June 1st, 2012


Yesterday marked an important day in the next leg of Windward's goat operation, as we brough home a new, full-blood anglo-nubian buckling. We purchased the buck from Tryon Life Community Farm (part of a sister-community Cedar Moon) out of Portland. In fact, Windward and Cedar Moon already "share blood" via our goat herds, as Windward's main milking doe Becca is decended from the same father-lineage as Tryon Farms nubian does. It seems only fitting that we give one of their surplus boys a long-term home and life's purpose.

What a cute boy.

Having an full blood nubian buck will help us ensure our goal of having a new generation of proven nubian does well in place before Becca (currently our only well-proven doe) dies. You never know when a goat may die, and as such, it is important that we secure a new generation before that time. You cannot bring those genetics back from the dead!

land-specific genetics are one of the most foundational components of creating a viable homestead or village in deep country, and respresent a kind of wealth. Whether it is a cold hardy fig, dry-land alfalfa, or high production dairy goat, The animal is the living embodiment of their genetic potential. If the vessel dies before the genes are re-embodied in a new creature, there is no way to get them back! Hence the deep, gutteral uneasiness that I felt not having a full-nubian buck around.

It was a profound kind of experience when I first met the buckling at Tryon, and saw his excellent lineage in the form of his mother, older sisters and aunts, I felt much more at ease! amazing how that workd. knowing that the future is somewhat more secure for our dairy operation.

As you may be familiar, over the past few years we have been experimenting with a cross-breeding program, mixing our anglo-nubian genes with a (apearantly) Kiko buck named Barabis. Anglo-nubian is a dairy breed with a traditionally "delicate" frame; small boned and slim legged. The Kiko breed is a much stockier goat that is very rugged breed originally adapted to thrive off of low quality scablands of New-Zealand. Our goal in mixing these lines is to have a stockier dairy line that still maintains a high level of productivity.

We believe that the fuller bodied kiko attributes will help ensure that the does have a larger supply of embodied calcium, phosphorous, energy and other nutrients from which to draw while they are gestating and lactating.

As of yet, the mixed lines have turned out significantly stockier does, but as of yet none of them have been of significantly high milk production. To give some rough numbers, Becca in the height of lactation will produce upwards of a gallon of milk every day. The milk we got from Aria (3/4 nubian, 1/4 boer) produced maybe half of that at peak production.

The challenges of breeding such lines are complex and varied. I believe this is primarily due to having a very small genetic pool to select from. In a more intensive cross-breeding operation there would be many more does being bred. Perhaps hundreds but atleast a few dozen. If we had more does and kids to choose from, there would be more opportunity for different combinations of genes to express themselves.

In a larger operation the process of selection for specific characteristics would be able to proceed much faster. Since we are in a position of having only 1-2 does to work with the process of breeding and culling happen at a much slower pace. A pace which is likely to be longer than the expected life of any one doe in the herd.

Because of this it is paramount that we be able to keep the full-blood lines pure. Hence, why it was decided to move forward with the purchase of a new full blood nubian buck.

May this young buck have a long a prosperous life at Windward!