|Meet Katy — Black Bell Acres Katya Rose|
Katy immediately expressed her Alpineness by asserting herself. She was sweet and affectionate to us and infinitely ornery to the guardian dog and sheep. She didn’t happily coexist with the resident Nubians either. She finally found a soul mate in a huge, black Nubian wether we call Edmund and they roomed together, apart from the rest of the herd, over the next two years.
We decided early on that Katy would not be bred. She has a supernumerary teat, a tiny non-functional nubbin on her udder that many goat breeders consider a hereditary flaw. Katy, it seemed, had other ideas.
“Milky” is the term used to describe goats that excel at their job. Katy comes from milky bloodlines. Some goats from this sort of background become precocious milkers: they begin lactating without being bred. Katy began producing a lot of milk in one teat when she was a yearling. Like most young does she had tiny teats that were incredibly hard to milk. I asked several veteran breeders what to do. They all said, “You should breed her.” If not, they said, she was likely to experience serious hormonal issues as she aged. This we did not need.
So, since Katy’s kids were assured a lifelong home (we never sell or give away our household dairy goat’s babies), we decided to take the plunge. When Katy came in heat, we turned her out with our handsome young Nubian, Kerla. Katy fled. Kerla followed. And they ran. And ran and ran. Katy did not like Kerla. We took her to our older, proven buck, Martok. And Katy fled. Martok followed. Finally, as the pair flew by for the umpteenth time, John tackled Katy. Martok leapt and mercifully, the deed was done.
Five months later, Katy produced Ranger and Rapunzel, the cutest kids ever born on our farm. And she was a wonderful milker, affectionate and surprisingly easygoing on the milking stand and a peerless producer.
We hoped that Katy, like some other Alpines, would “milk through.” Goats that milk through drastically fall off in production through the winter months but pick back up in the spring without being re-bred. All went well until Katy came in heat last fall. She dropped from nearly a gallon a day to less than a quart overnight. This would not do.
So we took her to Martok, expecting the same type of rodeo we had the year before. Katy nearly swooned when they met. She was in stricken. Besotted. They mated. We scratched our heads. Two days later she was out of heat and producing nearly a gallon a day. She keeps us guessing.
|Katy got incredibly big, but we expected twins, not triplets!|
|Camping with Katy was fun but cold.|
|Katy “nests” by pawing as second stage labor begins.|
|Contractions are harder as labor progresses.|
|Triplet 1: Black Meg (born breech)|
John and I are Terry Pratchett fans and continued our two-year Pratchett naming theme by calling the new kids Black Meg, Lulu Darling, and Flash.
|Triplet 2: Lulu Darling|
|Triplet 3: Flash was born last, and he’s the biggest!|
|All together now|
|Katy and kids|
Sue Weaver has written hundreds of magazine articles and many books about livestock, horses, and chickens, including The Backyard Cow, The Backyard Goat, The Backyard Sheep, Storey’s Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock, The Donkey Companion, and Homegrown Pork. Weaver and her husband share their ridgetop farmette in the southern Ozarks with an array of animal friends. Visit Sue on her Facebook page and of course, Katy has a Facebook page, too!