BMR Goats are 100% CAE Free, CL Free, and G6S Normal
About Our Goats, Our Philosophy, and Our Health and Production Testing
We are very proud of the goats at Black Mesa Ranch. The dairy herd represents some very excellent blood lines. Many of the herd names represented in our lineages will be familiar to most fine goat breeders for their exceptional quality.
Our herd is developing beautifully due to our ambitious and thoughtful breeding program, endeavoring to introduce specific genetic traits to further our overall goals. General traits we look for include exceptional good overall health; easy milking, capacious udders with strong, high attachments; strong constitutions; friendly and easy-going temperaments. Of all these traits health is our most important goal since a sickly goat will not perform well in any area. Our second most important goal is having goats with good attitude and temperament because who wants to work with irritating goats? Luckily good health combined with a willingness to milk naturally produce animals that are very productive.
Our herd is 100% G6S Normal, CL abscess free, and CAE free. We test yearly for CAE as well as sending in milk samples several times a year to check for mastitis and Mycoplasma. Since we are a commercial dairy our herd is tested for TB and Brucellosis whenever the state tells us to. The herd, of course, tests negative for those.
Even though our herd has some great genetics behind them, we are not BINGO breeders! You know, those breeders that would rather collect pedigrees than the actual goats. The ones that throw a new goat into a pen without even noticing it so that they can go inside and lovingly look at the new registration paperwork, one more step towards calling, “BINGO!!”. Once, we were in serious long-distance negotiations for a high quality doe, only to have the whole deal fall through when we asked for a picture of her. We’ve been to places where the breeder has to check tattooed ears because they didn’t know their own goats by sight. Maybe these strategies work for those people – but NOT for US!! Our goats are part of the family here. We know each one by sight, know their strengths and weaknesses, their oddities and preferences. They are all individuals with their own traits, personalities, and attitudes, and we enjoy them for that. (They seem to enjoy us, too!)
We do not show our goats so you will not see references to show wins or "legs" but many of the siblings, offspring, sires, and dams from among our lines have been shown by others quite successfully.
The pictures that we take of the goats are, generally, candid shots of them going about their daily business - browsing, napping, browsing, sunning, browsing, playing and, of course, browsing. In addition, we are lucky to have some posed pictures of the goats that Mark Zieman takes for us on appraisal day with (if we are very lucky) Marshall Losey of M's Sagebrush Acres handling the goats. Wendy Woodward of Witch Hazel Dairy also contributes photos of our lovely herd. We appreciate their work.
Herd on DHIR Testing
In 2005 we went on official "Dairy Herd Improvement Registry" (DHIR) milk test. Our girls are exceeding our expectations, and they are all heading toward adding Milking Stars to their pedigrees. Once a month we send milk samples in to be tested. We have always been pleased with the high quality of the milk our herd produces. Now we know why. Their milk tests extremely high in the milk solids that are so important in cheese making. Trudy’s title has been changed from Herd Queen to "Herd Cream" because of her 7.5% peak butterfat percentage. That must be why BMR cheese is so sweet and creamy – thanks, Trudy!
DNA Testing for G6S initiated
Also in 2005 we made the decision to DNA test our goats for the G6S genetic defect that effects Nubian Goats. We will be posting our findings and working toward having a G6S Normal herd. For more information on G6S, please refer to:http://www.goatworld.com/articles/g6s.shtml
Last year’s entry into DHIR testing resulted in all of our milkers earning their milking stars. Great work, ladies! We are pleased with being in the program since it gives us feedback on udder health, milk quality, and productivity.
We are very pleased to announce the arrival of our newest boys, Jacobs Pride Show Me Zanzibar (Zane) and Lakeshore-Farms Mr. Bentley (Benny). We feel that they will make great additions to our herd.
This year we have completed testing all our breeding goats for the G6S genetic defect. All of our bucks and all but one of our does are G6S normal! Our herd continues to test 100% CAE negative.
We were thrilled with last year's result from our Linear Appraisal. 2007 was our first year in the program and it was well worth the money, time, and organization required to participate. We learned a lot from the trained, professional goat appraiser. In this program the goats are not appraised for monetary value, but for quality of conformation. Our goats exceeded our expectations of quality with several of them (including two of our bucks) getting recognition as Excellent by the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). We also had three girls listed as Elite does by the USDA, and six does received Superior Genetics titles. All in all 2007 was a great year for our goats.
This year our girls did even better on their Linear Appraisal with 5 does being scored as Excellent and the mature herd score averaging over 88.
We also would like to introduce our newest herd sire, Splash. He comes from Six M Galaxy which is a herd of high production, colorful goats, many of which earn Top Ten status. We are excited to see if Splash will carry on their tradition.
It's been a busy year so far. We had 77 kids born on the ranch - 13 of which we are keeping - and we are milking 31 does. The kids and does look great, the does are milking very well and the kids are growing so fast that it's hard to remember that they are just babies. Our last doe that carried the G6S genetic defect went to a new home so our whole herd is now 100% G6S normal! Our herd continues to be free of CAE, CL, Brucellosis, and TB.
Our Linear Appraisal this year will be late, possibly September. I'll post the scores once they are in. We are still holding our breath that Cory will be named a Top Ten Breed Leader. Her milk last year exceeded the amount that has allowed others that title but each year is different. As far as we are concerned Cory is Number One - giving us quintuplets (4 girls, 1 boy) and milking over 3000 pounds last year. What a girl!
Yes! Cory made it! Our girl Cory has now earned the title of Top Ten Breed Leader for being the 6th highest milk producing Nubian in the country for 2008. She was also the 7th highest producer of butterfat and the 6th highest protein producer. What a girl she is! She even had a bit of time in her busy schedule to pose with her people Kathryn and David (picture to the left).
Also, the goats did great on their Linear Appraisals. The scores are posted on their individual lineage pages. We even got some pretty stylish show type pics of the girls thanks to Marshall Losey of M's Sagebrush Acres (www.SagebrushAcres.com) who did the goat handling for the appraisal. Marshall also convinced the girls to pose for the photo shoot - something very foreign to them. Mark Zieman (www.DrMyattsWellnessClub.com) was the photographer and he did a great job. Amanda Henderson and Dana Myatt also helped out with handling the goats and getting them milked out once they had been appraised. Many thanks to all who volunteered their time to come help us out.
Well, if we thought last year was busy we didn't know what busy was! This year the goats are milking like gangbusters and we are making cheese like crazy. We started off by having 84 kids born and then moved full swing into making cheese. Many, many times we made cheese twice a day! Having a healthy, high production herd is really paying off.
Three of our bucks earned their Superior Genetics titles AND Elite Sire titles - Rio, Marco, and Benny. Peri and Espeez also earned their Elite titles - Espeez for the fourth time in a row!
Breeding season has started already and we are excited to see what the next generation of kids will bring. One change in our buck line-up this year is our new boy, Goldthwaite Exotic Affair (pictured to the left as a 5 month old). The Goldthwaite herd is a nationally known high production show herd. Both of Exotic Affair's parents score as Excellent on linear appraisal and his dam is a Superior Genetics Grand Champion. Exotic Affair is a stylish, high stepping fella with wonderfully long wide ears, lovely structure, and friendly attitude.
It seems that there is something always going on around here. We had a wonderful kidding season with 80 kids born. It was a doe year for a change with 47 does and 33 bucks born. We had four sets of quads, 11 sets of triplets, 12 sets of twins, and 7 singletons. With a few exceptions most of the kids were born mid-February thru April, so we were kept pretty busy with kids and cheese making. Hazel and Wendy, of Witch Hazel Dairy, not only helped us out at kidding time but have also contributed their time to taking pictures of the goats. You can see some of Wendy's work at:http://mulefancier.deviantart.com/gallery/31191435 as well as on the individual goat lineage pages.
Our linear appraisal this year went very well. We had an informative, helpful appraiser and we learned quite a bit. He commented that our herd has made great strides since his last time here several years ago. Three of our does received final scores of 91 - Poppy, Penny, and Marlyn. They are very nice looking, productive does that we are very proud of.Our does Poppy, Penny, and Marlyn all scored 91 on their linear appraisal! Awesome scores for awesome girls.
The economic woes our country is going through hit us in a different way. Our business, thankfully, is thriving, but some of the people that have purchased BMR goats ran into trouble and had to give them up. We ended up with two small herds coming back to us. We rehomed quite a few, ate some, and retained three - Zoe, Lady, and Opal. The new goats were quarantined away from our main herd until health testing was completed on them before being allowed into the mainstream.
"The Girls", as we refer to our milkers, are producing so well this year that we needed another product to make with their milk. David came up with a great recipe for Goats Milk Caramel, a topping for ice cream that is sometimes referred to as Cajeta or Dulce de Leche. We now sell it in 12 oz jars and 64 oz tubs. So far it's been a great hit, it is truly divine. The Girls should really be proud.
Where does the time go? It seems like just last week that we weaned our last kids and now it's already time to bred the does again. They don't think it will be a problem. They are already flirting with the boys and driving them crazy. While their milk production is starting to slow down a bit, their butterfat is way up. That means that we are still making as much cheese as earlier in the year when their milk was leaner but more abundant.
Our linear appraisal this year was awesomely informative and interesting. Our goats scored quite nicely with Tarragon, Harmony, and Princess receiving final scores of Excellent as well as many others scoring as Very Good and Excellent.
Zoe and Lady, both of whom came back to us last year when their owners dispersed their herds, are consistently some of our best milkers. Opal, too, is a great contributor for a first time milker. Grace, with her incredible ear control and quirky attitude, continues to be a powerhouse milker - much to my dismay. She is such a goofy clown and troublemaker. Twice a day, right after getting milked, Grace will make a big show of chewing the bell on her collar. We make a lot of fun of her, but she doesn't seem to mind.
It was back to being a buck year in the kidding department. We had 34 does kid this year giving us a total of 79 kids. 36 does and 43 bucks. We had 2 singletons, 22 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 3 sets of quadruplets. For the second time in a row Celeste gave us triplet daughters.
We are very sad to have lost Benny (Lakeshore-Farms Mr. Bentley) this year due to pneumonia. His offspring are such elegant, productive animals.
Last year turned out to be a bittersweet year for us. The does all seemed healthy and fine, milking well, and scoring well on linear appraisal. But in the fall the herd slowed down their milk production, their rumens got doughy feeling, and a couple of yearlings died. A necropsy revealed that the goats had been eating poisonous Silverleaf Nightshade - a lot of it. We penned the girls away from the nightshade and worked to massage their rumens to get them working again. We dosed the girls with activated charcoal, gave cud drenches to repopulate their rumen bacteria, and brought them lots of coarse bark and branches to eat. Once the poison was out of their systems they bounced back fine. We are still devastated by the loss of two fine does, but are grateful that we were able to avert further losses.
This year the goats seem to have fully recovered from the nightshade poisoning and are doing great. We are hoping that a few might even go Top Ten with their outrageous milk production. Brill peaked at well over 2 gallons of day!
It was a fun and interesting kidding season this spring. We had 29 does kid giving us a total of 72 kids - 38 doelings and 34 bucklings. Celeste, who gave us triplet daughters in 2011 and 2012, again gave us 3 doelings - plus a buckling! What an overachiever she is! We kept 12 doelings and, wow, are they a force to be reckoned with! We also kept a buckling, Boe, out of Rose Tyler sired by our wonderful senior buck, Rio Grande. Boe (pictured on the left) is looking fine and we are excited to see what he can do for us. He has already been accepted into the ADGA Sire Development Program. We also had Rock, a Benny/River buck (pictured on the right), returned to us due to downsizing by his owners. We are thrilled - he is a great looking, sweet fella.
It seems that we are always keeping busy around here! David has started making some aged cheeses now, and they are great. He was even awarded a $5000 grant from Bon Appétit to put in an aging “cave” plus more solar panels so that we can run it.
Due to my mentor, Sandy Riehle of Reuel Dairy Goats, being severely injured in a car accident, she needed to downsize her lovely herd. We were thrilled to be able to add more of Sandy’s genetics to our herd. David made a 3300 mile round trip to pick up a few Reuel does. He also dropped off several of our girls in Utah, and swung over to Oregon to visit with Gianaclis of Pholia Farm and then up to pick up another doe from the Pennyroyal herd. Amazingly David was able to do all of that in just over 4 days! What a trooper.
Once the new goats have been in quarantine for a month we will run health tests on them before they can join our main herd. They are a great looking bunch and we look forward to seeing them integrated with our girls. In the mean time, Sandy is recovering quite nicely from that awful accident and we are hoping that she will be back in the show ring next year.
Our four Anatolian Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD's) have been doing great. Even though we can hear the coyotes howl and we hear about mountain lions taking down calves close to here, we have not lost any of our livestock. But Pierre is slowing down a little so we decided to add a LGD puppy to our herd. David made the long trip to Fort Worth, TX and picked up 11 week old Ranger. Ranger is being a very good pup so far, learning fast, and really enjoying hanging out with his goats. LGD Mattie has taken the role of mentor and playmate. Those two are almost inseparable.
We had quite a few does not freshen this year due to using a couple of young bucks that probably just got overworked. So this breeding season we are starting 6 weeks earlier than normal so that we can keep the cheese production going through the winter. January babies will be a first for us. I'm hoping for a very mild winter.
Goldthwaite Windswept Luc blew in to join our buck herd this year. He is a very wide, strong boned, long and correct buckling with lots of milk in his genetics. Thank you, Becky Goldthwaite.
Five does and one buck earned their Superior Genetics titles last winter and four does earned theirs this summer. The Superior Genetics awards identify and recognize individual animals for their genetic superiority through participation in ADGA's performance programs. Our goats are on DHI milk testing and participate in Linear Appraisal to judge their confirmation. It is nice that our goats can get acknowledged for their achievements without ever having to leave the ranch.
Our milking parlor got a facelift when David's sister, Cynthia, came for a visit. She stenciled the walls and door. It looks quite festive in there now. Thanks, Cynthia!
Usually we start our kidding season in late February or early March, but this year we started in late January. Luckily the weather cooperated and everything went smoothly. We had a very nice crop of kids born and the does did great. We did experiment with using clove oil for disbudding our kids. It was very interesting but the process had to be repeated several times and even then there was some horn growth. We will be going back to our old disbudding method this year.
We had tragedy strike the herd this spring. We lost several does for unexplained reasons. Some vets thought pneumonia, some acidosis, some clostridial issues. We changed feed to a coarser hay and grain, we vaccinated, we watched. Whatever the problem was, it finally went away, but not before a few of our most favorite girls had passed. It was heartbreaking and mind numbing. We are very glad that the herd is now doing great again.
We have brought a new critter into the operation – an English Shepard puppy named Kingman. Kingman’s job will be to hunt the prairie dogs that are trying to take over the ranch. So far he isn’t much interested in hunting, but he has settled in amazingly well with the various animals and is a very silly fella. He and goat Opal seem to enjoy each other’s company.
We located two car wash brushes and the goats have been busy making deep ruts around them as they circle around getting scratched and groomed at the same time. Happy girls!