I honestly expected that the next goat-related post I would publish would be something to do with Lotus’ impending arrivals. However, it’s almost spring, and if your Facebook feed is anything like ours, baby animals are E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E!

Especially baby goats.

So without further ado, meet the newest addition to Curbstone Valley Farm…

'Castle Rock Abraham Darby'

‘Castle Rock Abraham Darby’

This is ‘Castle Rock Abraham Darby’.

If you’re a rose gardener you may notice that Darby is named after a David Austin® English Rose. This is in keeping with the traditional ‘theme naming’ that many breeder’s use when naming their animals. Darby’s mother has a rose name, so all offspring born to her are also named after roses.  Fortunately, we were able to whittle down a name list to about 100 roses, and eventually managed to pare it down to ‘Abraham Darby’.

At our last house, I was an avid David Austin English Rose grower

At our last house, I was an avid David Austin English Rose grower

In human family-tree terms Darby is technically Minnie’s half-uncle, as Darby is the son of Castle Rock Guy Noir, Minnie’s ‘grandfather’.

I’ve long admired Darby’s sire, as he has developed quite the reputation for producing some impressive dairy daughters. Darby’s dam, Castle Rock Tuscan Sun is a beautiful champion doe, with a gorgeous, and capacious, udder, so we’re very excited to see how this combination of Guy Noir and Tuscan Sun will turn out as Darby matures, and begins to sire offspring of his own.

It will be a while before we see how Darby’s offspring look though. At the moment he’s your typical 3 week-old baby goat. Full of bounce, obsessed with meal times, extremely curious, and thoroughly entertaining to have around.

Darby explores soon after arriving on the farm

Darby explores soon after arriving on the farm

As we’re still waiting on the arrival of our other pending spring kids, at the moment Darby is on his own, so he’s getting a bit spoiled. That will change soon though, as he needs to know he’s a goat, NOT a human!

He was a little shy when he first arrived, but that didn’t last long!

"Do I know you?"

“Do I know you?”

Soon after Darby arrived we wanted to try to get a photograph we could publish on the website, as a few people wanted to see him.

Ok Darby, hold still!

Ok Darby, hold still!

For consistency when comparing goats to each other, breeders typically will publish side-view photographs, similar to the one above, of does and bucks. This helps others to assess some general conformation qualities about the animal. This is more meaningful when looking at photographs of older goats, but for consistency’s sake, kids are generally photographed in the same pose.

I will never criticize another goat photo that I see on someone else’s site. I now have a WHOLE new respect for what it takes to get those photos, even the blurry ones!

"I can show you my moooves!"

“I can show you my moooves!”

It’s all fine and good when photographing an older animal, one that is perhaps trained to stand, or willing to be held in position with a leash.

"You said you want to see my back"

“You said you want to see my back”

For a 3-week old bouncy baby buckling though, you’d be surprised how challenging a simple photograph is to obtain!

"I can jump...see?"

“I can jump…see?”

"...really high!"

“…really high!”

"Uh oh...gravity!"

“Uh oh…gravity!”

A lot of small-scale breeders elect not to maintain their own bucks for breeding. There are pros, and cons, to choosing to keep bucks.

For most of the year they are a hole into which you throw feed. They don’t produce milk, and mostly loaf around outside of the breeding season. As a result, keeping bucks is an investment, and not necessarily an economically viable one for some.

"But, if you didn't have bucks, look at all the cute you'd be missing!"

“But, if you didn’t have bucks, look at all the cute you’d be missing!”

It is very difficult for us to be away from the farm for more than few hours at a time these days. So when considering whether or not to maintain our own breeding bucks, we also had to factor in all of our time, and costs, associated with getting our does bred off the farm each year.

When we bred Lotus last fall it was logistically challenging, even for just the one doe. In this area there isn’t an overabundance of available, good quality, dairy breeding bucks. As such we had to hope that Lotus’ heat cycle would fit in with our farm schedule, and we had to have a plan in place to take her somewhere to get her bred. Although goats cycle every 18-21 days, their peak fertility window is only a matter of hours, so timing is everything. Our day to day schedule around here isn’t so open that we can just drop everything with little to no notice.

"Look at meeee...I can float!"

“Look at meeee…I can float!”

Even if the timing works out, with today’s gas prices alone, driving goats a hundred miles or more to be bred can quickly become expensive. It’s not like the average large crate for transport fits in the back of a tiny electric commute car.

Then of course, there’s our time. Taking time to transport one or two goats to be bred may not be that big a deal, if you only have to do it once a year per doe. Not every breeding takes though, meaning the doe may need to be re-bred on her next cycle, and time spent on the road is time taken away from the gardens, the bees, the poultry, and the myriad of endless projects that need tending to around here.

"Oops...I messed up the backdrop again"

“Oops…I messed up the backdrop again”

Not to mention that maintaining our own bucks gives us close control over our herd genetics, and also allows us to maintain a closed-herd, for disease prevention.

So, for us, we decided that bumping up bringing bucks to the farm to this spring simply was the most sensible thing we could do from a time-management, cost, and sanity perspective.

"This is fun...wait, what do you mean this isn't play time?"

“This is fun…wait, what do you mean this isn’t play time?”

It has meant that blogging has been virtually non-existent lately though, as we’ve had some rearranging to do. The turkeys are finally getting their new turkey pen, to make way for the buck pen.

"OUTSIDE?  You're going to make me live OUTSIDE?!"

“OUTSIDE? You’re going to make me live OUTSIDE?!”

The ‘meadow’ is getting fenced as an additional area for the goats to roam. A new buck shelter is being built to protect the boys from the elements, and all this needs to be completed before Lotus is on kidding-watch and needs my undivided attention.  Soon after that it will be show season again!

"Oh no...NOT outside"

“Oh no…NOT outside”

So, I apologize for letting the blog get a little dusty lately, but as you can see, we’ve been a little busy, and distracted.  Hopefully things will calm down soon.  I have plenty to write about, I just need the time to sit down and do it!

In the meantime, here’s a peek at Darby in action.

We’re not sure the old sofa can take much more abuse…so this weekend, now the sun is shining, we’ll be putting the finishing touches on Darby’s new house.

"Hmmm...I think my bottle's empty"

“Hmmm…I think my bottle’s empty”

Besides, Darby’s new room-mate will be arriving soon, and he’s not living in the house, but more about him, later!

P.S. Darby wants me to remind everyone to bounce ahead one hour this weekend for Daylight Savings!