New Additions: ‘Abraham Darby’

Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in Farm Blog, Goats | 29 comments

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!

29 Comments

  1. Goodness, he’s the cutest! At first I was thinking this was Lotuses baby, but not yet, huh? He barely touches the sofa, doesn’t he? The Moooves photo is adorable and ‘Pan’-like…all he needs is a flute!
    Sue Langley´s last post…Grow the 7 most profitable vegetables in your garden

    • Lotus isn’t due until March 25, but that’s less than 20 days away, so soon! Of course the kids could come a little early…or a little late. That’s goats for you, always keep you guessing!

      Darby is very proud of his dance moves 😉 He was practically break dancing that day, and this kid can run too!

  2. What a beautiful, bouncy, baby boy. LOVED the video. Are you sure he isn’t part mountain goat?

    I haven’t been blogging much recently either. My hens that I raised from chicks are laying, so things are busy in the henhouse. And I have taken up woodworking! I am at the stage of turning perfectly nice wood into odd pieces with damaged edges and boogered up corners. I am specializing in “distressed wood” projects. Not that the wood was distressed when I got it. LOL.

    • Haha! Well, if it’s boogered up corners you’re after, then maybe you need a goat? I have a rather large Madrone branch in my living room at the moment to keep Darby from gnawing on the coffee table 😛 How cool though, I always loved woodworking. I went to a very progressive (for the 70’s) middle school, that actually allowed girls to take wood shop. I loved it! I was bad at it, but I loved it, and emerged with all my fingers intact!

  3. So much bouncy sweetness! He is completely adorable! I would have a hard time making him live outside 🙂
    Karin/Southern Meadows´s last post…Lessons Learned: Winter 2013

    • I’m pretty sure that Darby believes he makes an excellent house-goat 😉 He’ll probably expect to have a nice bouncy sofa in his new house outside too!

  4. Oh my gosh, he’s so sweet! And I almost started tearing up with delight while watching the video! He sure has the bounce down, so I can see why you’re anxious to get his house ready for him. But how fun to watch him–watching that activity would keep me occupied for hours! Thanks for sharing!
    PlantPostings´s last post…A time to every purpose

    • It’s funny you should mention tearing up. I had my first goat-related injury this week. When I bent down to pick him up, his left front hoof went flying…straight past my eyelid…and took a piece out of my cornea. I couldn’t see out of that eye for almost two days. Thankfully, no permanent harm done, and the eye is healing quickly. Still a little teary, but almost better. From now on I need to remember to keep bouncy kids at arms length, and wear my glasses! 😛

  5. Too cute!
    Kaveh´s last post…Well at least that is over with…sort of.

    • Isn’t he though? And he knows how to use his cute to his advantage too 😉

  6. Thanks so much for introducing Darby! Can’t wait to see more. Sorry about the eye, glad it’s healing so well.
    Town Mouse´s last post…Beautiful Ceanothus

    • I felt like such a dork when he stomped on my cornea. I so know better. Thinking back, I think it’s one of the worst injuries I’ve ever had from an animal, and it wasn’t that bad. Those baby goat hooves though are very sharp!

  7. Clare I almost dropped when I realized you were adding more goats, but of course that makes sense and you love these little cuties…How could you not? They are fabulous…and then when I thought, she’s apologizing for not blogging…wow, Clare you are raising children there on the farm and you are one of the busiest people I know ….no apologies necessary…looking forward to the continuing story.
    [email protected] Eye View´s last post…Gardens Eye Journal-March 2013

    • It does feel a bit like raising children. My entire day revolves around feeding and potty schedules at the moment 😉 Now, if I could just teach him to type for me!

  8. I did think at first you’d gotten a new rose, and while I love roses, this is much more exciting. So exciting that I really wish I had a goat on *my* couch. Since I liked your Facebook page, my feed too has been full of baby goats… and I have to say it’s my favorite thing on FB right now;)
    Zoe´s last post…the Each Week, One Beast project: week 10

    • Before we picked up Darby, I was having a serious case of baby goat withdrawal. It seemed like the entire Facebook universe had baby goats. Of course, the downside is that productivity around here takes a wobble when baby animals are on the farm, but it is a ton of fun 🙂

  9. Oh, how cute! When I read the title of your post, I thought you might have a new rose! haha A new goat is so much more fun! Those photos of him bouncing are hiliarious! He’s adorable!
    Holleygarden´s last post…A Field of Gold

    • I had a different title in mind at first, but thought posting just his name might trick a few gardening folks into having to stare at a baby goat instead. I’m sneaky that way 😛

      His bouncing is fun, unless of course you’re struggling to get a particular shot. I still didn’t quite get the photo I was after, but we can always try again when he’s a little less bouncy! As you can see, it was a miracle he stood still long enough for the shutter to release!

  10. He’s gorgeous! My husband was looking over my shoulder as I was watching the video and he was completely smitten too and suggested we should get a couple… 🙂

    While we don’t actually have any room at the moment it did get me wondering why you’d chosen that breed rather than other larger breeds (apart from the overwhelming cuteness!)? I had a look for breeders in Australia and was surprised to find quite a few as I’d never heard about them until reading your blog.
    City Garden Country Garden´s last post…It’s natural…apparently…

    • You know, it was my husband that lobbied for goats…and I remind him of that…often 😛

      We chose the Nigerian Dwarf breed, specifically, for a few reasons. One, it is a recognized dairy breed in the United States…not doubt to the chagrin of those that raise the larger goats.

      The NDs are phenomenally efficient for their size in regards to milk production out, for food in. Providing of course that you are sourcing goats bred specifically for dairy production (not just as backyard weed mowers).

      They produce a milk that, generally speaking, is richer in protein than the milk of most of the larger breeds, so ounce for ounce, the yields for cheese from milk are higher. It’s also rich in butterfat, with some of the best producing does yielding more than 7% butterfat. Arteries be damned 😉

      For me personally, after a cancer surgery a few years ago, I lost a lot of my upper body strength (my current lifting limit is 15 lbs…but don’t tell my surgeons, I often lug around a 50lb bag of livestock feed, or a hay bale). As such, this small breed is simply easier for me to manage. Even the most stubborn goat, that refuses to go into the barn at night (yes, Minnie, I’m talking about you), can just be picked up. There’s no way I could lift an adult Nubian, or Alpine!

      We also have space constraints here, so the only way to maximize the cute factor, in a relatively small space, is to have small goats.

      I love their personality. They’re great with kids (of the human variety), and an endless source of fun, without costing an arm, leg, or your first born, to feed. That said though, quality animals, that have been bred for milk production specifically, like ours, aren’t cheap. In my opinion though, they are more than worth it. Not all goats, even of the same breed are created equal. If you want goats for milk production, be sure to source goats from production lines, or you may be disappointed.

      If you get goats from production lines, and you don’t have a large family, be prepared to buy a large freezer…or venture into soap-making! 😉

  11. oh my gosh, he is the cutest thing ever! I love the video of him bouncing all over your couch. I like his white spots. Looks like you’re going to have a busy spring, I hope you’re able to get a little rest here and there.

    • Some day, when he’s grown up, I expect I’ll look back and wonder how on earth I let him run amok all over the house. But when they’re this small, and cute, it’s difficult not to let them 😉

  12. Darby!! What a cutey!! I daren’t show my hubby. He is so keen to get one just like him – again! My garden would be horrified! 🙂

    • Your garden would probably cringe at the thought of a goat. Fortunately, Darby can’t get to where we’re growing anything we care about. Outside of the gardens, the rest of the property is just woodland. We’re lucky in that respect, as we actually have a lot of good wild browse, like the blackberries, and wild roses. I’m not sure our goats know how good they’ve got it! 😀

  13. Oh, my! And I thought taking photos of grape hyacinths was a challenge! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Darby. He is so cute! Do I understand his chief purpose in life will be to play around and eat and have fun with the ladies? Lucky goat!
    debsgarden´s last post…Columbine: My Favorite Flower

    • I frequently have the challenge of getting the shutter to release faster than Darby can bounce out of the frame of view. I agree, it makes photographing flowers seem like a very sane, calm, and relaxing endeavor!

      Yes, Darby is destined to have such a rough life isn’t he? All we ask is that his babies are gorgeous! 😉

  14. As long as there are baby goat videos your absence is forgiven 🙂 my word though, I feel like my cat is almost as big as him. He’s just the tiniest thing, I can see why you have him in the house for now.
    Marguerite´s last post…Feels Like Spring

  15. What a lovely goat blog. The video was great fun. It remembers me of my youth when sometimes we brought the goat into the house. I always loved goats, as children we lived on a farm and my sister and I had our own livestock: 5 goats. Such fun. My children on their turn had some goats when they were young. Now I sometimes visit a goat farm in our neighbourhood. I never had a goat named after Abraham Darby, but yes I have the rose in my garden, a beauty!

  16. Oh my those four footed bounces are too adorable! I’m also catching up on blogging – I’ve been having less fun: more weeding!! So it’s fun to take a break – thanks for making the photos and videos to share! Now – on to the next post!
    Country Mouse´s last post…Late Bloom Day for March!