On a farm, it is always time for reorganization and re-evaluation of everything that’s happening. It’s so easy to get into the groove of just feeding every animal that is here, whether they are “working” for the farm or not.
Keeping animals for sentimental reasons is very easy to do, and I fall into it just as much as the next person. But I try to be aware of and on top of making the kinds of decisions that will help move us forward. I am only milking two goats right now and I have 9 does (including baby Betsy). I am never going to be a big enough operation to milk that many, but some of them are here for a variety of reasons, and some of those reasons, truthfully, are emotional!
The middle of the summer is the time when I am getting prepared for the breeding season, and evaluating who should be here or not anyway, and this year I am trying to take a very hard look at what is happening and comparing that with my goals. In the past I have kept certain does together, whether I intended to milk them or not, because in a small operation like mine, family units can be very supportive of animals that would otherwise be picked on pretty hard. Zelda, for example, is a wonderful doe who milks well and is a great mother, but I only held onto her because she was the last doe I had from Elf, who is long gone (and I had kept both of them because they were a family unit). I had wanted to keep some of her genetics around, but truthfully, she would be better off on another farm where her milk and her mothering skills would be of value.
And so it is crunch time, and I am making myself all kinds of notes, but the difficult part is here, and it’s time to decide who will stay and who will be sold. Zelda and two white crossbred youngsters are definitely on the list to go, as is one of SnowPea’s yearlings, Sassafras. We are definitely hanging onto Fergus and Betsy.
Instead of having to feed out to 3 groups of animals, I am hoping to just have one pen of boys/Jingle the Donkey, and one pen of girls going into the winter. We shall see how successful I am at the reorganization!