I was looking for an additional 4H project
But didn't see any quite as enticing as my lovely goats. I was considering Archery (I'm dramatic, and think it would be pretty awesome if I could shoot something with accuracy), but when Mom said it cost a $100-$200 for a good bow?
No way was I spending that much.
Actually, when you total it up, I have spent more getting into bees. Go figure.
Anyway, Mom suggested the bee keeping project.
Huh, didn't think of that one. A few quick, well.... a few not so quick Google searches, and I was hooked. I wanted to do Honey Bees!
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a one track mind. If I am interested in something, be it goats, chickens, gardening or bee keeping, I will not let the subject go until it is thoroughly worn out.
This was no exception.
After a few months, a bee meeting, and hours upon hours of research,
Mom and I finally settled on hive and bees.
We ordered a 8 frame medium hive from Mann Lake, and after much consideration, we decided to start with a nuc.
A nuc, or nucleus hive, has some advantages over a package.
Since nucs already come with frames of brood, pollen and honey stores, there is a much lower chance of absconding (bees abandoning the hive).
Plus, I much higher rate of success, since the bees don't need to build up all the wax in the hive before the queen starts laying.
Speaking of the the queen, in a package, the queen in unknown to the workers, and has minimal allegiance. Sometimes the workers will abandon the queen, and sometimes they will kill her. Nether are good options.
In a nuc, the queen is already laying, and has been accepted by the workers already.
We went with an Italian/Carniolan cross, hoping for the honey production and gentleness of the Italians, and the winter hardiness of the Carniolans.
When starting an Apiary, one is supposed to start with 2 or 3 hives, but it's cost us approximately $300 to start up one hive. We're praying that this hive will flourish enough that eventually we can split it into two, but we'll see.
I'll post more once the hive gets here. Catch you later!
If you are interested in breeding and selling your dairy goats, Linear Appraisal is a must.
No, not all successful breeders participate in LA.
Yes, there will still be a market for your kids even if you don't do LA.
If your goal is to raise high-quality dairy goats, and to sell to other performance herds, you should really think about getting your girls in front of an appraiser.
An appraiser is a super high trained ultra-judge who comes and judges your goats. Unlike shows, where all the goats are judged off the each other (which means if all the other goats suck, of course the only decent animal will win) with LA, every goat is judged off the 'perfect' goat.
But in this world, nothing is perfect, so the highest score any animal can earn is '94'.
Even then, I'm pretty sure you need to go in front of an ADGA comittee to see if your goat really deserves that high of a score.
FUN FACT: The highest score a Nigerian Dwarf has ever recieved is an '93'
Glenda just got back from her month-long vacation at Little Prairie, and in her absence, her Captain-of-the-Guard, Ella has taken over duties as queen. But Glenda is back, and Ella doesn't want to give up the throne! Here are their election campaigns. Leave your vote in the comments, and we will send out the results!
Full name: CABrandywinfarms Fannys Glenda
Hobbies: Long naps, and walks along the fence. I also enjoy deep-tissue massages, and the occasional acorn.
Political party: What are p-ah-ah-ah-lotics?
Hi, My name is Fannys Glenda, but just call me Glenda please. I am running for Queen because I believe that I can make a difference. If I am elected, I promise to check on each and every doe after she kids, and to give a big warm welcome (and sniff) to each and every new kid on the block!
It seems that only yesterday, summer began, but we just finished our last show on Saturday.
This year we were only able to make it to two shows, the 1st Motherlode DGA show, and the Gold Country DGA show.
We have been trying to successfully grow a garden for literally years.
One thing after another came up. First we tried to deal with our extremely heavy clay soil, and after a few years we tried a Pallet Garden. The basic idea is to fill some wooden pallets with good soil, and by-pass the poor soil you have now. Bingo! You should have a much better harvest than you have had in years past with the terrible soil that you have tried to grow in previously! Let me tell you, that year our garden stunk. All my plants grew long, and scraggly, and we got pretty much nothing. But we did spend a lot in water to keep all our poor pitiful plants alive! The problem was that our plants could not penetrate though to the soil underneath boards, and thus, had only a few inches of topsoil to grow in. Needless to say, the next year we went back to our clay soil, and got our regular so-so harvest.
Like many people, we started out two doelings, and after they had their fluffy bouncing babies.........you know what happens. Goats are addicting y'all! This year we bred four does and ending up with 11 cute, big-eyed, snuggley, little fuzz balls.
Our herd had:
This is our first set of quads! Aren't they adorable? I sure think so.
As I see it, when you raise goats, the seasons are not divided into traditional spring, summer, autumn and winter, but are instead divided into
kidding, showing, breeding and waiting. Depending on your herd and location, the proportions of each season might be a little different, but in northern California, our show season usually runs from May through September. We recently went to the 1st annual Mother Lode Dairy Goat Association show, and we had an absolute blast! Showing is really exciting, especially when you have nice animals who place good, but even when our does place not-so-good, we still learn a lot and have loads of fun.
Finally! After going FROM NDGA, THROUGH AGS, and TO ADGA, Doug and Cindy Farms Ella and Doug and Cindy Farms Blossom are both registered with ADGA. Whew! You can read all about the horrible, long and drug out journey through getting our goats registered (yes, I'm exaggerating) here. Now before this post is over, I have a small piece of advice: Before you buy a NDGA registered goat, stop and think about how badly you want that goat. Nevermind. Pretend that I didn't write that and you didn't read that. Now I will rephrase my advice. So before you buy a NDGA registered goat, stop and think about how bady you want that goat to be registered with ADGA. If you honestly don't care/only want to be registered with NDGA, GREAT! Get the goat. If you care a little bit, and figure it might be nice to register with AGS too, GREAT! Get the goat. If you care A LOT, however, and really want to get your goat registered with ADGA, and are willing to pay a bit of money to do so (there are many different variables that may be required, it depends on on the registry of your goat's ancestors), be prepared for a good chunk of paperwork (But you should probably get that goat anyway).
From Taylor (By the way, my FIRST BLOG POST! :D)
PS. I'm very sorry to tell you this, but I lied to you. My 'small' advice was not small (whoops).