Leave from ‘non-essential’ job provides more time for essential jobs on the ranch

I am sitting here writing this on Easter Sunday, with a very full belly of Cajun food. I sincerely hope that y’all had a wonderful Easter Sunday as well! A lot of Americans are really struggling right now, and I pray for y’all, your families & neighbors, and for your farms & ranches.

Thank God Kiko goats are hardy and low input. In times like this, we get reminded really quick of how important self-reliance and being frugal is.

My family is completely out of work due to us being considered

‘non-essential’ by the government…but life must go on, and we must all make the best of things. We decided to not waste the time off that we have been given, and to take a long walk around our ranch, and then to sit down and figure out where we can save money and pinch some pennies.

For both practical and philosophical reasons, we have always taken a very hands-off approach to raising our livestock. For one thing, we never lived at our ranch until a few months ago. For another thing, we have always looked at the long-term picture; we always wanted to eventually have extremely field hardy goats that we could run in large numbers out in the backwoods of our ranch. Naturally, this has led to a high cull ratio but it has also led to us having about 60 head of very, very hardy seedstock. A couple of years ago we built a gravel dry lot to put market kids and culls into in order to beef them up with a more concentrated feed program. Taking a new look at things from a frugal point of view, we decided that we should look for more ways of letting the goats continue to have very little input but also progress forward from having the whole herd in one big pasture. Y’all know what that means…yup, fencing. We’ve been doing fencing. Lots and lots of fencing. We started looking at things a little differently than we always have; we began looking at little wedges of land here and there that normally we wouldn’t have messed with.


Our thinking at this point is that we will turn these into mini-pastures for the goat kids after fenceline weaning them, and also run chickens in whichever mini-pasture is not currently occupied by goat kids. T- posts are in, now it’s time to get to putting in the corner posts once we’ve recovered from that Easter supper. We won’t be able to do too much in the way of major fencing projects right now until things get back to normal; but when we do, we will be putting in some cross-fencing in order to finally start doing some rotational grazing. We have maintained a strict no deworming program, and now we are ready to expand upon it and push these ge- netics and see how far rotational grazing will take us. Time will cer- tainly tell.

It looks like we’re not going to be having much in the way of goat auctions this year, so we all won’t be seeing each other out on the road…but, just like the unexpected time off, we will all just have to adjust and make the best of it.

I reckon it’ll give us all the opportunity to keep back our best and maybe pull out some frozen semen straws and make some really nice genetic crosses. I see some AVG Marshall, MKL Paladin and BWP Speckle’s Patches F0887 straws getting thawed out around here in a few months.

Next month for the Annual Herd Sire issue, we’ll be sitting down having a long conversation with Kendell Barnes about notable Kiko Herd Sires, since he ain’t got any KY Wildcat games to watch on TV he should have time.

Y’all take care and stay safe out there. We’ll all get through this mess together as ranchers and as Americans. God bless y’all.

(Yetti and Amber Payne and their daughter Opal operate USA Kikos in Stillwater, Okla. They can be reached at 405-780-5196, e- mail at or visit their website at www.USAKi-

May 2020 | Goat Rancher


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