Fall Shearing

September was spent gathering, shearing, & sorting goats. Nannies, kids, muttons, & yearling billies were sheared this go round.

After shearing, we separated the billy kids off of the nannies & nanny kids. We put the billy kids on fields {away from the nannies & nanny kids} in hopes that none of them would get in with the nannies. As the days get shorter & nights get cooler, all the billies prepare for breeding. One billy in a pasture full of nannies at the wrong time can create quite a problem. It’s important that all nannies kid at the same time so they can be sheared again in February/March & placed in kidding pastures before kidding in April.

After shearing the nannies, we sorted through them. We decided to cut back a little on numbers. We sorted off older nannies & sold them to another rancher.

Nanny kids ran with the nannies for a couple of weeks so the nannies could show the kids how to seek shelter in wet or cold conditions. We then gathered the nannies & nanny kids, treated them for chewing lice, & separated the nannies & nanny kids. Nannies tend to breed back quicker & easier if they do not have a nursing kid at their side.

Before the yearling billies were sheared, we sorted through them & selected keeper billies & sale billies. All others became ‘muttons’ {male goat that has been castrated}. We castrate with a burdizzo {device with large clamp designed to break the blood vessels leading to the testicles}. Once the blood supply to the testicles is lost, the testicles shrink, soften, & eventually deteriorate completely. We then treated them for chewing lice & tipped their horns. Tipped horns provide a quick, visual distinction between them & billies.

Muttons are beneficial for several reasons. Since they are big & strong, they are not as
susceptible to predators. Coyotes are opportunistic & prefer young lambs & kids rather than a stout mutton who is ready to fight. Muttons do not reproduce so they can run with nannies at any given time. And since they don’t reproduce, their nutrition maintenance requirements are less. Consequently, they are able to grow more mohair per year because all of their nutrition goes into growing hair instead of reproduction efforts. Since their nutrition requirement is less, you are able to run more in a pasture at a given time which means greater Ashe Juniper {cedar} control.