive, it can be hidden by another color and be passed on to the kids.

Georgia is black with roaning.

 

PHEOMELANIN COLORS

WHITE/CREAM

A seemingly solid white goat could actually be a a very light cream color.

Another way a goat can appear white is if their spotting is so intense that it completely masks the true base color.

Willow is cream with white spotting

 

TAN/BROWN

The tans and browns can range from light tan to a dark reddish brown (different from the dark brown produced by eumelanin)

Vern is buckskin in black and dark reddish brown

 

GOLD/RED

The golds and reds also have quite a range from a light gold to a dark reddish gold.

Wingman is a light gold color.

 

I consider Moon’s base color to be a medium red gold.

 

To determine coat color requires figuring out the base color or pattern, whether the B locus is black or has been modified to dark brown, and identifying white spotting.

 

 

Science is Fun & Genetics are Fascinating!

 

 

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The Science Behind Color & Pattern http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/the-science-behind-color-pattern/ Wed, 04 Apr 2018 19:58:16 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9819 Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Nigerian Dwarf Goat | Genetics | Color | Pattern

Simply because I find it fascinating, I’ve been researching the science behind Nigerian Dwarf Goat coat colors and patterns.

I have discovered it is quite complex.

But for this post, I’ll start with the basics of genetics.

 

Genetics
the study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics.

 

PHENOTYPE & GENOTYPE

PHENOTYPE = Observable characteristics, such as hair color and behavior. They are the result of genotype and the environment.
GENOTYPE = Set of genes in DNA which is responsible for a particular trait.

The coat color and pattern we observe on a goat is its phenotype. The phenotype is determined by the genotype.

 

GENES, DNA, & CHROMOSOMES, OH MY

GENES = Segment of DNA. Carries the information we inherit from our parents.
DNA = Genetic material that is responsible for all characteristics, such as how an animal looks and behaves. It is organized into chromosomes.
CHROMOSOMES = One chromosome is from the mother and one chromosome comes from the father creating a pair of chromosomes. These pairs are located within the nucleus of a cell. Goats have 60 (30 pairs) chromosomes. Sheep have 54. Humans have 46.
ALLELE = Variant form of a gene, such as brown or black hair. Goats have two alleles for each characteristic – one from mom, one from dad.
LOCI = Location of a particular gene on a DNA molecule. Each gene has its own specific locus.

All characteristics come from the genes inherited from ones parents. My focus is on the outward appearance of color and pattern, which are determined by many different alleles each located on their own locus.

 

HOMOZYGOUS & HETEROZYGOUS

HOMOZYGOUS = Two of the same allele at a particular locus – such as a brown allele from mom and also a brown allele from dad
HETEROZYGOUS = Two different allele at a particular locus – such as a brown allele from mom, but a black allele from dad

 

RECESSIVE & DOMINANT GENES

DOMINANT GENE = If a dominant allele is present, it is always expressed in the phenotype.
RECESSIVE GENE = Is expressed only when the two alleles for a particular trait are both recessive. If one of the alleles is dominant, that dominant gene will hide the recessive.

Dominant and recessive genes refer to the probability of inheriting a trait from ones parents.

Blue eyes are a dominant trait in goats. This means the only way for a goat to have blue eyes is for one, or both, of its parent’s to express that trait. A goat does not mask or hide the blue eyed gene. If they have the gene, they express it.

Another dominant trait in goats is being polled. If a kid does not have a polled dam or sire, there is no chance of it being polled.

To have a recessive gene, such as horns, be expressed both alleles must be the recessive gene. Two horned parents will only produce horned kids.

 

 

Science is Fun & Genetics are Fascinating!

 

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Polled, or Not? http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/polled-or-not/ Wed, 04 Apr 2018 05:03:11 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9822 Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Genetically Speaking | Polled or Not

Polled animals are animals born naturally without horns. Some breeds of cattle are entirely polled. There are not any goat breeds entirely polled.

In goats, the polled gene is dominant. This means that a kid can only be polled if one, or both, parents are polled.

Every goat receives two genes of each characteristic (in this case being polled), one from mom and one from dad. Although, only one of the genes will be expressed. If mom or dad have the dominant trait, that will be the one expressed. If neither mom or dad have the dominant trait, neither will their kids.

Since disbudding is not enjoyable for the kid or the person doing the disbudding, being polled is a desirable characteristic for some breeders.

Others believe being polled is a genetic flaw and therefore choose not to breed the trait.

Either way, polled goats are not the norm. Research done long ago showed breeding a polled doe to a polled buck resulted in a higher frequency of the kid being intersex. The research is debatable, but most breeders today still choose not to breed polled to polled.

 

POLLED PROBABILITY

To help visualize the probability of polled vs. horns in a breeding pair, examine the Punnet squares below.

• The dam has two genes for the polled/horned characteristic – one from each of her parents. The two genes are known and represented in the rectangles.
• The sire has two genes for the polled/horned characteristic – one from each of his parents. The two genes are known and represented in the rectangles.
• The kid will also have two genes for the polled/horned characteristic – one from each of his parents. The possible options are displayed in the squares.

P = polled
p = horned

Since being polled is a dominant trait, if a P is shown in a square the goat will be polled. If a P is not present, the goat will have horns.

The sire and dam each have two polled/not polled genes, but each pass only one to the kid.  The two letters represent the one gene from the dam and the one gene from the sire that were passed to the kid.

The possible results are:
PP = HOMOZYGOUS POLLED. This would result in a polled goat that does not carry the horn gene. This is rare in goat herds.
Pp = HETEROZYGOUS POLLED. This would result in a polled goat that carries the recessive horn gene. Most polled goats are heterozygous.
pp = HOMOZYGOUS HORNED. This would result in a horned goat, with no possibility of being polled. Even though horns are recessive, this is the most common outcome in goats.

 

PUNNET SQUARE 1

Here we have a heterozygous polled goat (Pp) bred to a homozygous horned goat(pp).

The probability of a kid being polled is 50/50.

 

PUNNET SQUARE 2

This Punnet square shows a homozygous horned goat(pp) bred to another homozygous horned goat(pp).

The probability of a kid being polled is 0.

 

PUNNET SQUARES 3-6

These four options are possible, but not likely since most goats are not homozygous polled or bred to another polled goat.

 

HOW TO KNOW IF A NEWBORN KID IS POLLED

It can be tricky to tell if a newborn kid is polled. It is important to know for sure, though, because you wouldn’t want to disbud an animal that doesn’t need it.

As newborns, most horned kids will have hair swirls where their horns will be.

Polled kids will generally have bumps where horns would be. But, the bumps feel more round and less pointy than horns poking through. Also, if the skin moves a bit at the bump, the goat is probably polled. Skin around incoming horns does not move.

This is our goat, Wingman. He is polled. It is a bit deceiving because the hair where horns would be is noticeably different. However, the hair is more like a cow lick than a swirl.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Genetically Speaking | Polled or Not

 

OUR POLLED GOATS

Willow
She actually had the disbudding process done to her, but is polled. She has produced many polled babies with horned sires.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Genetically Speaking | Polled or Not

 

Willow’s buck from 2017, Wingman
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Genetically Speaking | Polled or Not

 

Willow’s buck from 2018
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Genetically Speaking | Polled or Not

 

SCURS

Scurs, in goats, are the result of the animal not being disbudded properly. Disbudding needs to kill all the horn tissue. When not all the tissue has been killed, scurs can occur. Scurs generally show up as wonky bits of a horn.
Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Genetically Speaking | Scurs

 

Science is Fun & Genetics are Fascinating!

 

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2018 Willow & Tam Breeding http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/2018-willow-tam-breeding/ Sun, 18 Mar 2018 19:51:36 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9814

Last year Willow was bred with Crash. Having been bred with Tam this year,  I am curious to see the similarities and changes in her kids outward appearance.

Tam’s sire is light buckskin, while his dam is a medium buckskin. Tam also is buckskin.

Willow is a solid cream color with random spotting and roaning. She must be a carrier of the recessive black gene because she has birthed a number of black kids. Willow’s dam is dark gold with a belt and roaning. Her sire appears to be dark brown with random spotting.

Willow had triplets this year, 2 bucks and a doe. The little girl and one of the bucks look quite similar to Willow and similar to two of her bucks in 2017. She also birthed one black buck. ♥ This is at least her 3rd year in a row having one black kid. Black is recessive. For this little boy to be black it means he got the black allele from both Tam and Willow. I just love his coloring. He’s black with a white belt and lots of roaning except on his face and lower legs. This little guy is also polled, the other two are horned.

 

EUMELANIN COLOR

Color Tam Willow BW1 BW2 BW3
Dark Brown - - - - -
Black ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Unknown - - - - -

 

PHEOMENANIN COLOR

Color Tam Willow BW1 BW2 BW3
White - - ✔ - -
Cream ✔ ✔ - ✔ ✔
Tan ✔ - - - -
Gold - - - - -
Red Brown - - - - -

 

AGOUTI LOCUS PATTERN

Pattern Tam Willow BW1 BW2 BW3
Solid - ✔ - ✔ ✔
Chamoisee - - - - -
Buckskin ✔ - - - -
Cou Clair/Blanc - - - - -
Swiss Marked - - - - -
Sundgau - - - - -
No Pattern - - ✔ - -

 

WHITE SPOTTING & MODIFIERS

Characteristic Tam Willow BW1 BW2 BW3
Random - ✔ - ✔ ✔
Belted - - ✔ - -
Schwartzal - - - - -
Roaning - ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Frosting ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
White Poll - ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Moon Spots - - - - -

 

POLLED, OR NOT

Characteristic Tam Willow BW1 BW2 BW3
Polled - ✔ ✔ - -
Horned ✔ - - ✔ ✔

 

Science is Fun & Genetics are Fascinating!

 

 

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2018 Kidding Season http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/2018-kidding-season/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:10:46 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9811

We had three does due to kid the end of February to the beginning of March. Thankfully, all three mamas did great and we had a problem free kidding season.

We had such a mild winter with barely any snow, so I was hopeful the births would happen snow free. Nope. We received the most snow of the entire season during those couple weeks during kidding. The only snafu this caused was that we couldn’t use one of the kidding pens I planned to use.

 

BUNNY

Bunny surprised me just a little by having her baby a couple days sooner than I was expecting. She was in her kidding pen, though, so all was good. I was also a bit surprised that she had only one baby.

Farm Girl heard a goat making a horrible sound, when she investigated she noticed Bunny was in labor. We got to the barn just as Bunny birthed her little boy. We watched and watched expecting her to have another. After half an hour, both Farmer John & I checked her using the bouncing method and decided there were no more babies.

 

Because the temperature was below freezing I made the buckling a goat coat using fleece I had in my stash.

 

He was born on our friend’s birthday, so we started calling him Frankie. This worked out perfectly since one of my new favorite show’s is Grace & Frankie.

 

GEORGIA

Georgia, Georgia, Georgia.

She would have had her babies out in the snow. And, it’s all my fault.

I wasn’t expecting her to kid for another few days so I opened the stall door in case she wanted to go outside. She did. As I was about to go back inside the house I decided to check her backside for any indication that labor might be close. I noticed her vulva was a different shape. It had been puffy. Now it wasn’t puffy, but it was elongated. I right away brought her back into the barn and shut the door. I wasn’t expecting things to progress as quickly as they did, but I was hoping the change meant she was close.

Since Georgia had a change, I walked over and checked Willow. She did not have any noticeable changes, so I went back to peek at Georgia. Holy Guacamole, she was in active labor! She was laying down in obvious distress making a horrid sound.

 

I literally turned around, walked a couple feet, and grabbed the goat cam. Within those few seconds she pushed out her first baby – a boy. I stood there in awe and within another minute or two she delivered her second kid. This time a girl. It happened so quickly, I’m not even sure she knew she had another baby.

 

Doe on the left. Buck on the right. Their markings are incredibly similar, but the little girl’s tan areas are darker and redder than the little boy’s.

 

Georgia was a first freshener, so I was slightly concerned about how she would do during labor. She did fabulously. Below is her labor video.

 

WILLOW

I was getting a bit nervous about Willow. I was expecting her to kid over a week sooner than she did. For the most part, she didn’t seem in distress. But, there was a time two days before she delivered that I thought for sure she was in labor. When I checked her, her vulva was actually open a bit. Then later she was laying with one leg out obviously uncomfortable. A couple hours later – nothing. She went back to her typical self.

The next day – nothing. No indication that something was wonky the day before or that labor would happen soon.

The next morning, before taking the kids to school, I checked on her. I noticed nothing.

By the time I got back from school, she had 3 babies. I was so relieved!

 

She had 2 bucks and a doe.

 

I did get video of Willow’s birth. But, since the little rascal opted to have her babies in the short amount of time I was not home, the video is all from the goat cam.

 

This was our second kidding season. Last year we missed Willow’s birth by just minutes also. So this year I was determined to learn how to know when a goat is nearing labor.

I researched the topic and put up camera’s so I could watch their every move. I watched a ridiculous amount of Goat TV searching for signs that labor was near.

What I learned is that no amount of Goat TV will really give an indication of when labor is near. None of my goats gave early signs. I even went back and watched video prior to their labor’s searching for signs. Virtually nothing. One time Bunny pawed at the ground – big deal, Moon paws at the ground or backs of people and other goats all the time and she’s not even pregnant. Willow had a bit of excitement, but that was two days before she gave birth. I already knew she was close, so that didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know – expect cause me to worry something might be wrong.

None of the typical signs happened until they were in active labor. I was hoping for signs a little sooner.

I need more practice before the tail ligaments give me a clue to labor being near. I started feeling what I thought were their ligaments about a month before they were due. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice much of a change. Willow and Bunny’s may have been getting softer, but not so much that it was a clear indication of labor. And, Georgia’s always seemed loosey goosey to me.

I will continue my labor sleuthing skills next year.

I am incredibly thankful for the seemingly easy, trouble free births. We have 3 mama’s who did great and a total of 6 healthy babies.

 

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2018 Georgia & Tam Breeding http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/2018-georgia-tam-breeding/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 19:51:35 +0000 http://www.ridgetopfarmandgarden.com/?p=9813  

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Georgia and Tam 2018 Breeding Georgia was a first freshener this year, so I was excited to see what her babies would look like and what kind of mom she would be. The babies are darling and she is a great mom.

Tam’s sire is light buckskin, while his dam is a medium buckskin. Tam also is buckskin.

Georgia’s dam is Willow, who is a solid cream color with random spotting and roaning. I am not sure about the color and pattern of her sire. Georgia is black with random spotting, roaning, and frosting.

Ridgetop Farm and Garden | Georgia and Tam 2018 Breeding

Georgia had two kids, one buck and one doe. They have amazingly similar markings. They are both buckskin, but the buck is lighter than the doe.

Tan is dominant over other colors and I know these are only 2 kids. But, it is a peculiar thing that Willow, who is solid cream, has solid black babies. But Georgia, who is black, did not. It is definitely something I want to take note of in the following years.

 

 

EUMELANIN COLOR

Color Tam Georgia BG1 BG2
Dark Brown - - - -
Black ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Unknown - - - -

 

PHEOMENANIN COLOR

Color Tam Georgia BG1 BG2
White - - - -
Cream ✔ - ✔ -
Tan ✔ - ✔ ✔
Gold - - - -
Red Brown - - - -

 

AGOUTI LOCUS PATTERN

Color Tam Georgia BG1 BG2
Solid - - - -
Chamoisee - - - -
Buckskin ✔ - ✔ ✔
Cou Clair/Blanc - - - -
Swiss Marked - - - -
Sundgau - - - -
No Pattern - ✔ - -

 

WHITE SPOTTING & MODIFIERS

Color Tam Georgia BG1 BG2
Random - ✔ - -
Belted - - - -
Schwartzal - - - -
Roaning - ✔ - -
Frosting ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
White Poll - ✔ - -
Moon Spots - - - -

 

POLLED, OR NOT

Color Tam Georgia BG1 BG2
Polled - - - -
Horned ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

 

Science is Fun & Genetics are Fascinating!

 

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