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SMOKE RIDGE DIARY


19-month-old buck breeds 185 of 200 does — in one month


Yes, now bucks will get equal time! One could easily argue that since one buck can create many more than even sextuplet kids per year, they should be valued more highly than does. And as the buck will be 50% of every kid born that he sires, his value — or lack thereof! — will spread throughout your herd in just one generation. Or sire doe kids that keep your goat enterprise moving forward toward having your dream goats born at your dream goat operation! The buck that we’re recently most proud of is a buckskin-colored (that’s what I learned to call a beige goat, with a dark dorsal stripe and black “points”) pure Spanish intact male that we have started calling Hot Shot. His tag number is 17028, which means that he was the 28th


kid born in


2017. That’s a pretty high-tech numbering system, isn’t it? At 19 months of age in early January of 2019, Hot Shot was put in with 200 female goats.


He was the only intact buck with the does for just over a month. In June of 2019, 185 does kidded — with 2.03 kids per doe — in 31 days. Yes, Hot Shot did very well for us. I frequently jokingly tell folks that the buck still has a smirk on his face.


Why do we call him Hot Shot? Because Craig fought fire with a “Hot Shot” crew before we married, and I also think it’s a neat name. I would love to dive into our 2020 kidding record-keeping spreadsheet and figure out how Hot Shot’s yearling daughters did for us, but I’ll be honest and tell you that getting this column turned in and also responding to a few (new) potential goat customers is what I have to do right now, no matter how much I want to look at and think about kidding records!


No matter how fun it is to talk about meat goats, there are a few things that have to happen every year here at Smoke Ridge. Craig is outside right now, moving some fencing to keep the goats away from where a crew will start on Monday to put up a physical fence around our property. Hooray for the goats, they have made us enough money over Smoke Ridge’s 29 years that the banker had no problem lending us enough for the perimeter fence. The goats can pay back the fencing loan over a few years without making our finances uncomfortably tight. No, life is not all monetary fun and


games! There are always more things that I want for Smoke Ridge, but that’s where the


BY YVONNE ZWEEDE-TUCKER


Hot Shot has earned his bragging rights.


Some good-looking Hot Shot sons.


partnership between Craig and me comes in, as Craig gently reminds me that reality won’t allow me to simply order everything that I want! No matter how easy it is to order things on-line. If we stay focused on keeping our debt-asset ratio in good balance. That’s an important-sounding way to see whether you own your things or owe for your things. Could anybody repossess your goats, your vehicle, or your home if something happened that would stop your income? That’s not the most carefree subject to raise, but although we’re not completely debt-free, we’re definitely heading in the right direction! And that feels so good. We didn’t inherit anything but a good attitude, good work ethic and belief that we could make our dreams come true. Here’s to your dreams!


(This column’s information is based on raising meat goats in Montana and on The Meat Goat Handbook, written by Yvonne and published by Voyageur Press, which is for sale from Smoke Ridge at www.SmokeRidge.net. E-mail questions to smokeridge@3rivers.net that you would like to have answered in this column.)


16 Goat Rancher | September 2020


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